A few years ago, Rachel & I flew out of Toronto on a clear day to go visit her parents in Victoria. As we got in the air, it wasn’t long before I could see the whole city of Toronto outside of my window – very suddenly the airport where we just came from looked fairly insignificant.
As we started flying west we flew over a more familiar part – and I looked over to where my house was. It was so tiny I couldn’t even see it! My home, my whole world, was microscopic from my seat in the sky.
However, I could see the sun shining over the vast horizon, I could see Lake Huron and Georgian Bay in the distance – my homeland was beautiful from up here and for the first time I could see all of it’s intricacies and details with my own eyes. But in order to do that my home needed to become small in my perception.
We have a tendency to make our homes seem bigger than they are. It’s human nature. Where we live forms a foundational part of our identity. But it’s just one home of many in a town, or city, or region, or country. The wider your picture gets, the more minute and insignificant the specific seems. It can feel lonely up in a plane, but what an incredible view!
In the process of making our house bigger, in the process of zooming in to our city on the map, we exclude the rest of the world. But we have to do this; there’s no point in using your phone to give you directions if you can’t see the distinctiveness of the roads you’re supposed to go on!
Since starting PiE with Jessica – we’ve been seeing just how big and vast God is. But as we head up in the private PiE jet (one of our funding goals for 2016, by the way!), and see the earth getting wider beneath us, we start feeling alone.
It’s the nature of ministry to feel alone. My Mom likes to say that a bridge gets walked on from both sides. I get that. People like hating those across the river from them. The bridge-builders are seen as either intruders or traitors.
When you leave the comforts of home – people who used to call you one of their own suddenly start giving you strange looks as if there is something they aren’t saying.
When you seek to love your enemy – people who used to other you now see you as being on their side.
When you work towards authentic reconciliation & dialogue – people see you as strange, or they put you in a box, or associate you with those people.
Is there anything different about me? No. I mean, I’ve grown, I’ve learned – but I’m still the same Chris I always was. I’m just trying to figure out what God is up to in this crazy world – just trying to follow Jesus one day at a time. Some days I do that well, others I don’t. Same as always. That’s just taken me into some interesting and uncomfortable places.
Many come to PiE feeling disillusioned by church in some way, but in that coming to PiE it’s easy to assume that we’re all disillusioned for the same reasons. That’s simply not true – I’ve really learned just how broad and diverse people’s perspectives are – even in a relatively small area like Waterloo Region!
I always struggle to define where I fit in this PiE, as most people do. People are defined by the groups they frequent and the circles they find themselves in. People are defined by the communities they keep. And PiE connects people and communities who would rather not be sitting at the same table.
The different guest bloggers show this. You won’t agree with every post. Heck, I don’t agree with every post we put up. But that’s the point – this is what PiE is doing – we’re meeting together in the wilderness of post-Christendom. Even if we can’t agree where to make shelter.
We’re putting down our theological and intellectual weapons and saying we want those who are different than us, who believe different than us, who see Jesus different than us. A key part of loving your enemies is admitting that you have them. That’s not very nice; we don’t like to admit we have any.
Reconciliation is difficult. It’s easy to listen to the other when they say things you like – it’s not so easy when they say something that pisses you right off or makes you uncomfortable. We’re all part of a quilt too detailed for any of us to understand how any of it fits together.
But the view is fabulous.