By Joel McKerrow.
This article is an excerpt from Joel McKerrow’s book Woven, used with permission. We’re going to be sharing a few of these in coming weeks. If you consider yourself a ‘spiritual misfit’ Joel’s book is an excellent guide to navigating different stages of faith. Go and grab a copy here.
We too easily throw the baby of faith out with the bathwater of whatever cultural Christianity we have known. We discard all the beliefs and practices of our sculpting community out of retaliation and trying to throw off the pain, out of rebellion and what we perceive to be freedom.
Having fused together the spiritual journey with the culture and beliefs of our sculpting community, separating faith from cultural Christianity may for us be the most important part of the Unravelling.
Be it the passionate teenager who sees the hypocrisy in his church or the single mother who believed her life would be different, the back door has been flung wide open. In the Christian faith in the West this is clearly seen as research shows around 60 percent of young people in the USA who have grown up in the faith end up throwing it all out by the time they are 24 years of age. It is decidedly easier to toss out one’s sculpted belief system entirely than to sift through and wrestle. We run away from the old rather than see it transformed.
When the beliefs of our parents aren’t large enough, we do not delve into them to find how they may be re-used; we discard them. When church doctrine is too small, we get rid of the church. When religion is too hypocritical, we toss it. We too easily leave rather than refine. In our questioning and in the face of hypocrisy and small-mindedness, we throw out the totality of our beliefs and replace them with a bland notion of … whatever feels good.
I put it to you that we are more than this. That you are more than this. By throwing out all the old, we don’t actually do the true work of unravelling and finding a new weave. We divorce ourselves from the learning space of tension. It is far easier to not call myself a Christian than to still do so while thoroughly shaking up, challenging and questioning the Christianity I am a part of. Far easier to not listen well, to simply run the other way.
In our criticism we forget that our past has been so needed in our growth. We forget that the old deserves to be honoured, even as it is questioned and reworked and reconfigured. We forget that we need it still, only transformed.
There are those who during this time simply need to throw God out. But in fact they are not throwing God out at all. They are merely throwing out the God of their upbringing. The challenge is then to keep searching, to keep on the trail.
Joel McKerrow is an award winning writer, speaker, educator, artist, creativity specialist and, having performed for hundreds of thousands of people throughout the world, is one of Australia’s most successful, internationally touring, performance poets. Based out of Melbourne, Australia he is the Artist Ambassador for the aid and development organisation ‘TEARFUND Australia’ and was the co-founder of community arts organisation, ‘The Centre for Poetics and Justice’ (2010-2013). Joel was the third ever Australian representative at the Individual World Poetry Slam Championships in the USA and is a highly sought after speaker at conferences and festivals all over the world. He has four published books and four spoken word/music albums, is a successful play-wright and is a co-founder/host of the The Deep Place: On Creativity and Spirituality Podcast.