Trying to Make Sense

Sorry for the lack of blogging lately.  I’ve been busy writing essays and working away from home.  I’ve also been a little uninspired so haven’t had an awful lot to say.  However…

I’ve just spent a really interesting couple of days with my colleagues talking about work and faith.  We spent some time considering culture and faith and mainly the question of how we ‘carry culture’ and what that culture might be.

For me that’s an interesting and difficult question.  I spoke about the three of me.  I’ve mentioned before how I sometimes feel a disconnect between the bits of my life.

There’s Stewart the person who lives in the world.  Who used to DJ in clubs and pubs, who loves music and movies, who’s a dad and a husband.

There’s Stewart who is employed by the church.  I work for a denomination I knew little about before I got the job.  I feel at home there and I think it suits me.  I wonder if I suit them!  I also wonder how the Stewart who find faith and nourishment outside the church in all kinds of ways.

Then there is Stewart who leads worship on Sundays in a fairly traditional fashion.  I try my best to talk to people in ways that bring these three areas together but sometimes that is difficult.  Not conflicting really with the other two Stewarts but sometimes seemingly separate.

I know we are all different in different situations and perhaps I’m trying to make sense of all of that.  But I wonder if that is the same for all of us?  I know many of you who read this feel the stuggle between a sense of trying to be ‘authentic’, whatever that means, and a connection to a church which sometimes seems quite different if not distant from the other parts of your life.

So, before I go on, am I barking up a tree with more people than me hiding in the branches?

Is there more than one you?  Is church the place where the different yous seem furthest apart?

How do you feel about that?

4 thoughts on “Trying to Make Sense”

  1. Personally I wouldn’t say there is more than one of me, rather that I become more and less whole depending on the situation/community etc.

    Your example: the church… I’ve been thinking about it recently because I’m reading Obama’s book. He talks about identity, not sure how to live as a black man in the US, not sure how to deal with the white part of him and what happened when he went to Kenya. I saw how, for me, The Church (not Sunday morning church, so much as national church like meeting and being in community with other young people at assemblies and suchlike) is where I feel my identity lies. Growing up daughter of a minister in the East End of Glasgow I didn’t feel my identity really lay there, I felt like an outsider a bit (not in a class way exactly) and then in orchestras with people from the west end, I didn’t exactly fit there either socially… But then Church of Scotland Assemblies and going to Zambia and living in their church community I felt completely whole – that’s where I feel most ‘me’.

    So yes – I feel there are different aspects of my life, but I feel Church as a unifying force for these even though I get angry at it and I often hate Sunday mornings. It is when I feel bound to others by faith (oh my, never thought I’d say such a cheesy sentence) that I feel I am able to be myself more fully.


  2. Stewart,
    I totally get what you are saying – not sure how many ‘me’s there are. So here goes:

    Like you there is the ‘me’ that is in and of the world – I am involved in my community, I socialise in that same community – go to the pub, the gym, the shops. I love my community – I grew up in it, I cant walk down the street without bumping into lots of people that I know and who have known me for a long long time. I am a mother and wife – my kids and hubby are very precious to me. All of this part of me has helped shape me into the fortysomething I am.

    I too have worked for the ‘church’ albeit the denomination I belong to. I now find myself training for the ministry in that same church. I have never been more content in what I ‘do’. It feels so right – whether it is leading worship or sitting holding an old lady’s hand whilst she tells me what is worrying her or even joining in with the kids at sundays school. This ‘me’ is a content me. Working for the church allowed me to find this person.

    At the moment because I am on a placement in a different town to that in which I live – these two ‘me’s dont seem to meet very often. Except, perhaps, when I know someone that someone else knows. The family don’t come to church with me – they prefer their long lies and work. But they do support me – 100%. For us, what might cause others conflict or concern, seems to work quite well. And that is despite the fact that in around a years time I might be asking them to leave our home and community to set up somewhere new. (Ask me again about this in a years time!!!)

    Can I reconcile these two ‘me’s? I think I can. The two may only collide in me the person – but they both contribute to the whole ‘me’. They both influence the way I look at the world. There is cross pollination – I live my life in my community with an ethic and outlook shaped by my faith. My faith is in turn influenced by the world around me. And that is the way I think it should be.

    Gonna stop there and carry on this reflection on my own blog….catch the rest there!

    Thanks Stewart for posing a good question!

  3. Stewart, first wanted to say I am one of those lurkers who read your blog but do not comment much. I appreciate what you have to say and what you add to the discussion of how we live deeper, authentic, spiritual lives. I think this question touches on that. I think this push to be our authentic self in ALL situations is were we need to struggle right now as christians and human beings. In my own opinion I think that is what we are all yearning for these days but have felt boxed in a bit by the feeling that we must play into “roles” – at church, with your friends, at home, as a parent…etc. As a musician I feel church should be as rowdy as a rock concert and my music should be as spiritual as my church or spiritual path. Anyways….my two cents. Good post and great blog.

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