Monday, November 9, 2015

A New Beginning

My life has been in an upheaval. There's no denying that. I won't delve too much into my personal life because, well, it's personal. However, things have happened that, for better or for worse, have had a profound impact on my life.

First:  I am no longer an officer in The Salvation Army. This was a point in my life that I thought I would never experience. I had felt God's call in my life to be an officer ever since I was 10 years old. I went to university and seminary just to study in areas which I felt would be the best asset for me to serve God. I felt God calling me to serve him overseas. I followed that calling. I served in Albania, Kosova, and Germany.

This has now come to a close. This chapter in my life is now over.

I have many questions and few answers. However, I have discovered many things.

- Friends and colleagues, who I thought would support me, were silent and never asked me what was wrong or if they could help.

- I discovered friends in the most unlikely of places. People, with whom I have had major differences of opinion, were some of the first to come to my side and help me.

- I honestly believed I could not live a life that was somehow not bound in my calling. Yet here I am:  living, breathing, and going from one day to the next.

It was this past Friday that I finally received word that I was terminated as an officer in The Salvation Army, with no hope of ever returning to that life of service. As I read the words in the email, informing me of the final decision, my mobile phone rang. It was from the job opportunity I had investigated, letting me know that they were continuing with me as their potential candidate.

It was as if God were telling me, "Your life is not over. Your life is more than being an officer in The Salvation Army. You have been looking for your identity in your calling. Find your identity in Me."

Where is this journey leading me? I honestly do not know. I no longer have the answers. I have doubts every day, but, as Anne Lamott has been quoted, "The opposite of faith is not doubt. It's certainty."

Do I have regrets in my officership? Absolutely. However, one thing I do not regret was discovering who I am in Christ and discovering that His love is bigger than my own. The latitude of His love is wider than my own. His love encompasses more than my own love does.

My last blog was under the moniker, The Progressive Salvationist. For some odd reason, that become a huge problem in my denomination. People rallied to these ideas, but they also despised some of the views I wanted to discuss. I felt as if I did not have the freedom to talk about what I wanted to talk about. I did not have the freedom to question. I was even told that I was a heretic by someone I used to respect.

When my good friend and I were forming a Facebook group, one of the names I toyed with was "The Latitudinarian." It was a synonym for liberal and progressive. In the end, we decided against it, but now I've returned to it. This name has grown on me. I also enjoy it because it is not bound by one particular denomination, especially my own.

Am I a Progressive Christian? Yes, I am. However, my love for God means also that my love should extend to all of humanity. It doesn't matter if we're poor, rich, conservative, liberal, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, or Jew. God's love extends to all. I need to learn to do the same.

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