Reflecting on twenty years of Campus Ministry at the University of Toronto, Brian put his finger on the pulse of what ails so many of us. In the years of this ministry including the years of writing this blog, we have heard from so many who are wrestling with whether or not they can stick with the church:
It seems to me that many of the folks who have found their way to our ministry suffer from PETSD – “Post Evangelical Traumatic Stress Disorder,” or maybe PCTSD – “Post Christendom Traumatic Stress Disorder.” This is the past that so many have tried to step out of.
Looking back on some of the posts on this blog, it’s been clear that this is has been an underlying theme in some of our posts, and so we’ve compiled a few of them – perhaps as companions and dialogue partners for the journey – for those who are wrestling with whether they are going to remain in the Christian story anymore (or not).
Room for Doubt by Andrew Stephens-Rennie
You ask me how I can still be a Christian when all over the news in this country we hear stories, we see pictures, we drown in evidence that to be Christian is a blank cheque to power, infidelity, abuse and deceit.
And to be honest, there are days that I don’t even know anymore. There are days where I figure that the safest, most honest way to go forward is call myself one of the Dones.
Endless Struggle by Andrew Stephens-Rennie
I feel like I’m in the midst of Jacob’s all-night cage match. I neither know nor understand the one with whom I struggle. I don’t know how long I can hold on, but I’m determined never to let go. I’m adamantly insistent that I receive a blessing, even if I have to walk away with a limp.
Jesus is an Asshole by Andrew Stephens-Rennie
Is Jesus an asshole? I guess for me, at this point in my journey, the jury’s still out. Whether he is or not, I’ve become more than convinced he’s not the anemic waif we heap with theologically abominable praises each and every Christmas.
A Road to Peace by Andrew Stephens-Rennie
“Who do you say that I am,” Jesus asks Peter.
“Who do you say that I am,” Jesus asks me.
I avert my eyes, unsure how to answer. If I follow in Peter’s footsteps, playing my hand, playing a bold declaration, playing into the script, my response will be met with nothing but a gag order. But if I answer with the final words of my previous post, I may not end up any closer to a productive conversation. At least that’s what one of my friends said on Facebook:
“Jesus was many things – prince of peace, wonderful counselor, but to call him an asshole is honestly offensive and belittling. You can do better.”
Return to the Table by Andrew Stephens-Rennie
Do you ever have those days? Days where Jesus is right beside you? And do you know those other days, those panic-stricken days it seems he’s up and left, you can’t remember if he’s ever been there, and you don’t know where to look, let alone whether you will find him?
Coffee Shop Prayer by Andrew Stephens-Rennie
Years ago, it became apparent that I could not pray the way I used to. And so I stopped praying. But this has been death. What I needed was not to give up on prayer, but to learn to pray anew.
For so long, the only place I have been able to pray is in church, with others. The only way I have been able to pray is through the liturgy of the church. That’s a place to start, when I can’t do it on my own.
Searching for God by Andrew Stephens-Rennie
There’s something deep, profound and raw about honest searching for God in a bullshit free zone.
There’s something healing about listening to others’ stories, and offering a few of my own. Stories of pain. Of hope. Of shared laughter. Of shared tears. Of shared lament. Of wrestling. In the midst of it all, the bold demand for a blessing.
Come to the Table by Andrew Stephens-Rennie
“What do you do
When the old maps no longer work?
When the directions and directives
That used to guide you
That used to bring comfort
Lead you into the uncertain wilderness
Far from home?
What do you do
when words of comfort
have turned to pillars of salt
rubbed in deep-felt wounds?