I found it very liberating earlier in the book when Weddell points out that the stages of conversion are not always in order and we are always bouncing around.
I know I've been in the intentional disciple phase before, but I know I'm not now.
I would now put myself back maybe as early as "Trust."
So, it hit home in this chapter in the end when it talks about people in leadership positions who are not yet disciples.
As one of those leaders, I cannot speak to whether or not I can treat others in my shoes graciously. I'm one of the ones who need that patience.
When I was looking up images for this, I was struck by this one:
|Stolen from a very interesting blog post.|
And both are messy. We are imperfect people relating to a perfect Creator. We are imperfect people fumbling through a confusing life dealing with other imperfect people.
Like the other relationships in your life, your relationship with God will not be on a straight trajectory. That's just not how humans work. Some days you'll be on a spiritual high, some days you'll be full of doubt, most days you'll be somewhere in-between.
I'm not really stressing about the fact that I'm at the "trust" phase.* I'm still working through it. I'm not sure if I'm pining after a community that doesn't exist and I just need to get over myself. Maybe I need to find my community in the Holy Trinity and the saints. Maybe I just need to grow up and realize that adults don't bond like young adults and kids do.
Leaders who are not yet disciples do need to become disciples, but they don't have to quit in the short-term. Seeing leaders struggle gives hope to us all in our struggles. I've told people before, there are things that the Church teaches that I struggle with. And those who have heard of my struggles are comforted by the fact that someone-who-has-been-studying-religion-since-she-learned-how-to-read still has trouble. As long as those who are struggling don't intentionally mislead the flock, I think there is no reason why those who are struggling cannot stay in power.
What do you think?
*For those of you following at home, the "trust" phase is the first stage of conversion where a bridge is created between the person and the worshiping community. It is characterized as such, "Many don’t trust God or the Church, by they do trust a Christian in their life." (quote from chapter 5 of Forming Intentional Disciples)