It’s funny how the comments of different people can impact on our lives. Sometimes the same comment by different people can cause polar opposite responses. Let me explain.
Art was always my favourite subject at school. I was told by friends that I was good at art and remember being selected for various special art experiences that got me out of other lessons on different occasions. Then one day in high school when I was about 15 years old my then art teacher informed me the expectation for my GCSE art would be a grade C. I was gutted. I wasn’t too worried about other classes but art was important to me. What my art teacher didn’t know was that I went to Art College every Saturday where I got to practice, learn and grow in my skills. My response to being informed about the potential C grade was a defiance to prove my teacher wrong and to get an A. On the day the results were ready a group of us were asked to line up and open our results together so photos could be taken and I guess our joy, relief or disappointment captured. I opened the results and turned the pages to find what I was looking for. I obtained the A for art. There was no dramatic emotional response but a feeling inside that it was a job well done. I walked away from the small crowd celebrating their results satisfied and a little smug to prove my teacher wrong.
A few years later I was expressing my ideas through music rather than art. I’d learned to strum a few chords on a guitar and written a few songs. Admittedly some of these were pretty tragic and I’d be embarrassed to share them with my nearest and dearest let alone the general public. However, I’d played in a few places, led worship in churches and other settings and received some positive feedback. An opportunity arose to record a few tracks in a makeshift studio with some borrowed equipment. It wasn’t technically brilliant but it was a fun time recording and playing around learning a few new skills of production. A friend and I produced a CD and we were pleased with our little project. I was happy to share it (though a little nervous about responses). I can’t recall what most people said but one voice rings out louder and longer when they asked with a tone of disdain, “who’s going to listen to that?” It was the voice of someone close to me and rather than the defiant response I had to my art teacher this time I felt rejected. The words cracked my self-esteem and rather than continuing to play and share music my writing slowed until it ceased, my playing became less frequent and the CD project put back in its box.
Words are powerful. They can make or break us. Words can puncture our fragile dreams or strengthen our resolve and resilience.
My first inkling of an idea for Broken Church came not long after the CD was shelved. It has haunted me, fluttering around my imagination like birds in an aviary. Now it is released and may soar like a kestrel or hover around my head like an irritating gnat. It is out because I need to let it out, not because I need anyone else to read or to provide agreement or approval. I need to write, to express myself. I must face my own anxieties and fears of both failure and success (whatever each might look like) to allow my own brokenness to have the potential to be beautiful.
As a pastor I have more questions than answers.
As a Christian I have doubts.
As a human I am broken.
I hope to minister authentically and honestly; for brokenness to become wholeness; doubt to journey with faith; and questions to make me a healthier disciple of Christ. If my words offer encouragement and hope or provide a means for others to find Christ, to accept brokenness and boldly release those hidden, precious, delicate dreams that will be a bonus.