The Church Renegades

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The mystery of Christ, of this deep well of a man and Savior, is that we may have known Him all our lives, and then one day we find Him all over again, as tangible flesh and Spirit awakening our hearts.

This is blessing.

I spent the weekend in an Episcopal cathedral, with pillars protruding through the middle of the building, with white light being flushed through the tinted windows high up on the walls.

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I watched women speak from a stage, from behind a thin metal podium, and I saw the courage of the church grow with every word.

I’m finding in this 27th year of my life that Jesus is fully deeper and wider and bigger and closer than I’ve ever understood.

And the church is stretching herself, too, this tented being that is growing wider, like a canopy over a multitude of tired souls.

And this gathering, it stirred something up in us.

Under this little corner of the tent, we came with our burdens and lifted them up to a God who sees suffering, who welcomes questions, who isn’t just American or white, but is all things to all people, and good.

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There’s a song that comes on the radio called “Renegades” by X Ambassador, and every time I hear it, my heart does this weird stretching to try and understand if the renegade idea means anything to my faith.

I’ve never quite understood that idea, until now.

The pioneers we hear stories about are people who left what they experienced every day to embark in the other direction, to seek the new, to find the unfound, pioneers like my Native American ancestors.

The funny thing about us, the renegade-pioneers of our time, is that we’re leaving something to go back to the basics of what church should have been from the beginning.

We are leaving what we know to find what truth means for us.

We are vacating our sterile, perfect churches to find the other Christians who are messy and unkempt and unafraid to be themselves– unafraid to experience the Jesus who was a renegade and pioneer, Himself.

And for us, this means that our daily lives circle in on each other, that mystery is always happening, and that we are forever being redeemed, called good, filled up, beckoned to the light.

Even in our pain.

Even in our grief.

Even in our wandering,

And even in our self-righteous judging.

And when we find this truth in a room full, in the diversity of sinner-saints, we are able to embrace this glorious mystery, claim it as ours, call it our DNA, the code that actually gives us life.

To know the mystery anew us to redefine the church, and maybe to redefine the church is to be a few inches closer to Kingdom, to wade a few feet deeper into the pool of healing, all the while calling ourselves the ones who chose other, and have found Jesus there, after all. 

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