There are certain passages on this journey that take us from one world to another. The change is always bittersweet. Today’s post is for the friends who were a part of the movement of which I was a part for so very long.
I want to thank you for nurturing me, caring for me, and giving me a place in which to grow and serve. The egalitarian nature of our movement was unique and well suited for someone with an entrepreneurial bent like me. Through its structure I got to rub shoulders with others with similar ideas, desires and abilities. And we all got to work together to make a difference.
I was particularly blessed to spend time with fellow workers in church planting, and with a host of church and megachurch leaders. It was life giving. I will always be grateful for what you brought to me.
Working with Christian Standard was a delight. So many of my friends thought the magazine was irrelevant and dated. But we worked hard to make it strong, and people took notice. I have great respect for Mark Taylor, the contributing editors and staff.
Working with the Orchard Group was the highlight of my career. I got to serve with amazing people and great church planters, all hard-working servants who made me look good. Brent Storms is a very good leader with a heart that always wants to do what is best for the ministry and the people involved with it. The staff and board struggled greatly when I told them I was trans, and they did the best they knew to do. They are good people, all.
I still believe in our tribe, the one with no name. Restoration movement seems dated. Independent Christian churches seems the most descriptive, because, God knows, we are pretty independent. I miss our tribe. I have returned to the church, but I know I will not be able to return to the movement. It is what it is.
There has also been another side to my departure, also difficult. Cathy is a psychotherapist and was talking the other day about how often conversations stop far too early and people act based on inaccurate assumptions.
There have been assumptions made regarding my transition. Some were inaccurate. When you consider transitioning, you are encouraged (and wisely so) to “try out” your new persona in a safe environment. I chose to do that in a blog (not this one) that is no longer online, though much of its content was incorporated into this blog. When people looked at the timeline of that blog, some used that information to “prove” I knew I was going to transition long before I made it public. The truth is I went back and forth on the issue for a long time, and did not make a final decision until the summer of 2014. Those close to me are well aware of the timeline. Why others felt the need to “prove” my supposed duplicity, I’m not sure. Like I said, it is dangerous to make assumptions about people’s motives.
Did I make mistakes? I did. I have made amends in those cases in which I was aware of my errors. I intended no harm, but if you are human you can’t avoid saying or doing some unfortunate things. It’s all a part of the journey.
Do I have anger that remains? Periodically I do. It is difficult to be ostracized from your church family because of who you are. It is even more difficult when people attack your motives and tell close friends that I “was not the friend I claimed to be.” Those folks also acted on inaccurate assumptions.
On the whole, however, my positive memories of the movement far outweigh those difficult moments. There are thousands of good people I came to know and love, and I miss them.
Time moves on, and I move forward in a world that is able to accept me as I am. These people are no better or worse than those I leave. They have their own assumptions, some correct, some not. But hopefully, all of us can stumble our way toward the goal we share, the reconciliation of the creation to the Creator. I pray we can be effective in that great endeavor, even if occasionally it is in spite of ourselves.
9 thoughts on “Moving On”
Your gratefulness, grace, and deep love for those with whom you’ve journeyed, in spite of the difficulties you’ve faced with them in this season, is admirable. I appreciate the opportunity to read and learn more about your life and story as you walk this pathway.
I too deeply appreciate the opportunity to read this and to know you; even if over a dinner. Your light is one of the brightest I have ever experienced. To be true; especially to ourselves. To stand in integrity and honesty, even in the midst of hatred; is moving beyond words I can write
Paula, Thank you for sharing this journey with me. I did not know you well, but well enough to respect and trust you. Your insights along the way and your grace towards those of us who do not understand, but who want to, has been a blessing to me. I read and reflect on every post. God bless.
I looked up the definition of egalitarian.
I find it interesting that a “movement” dedicated to all people being equal, would have as a member, one who is now *not* considered equal. Also interesting to me is how you are undaunted at the actual affect that this particular movement had on you personally, and are still only concerned with it’s true egalitarian nature. Reconciliation of the creation to the Creator.
God is working mightily through you, my friend.
You are turning the other cheek AND shaking the dust off your feet and moving on. I daresay that God is well pleased with you, a good and faithful servant if there ever was one.
Knowing when to hold on, and when to let go, is the greater part of wisdom. Thanks for your continued, insightful writing.
What a mix of emotions as I read this. Another fork in the road. Again, well stated. I’m sad you have to move on from the Movement. I’m grateful you are able to move on. The paradox of life. I appreciate and commend you for how you’ve come to a place of deep grace. That is the way of Jesus.
Thank you for sharing your inner most thoughts and feelings. May God continue extend you the grace and mercy that you are extending to all of us. I give thanks for knowing both you and Cathy and your story for it is a story of Love and Redemption. I, too, love our Tribe, but am no longer welcome to lead or work within in and probably never will be welcome to do that. I only hope that someday the independent Christian church and Churches of Christ will welcome LGBTQI into their fellowship with open arms and love us as Jesus would. Thank you for such a lovely sharing again Paula. Love you and your tribe, David
Thank you , Paul and Paula. This posting is you and straight from your heart and clearly demonstrates how you embrace; ” Whatever has been, “Thanks “, whatever shall be , ” Yes “.