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When you lose your job you step into the space between

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Movement toward “What next?”09272013-tumblr_mtmo8g5xrB1rijwyno2_500

A batch of colleagues lost their jobs in a fit of corporate downsizing. Smart, talented, loyal people who invested years are now asking “What next?”

Same old story for my generation. Happens all the time. Rarely pleasant.

I believe standing on the corner scratching your head and saying “Now what?” is a great place to be. Granted: few of us ever choose to go there. Most of us prefer what we’ve been doing. Even if we hate what we had been doing, it beats not knowing what’s next.

Over at Coracle Journeys, Judith Hougen has a lovely, timeless essay on liminal space—that place we move through when we leave the concrete and known and venture forward. Her entire essay is exceptional, short and worth the read:

Catholic priest and author Richard Rohr explains liminal space: “It is when you have left the tried and true, but have not yet been able to replace it with anything else. It is when you are finally out of the way. It is when you are between your old comfort zone and any possible new answer….These thresholds of waiting and not knowing our ‘next’ are everywhere in life and they are inevitable. If you are not trained in how to hold anxiety, how to live with ambiguity, how to entrust and wait, you will run…anything to flee this terrible cloud of unknowing.”

Job loss is one step toward liminal space. It turns out there are many, many routes to the corner and “What now?” Graduating, moving to a new city, loss of relationship, aging. It’s a long list that parallels anyone’s list of top ten most stressful life events.

This “terrible cloud of unknowing” is only a distant, rumored threat when you are 19 and invincible. But each decade is a corner that provides more and closer glimpses of the cloud. It’s all part of the package deal that is the human condition.

Read the full essay at Coracle Journeys.

It will encourage you.


Image credit: Alex Prager via 2headedsnake

Written by kirkistan

September 27, 2013 at 8:45 am

Just How Bad Were You?

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When I was a kid going to church, there was a lot of excitement generated around the story of how you came to faith. Being a good kid (in the generalized sense of comparison to people, but not in comparison to God, you understand), I didn’t have much of a story. In conversation with friends once, we lamented not having amazing from-the-pit-of-hell stories. We were convinced that was the whole essence of Christianity—that story of how you were a junkie/homicidal maniac/generalized ass but now you are a teetotaler/upright citizen/polite human of seeming different coinage.

It wasn’t until years later I realized that conversion story was only one small story that became a kind of exploded view in my church culture. We encouraged it to show the difference our faith made—sort of like baiting the hook. Our church was constantly inviting others in and we thought this was why they would come. But once in—then what? Life as usual, I guess. We seemed to drop the topic or just worked on becoming more polite and avoiding being a self-righteous ass. (I generally failed at this).

We seemed not to know what to do beyond inviting and converting. There was no place in our theology for the wisdom of God to penetrate into our work relationships or to investigate story-telling in art and theater and music. Those were off-base tools of the dark lord. I never heard about boldly moving forward in faithful work.

I thought of this after reading the Coracle Journeys post on beauty and seeing again that old emphasis on witnessing. I’m not against witness, in fact I’d like to take the word to rehab along with fellowship and strategy. But life is a fully-orbed thing, not a single set of words that when uttered complete you. Life is full of gifts to give away out of crazy chesed to any and all—just like God does it.

Think about that as you go to church today, and step out of the straight jacket and into the sprinkler.


Image Credit: marina molares via 2headedsnake

Written by kirkistan

July 1, 2012 at 5:00 am

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