Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Do you have something in my size?
The longer my dad has been gone, the more I miss him and wish for his words and wit to be given from his voice rather than from my memory. But he did give me much to remember, and this story is one of them. My dad’s father was not a kind man, given to anger, probably due in part to the difficulty of his life experiences. He lost everything in the depression, had to move his family west to find work, and eventually stopped in Gila Bend, AZ finding a job as a mechanic. They lived there a few years until they had enough to make it back to Oklahoma. Dad told me one time that he didn’t have shoes that fit for much of his childhood years, because when his dad would take him to the shoe store, he would take the first pair that was brought to him by the clerk. He told me he did so out of fear of his father’s wrath, and that if he said they were too tight or too big, he would be accused of complaining and ungrateful. So instead of leaving the store with nothing, at least he had a pair on his feet, whether they fit or not. The departure from The Church As We Know It is a little like this story. For many of us, we felt we had no other option. The form and function of the present model was all that was available, and according to certain voices in our lives, all there needed to be. If we registered a contrarian view, we were rebuked, corrected, or assumed we were destined for spiritual oblivion. So, like my dad, we learned to keep quiet and just accept what was handed to us as adequate. But as we got older, we learned this was not the case. Our complaint was not born out of ingratitude, but only from a realization that it simply did not fit. Staying in the form of The Church As We Know It made as much sense as walking around in 8D loafers when a 9 ½E looked more like my foot. We can now buy our own shoes. The contrast is a crude one, as it can certainly raise more questions about the movement than provide answers. To any detractors, it would not be a stretch to assume from this story that the guiding force of my life is comfort and doing whatever feels good. But think of it from the point of view of a little boy, living in fear of his dad. There is a generation who is discovering they no longer have to be afraid of the one they call Father.