A reader writes: Staying sane in Northern Ireland

I’m sure you receive lots of messages. I guess for me…this is therapy! To be able to articulate the best I can what is happening to me for the last few years I honestly don’t know who I am or what has been/and is happening to me! Don’t get me wrong…I love Jesus…but after studying theology and growing up in Northern Ireland Protestantism I knew stepping into ministry as a woman would mean hits here in NI…but that was nothing until my ‘Christian capsule’ began to crack…in fact, it smashed to pieces! In ministry I started to ask all the questions you faced and shared in your books (they have been a life saver to me)…I felt I ‘didnt fit’ in church. To cut a long story short…a couple of years ago I stepped out of my ministry post and planted a church…a church for folks who feel they ‘don’t fit’…a place for people like me. I even hate calling it a church….what the heck does that even mean anyway? I dont think anything could of prepared me for what was to lie ahead…a journey of unlearning…from all the teachings etc of the Christianity in Northern Ireland that if I’m honest sickens me to the stomach. Brian, even when I go into churches I feel ill in the pit of my stomach. A few of us have planted … a community of people who want to truly seek what it means to follow Jesus and to simply be Jesus in our community. Can I just say…it is a very lonely place! I feel very alone…Christians don’t get me/us! So either we have got this all wrong or we are gonna burn in hell! Northern Ireland is about 20years behind re thinking than the UK/USA..and we feel we have arrived early…if that makes sense! Heaven forbid that we should say that we think we have the answers…God have mercy on our arrogance..the thing is we are still unlearning…and yet have no idea now…what does it look like now to follow Jesus?? If I was to voice that here in NI..we would be crucified, accused of all sorts of things…we already are! .Brian, I guess the reason I write this email to you is to first of all thank you for your writings…they keep me sane! You have mentored this Irish chick without having even met me! So thank you. Also, thank you for reading my email…as I said at the beginning…should you never reply…I understand..but for me…this has been therapy! If you’re ever in Ireland maybe someday we can grab a coffee! Lol. …The thing is…there are now about 20 of us…who feel this way…so God is certainly up to something!

Thanks for this note. So many people around the world are feeling this way, and thank God for the ones like you who decide to do something constructive and positive by simply trying to live it, in community, seeking the common good with your neighbors. (BTW – I hope my next book will be helpful for you!)