In His Presence Conference, continued... I was looking for examples of church websites, mostly 'cause my church's site... is sad. Anyway, I'd previously found this site called THEOOZE, I don't even remember how I found this site. But today I clicked on the link about the site's history and found an amazing article by the site's founder, Spencer Burke, chronicling his journey from being one of the pastors of the mega-OC-church Mariners to working out of his garage. Wow. I was so taken aback by the story that I had to leave the following comment:I most definitely understand this problem of being "free" to explore authenitic Christianity and the social pressures of what others think it means to be a Christian. I had graduated with a BA in Biblical Studies from a fundamentalist university in So Cal and began working on a MA in Theology at Fuller Seminary when my marriage fell apart and I decided to chuck it all almost 20-years ago. I probably would have stayed "in exile" had it not been for the accepting love of a friend that eventually reminded me, as you mentioned in your article, that God can handle the "severe stuff." Over the past three years I've begun exploring what it means for me to follow Jesus and where I might fit in the larger community of believers. My blog (listed above) is very much about the kinds of explorations (on the Creation Narrative and Mythology, for example) that would probably terrify my fellow parishoners were I in a teaching position at my church. Here's to God being able to handle our honest growing pains, even when his followers can't. jbb

Interestingly, my discovering this site and community followed a session about working through spiritual "dry" times during which the subject of living "authentically" and how that doesn't tend to work for those in leadership (pastoral/worship leadership) positions came up. Well, if "Jacob's Ladder" isn't about asking those difficult questions, I don't know what is. Anyway, I created an account at THEOOZE, and maybe this will help a bit with my feelings of not necessarily belonging and concerns about my tendency to question things. We'll see. JBB