Conversion and conversions will be themes of this blog for the next couple of weeks. We will suspend our “heaven” series, continue our books — Wright and Bain — but will also be having posts about our new book, Finding Faith, Losing Faith: Stories of Conversion and Apostasy. More posts, however, will be about Alan Jamieson’s book Chrysalis: The Hidden Transformation in the Journey of Faith. We advertised this series some six weeks ago. The big image of Jamieson’s book is that many today are undergoing an experience of growth in faith like a chrysalis. I have asked folks to respond to this image and today’s comes from Rachel.
I found this book spooky because it so accurately describes my faith journey over the last year. I grew up catholic, went to catholic schools and married a good catholic boy. I never thought much about God and stuff, because I went to mass and obeyed the sacraments. My catholic faith was based on ?group things?. My catholic schools, my catholic friends, my catholic themed holidays, and my catholic wedding, complete with a mass. Maybe I just missed the whole point, or maybe I was born in the wrong place at the wrong time to the wrong family. No one introduced to me the idea that God wasn?t a group effort; God was a one on one journey that was supposed to be ever changing, wondrous, emotionally draining, spiritually uplifting and terribly frightening. And oh yes, there isn?t a text book/road map. Some days it feels like two steps forward and one step back.
This book has given me a lot of comfort because it helped me understand that ?I am normal?.
My first connection was on page 14, ?If you have experienced the road of faith coming to a cul-de-sac…? I joined my present church January 2006 as I was going through a painful divorce. The pastor is a good man and offered to talk to me, but I wasn?t ready to open up. I took copies of his weekly sermons, pondered them, prayed about them and journaled on them. Started May of 2006 and kept it up for 42 weeks before I compiled them in a book and presented it to him. (He had no idea that I was doing this) I continued to write a response to his sermons for about 10 more weeks, and then my words disappeared. I couldn?t write anymore. I found my cul-de-sac. I thought there was something wrong with me. I never connected that this was Spirit starting to transform me and take my journey to a new level.
I have had the profound sense of needing to be alone and just be with God. I don?t pray long, complicated, wondering and wandering prayers. I just sit, think of God, and just sit some more. I don?t know why I feel this way. Page 57 states ?While God remains God, God?s primary face to us has changed.? I think this is where I am at now; it is why I can?t write now. My relationship with God has changed; it has become stronger, clearer, more defined and I feel more special to God. This has frightened me. Chapter 5 ends ?The chrysalis has been for a period of time; it held us in transition and transformation, but it is not for ever. Now it is time to emerge.?
I haven?t read past chapter five yet. I guess I am still amazed the Alan Jamieson knows me so well and we have never met. My transformation has been hard work and a lot of sleepless nights, unending tears and panic attacks. But I know God put me in the right church, at the right time and has surrounded me with the right people. Do I want to emerge? Yes, but I am scared. What will God expect of me? What do I expect of myself? I like to think I can stay at this place for the rest of my life, and live a safe, comfortable life and have a comfortable relationship with God. But on some deep down level this doesn?t feel right. Should people stop the journey when they feel comfortable with God? Am I disrespectful to God feeling this way? Hopefully the rest of this book will give me some answers and move my journey to the path it needs to be on. I believe I will journal write on this book, I am happy you gave me the opportunity to write on it and this book has given me a chance to write again.