When Nomad podcast started out we were definitely reacting against the institutional Church. We largely defined ourselves by what weren’t. That’s not a bad place to start, but it’s a really bad place to remain. As Richard Rohr said in our interview with him ‘You don’t go very deep or very far when you keep rejecting your past’, or as he later put it in even more emotive terms ‘You can’t keep hating your mother, you’ll never be a positive and mature person.’ True, literally and metaphorically.
There needs to come a time when rather than being defined by what you’re not, you become defined by what you are. My angst towards the institutional Church began to mellow when I began to form a Fresh Expression of church. As this new Christian community began to take shape I began to see the importance of staying rooted and drawing from my Church tradition (Up: towards God, Out: towards other, In: towards ourselves, and Down: towards the wider Church).
Being part of a wider community and tradition is vital when starting something new. It’s foolhardy to think that what we’re forming can’t benefit from what’s gone before, and doesn’t need the accountability of those who’ve been in the game considerably longer than we have.
Every teenager needs to move on from their grumpy, angsty rebellion, and learn to value their parents wisdom and experience as they head out into the world. And at 41 I’m just starting to realise the importance of this in my spiritual journey!