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Faith’s Edge 2: Standing on the edge

I wrote this just a few months ago. I like the metaphor of being on the edge of things. Sometimes it’s a leading edge. Sometimes, it’s an edge from which I perilously dangle. Sometimes it’s a razor’s edge, making delicate cuts in the tissue of my identity. Sometimes it’s the neatly folded edge, that allows for compartmentalization. Edge’s are liminal space. They are transitional. They are some of what came before and some of what is next.

Maybe faith’s edge doesn’t mean exactly what id did to me in ’06. I’m not at the edge of losing my faith. Maybe back then I was. I think I’ve worried about losing faith at various points in my life, but I don’t really know that that is a possibility for me. I am a person of faith. It is intrinsic to who I am. I believe, but I don’t believe as I once did. I hope, but I no longer hope for the same things. I can’t imagine a world in which I no longer hope and believe.

Divorce has tested my sense of faith as nothing before has. I have to believe that the pain will go away, that the shame and regret will dissipate, that there is a better day ahead, one in which I can be restored. Maybe not a restoration to what I was before, but a renewal… a redemption… a resurrection perhaps? I stand on the edge with my broken heart. Waiting…

This weekend I preached at a Unitarian Universalist church. I love those folks so much! Some people don’t like their take on religion. Basically, they take what they can use from each faith and discard what doesn’t work for them. It’s easy for that to lead to a faith where you’re not being challenged, but this particular faith community is open to wrestling with the harder aspects of what it means to be a spiritual people in this world. I preached a challenging sermon to a mostly white congregation about race. It was a good sermon! I haven’t preached in so long. It felt good. I felt like me. I have missed the pulpit. When I am back in the life of a community of faith, I will preach from a different place than I have in the past. Hopefully, a more humble place. Hopefully a more human place. I stand on the edge with my gifts in hand. Waiting…

I look at my social life as if I am standing at the edge of a swimming pool. I don’t want to jump in. I feel unready to re-enter community on a full time basis. I feel unworthy. I feel unequipped. This is part of why I write. I can throw my voice into a conversation from a distance while maintaining a buffer around myself. This can’t last forever. Community is what we’re made for. Yes, even tragically introverted folks like myself. My self image has taken a beating. I don’t know what I have to offer to a community anymore. But I think the day is soon approaching when I will no longer have that as an excuse. And when that day comes, I will have to bring all of me; trauma, abuse, depression. Humor, wit, compassion. All of it.  I stand on the edge with my crushed identity. Waiting…

I am a thirty-five year old, divorced, father of two. I am a displaced Presbyterian minister, searching for ways to still love and serve in the ways that I am gifted to do so. I am a black man who has operated in largely white spaces. I am a lover of music, beer, football, movies, tv, running, reading, and writing. I am highly flawed. I am overly self critical and easily depressed. I am also pretty self aware and committed to being the most authentic version of me that I can be. I stand on the edge with all that I am. Waiting…

If you are new to me and my writing, welcome. I try to be real. We share this human experience, and I’m simply trying to share my little piece of it. I hope that you will stand on the edge with me.



About derricklweston

Father of two. I co-host God Complex Radio, a show highlighting progressive voices in the faith community. (godcomplexradio.com) I am an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church USA. I like lots of stuff. Sometimes I write about that stuff.


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