After four years and a dozen conversations, Jake is finally relishing the fruit of the transformation that has happened in him over that time. Their final conversation celebrates so many wonderful things I enjoy when people I know move away from Christianity as an obligation into a meaningful relationship with a Father who has genuine affection for them.
Some of my favorite observations of that trajectory shift are summed up in their last moments together:
It was easy to remember how frustrated John had made me in those early days. The more I listened to him the more my life kept falling apart.
John smiled. “I never told you to do one thing. I simply made some observations, asked some questions, and gave you some options. The choices were all yours.”
“I realize that, but they didn’t always turn out so well.”
“How could they? You had two desires that conflicted with one another.”
“What do you mean?”
“You had this incredible hunger to know God and follow him. But you also wanted to be circumstantially secure and well-liked. Those just aren’t compatible with following him. We are safe because he is with us, not because our circumstances are easy, and trying to get everyone to like you only made you less of a person than God made you to be. When you started following what God put in your heart, the other kingdom had to collapse. It was inevitable, if not enviable.”
This Sunday will be the last gathering of the Jake Colsen Book Club, where a group of us are walking through So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore. I have not read this book since I completed it in 2005, so I have been fascinated to remind myself what’s in that book. It’s also been a chance to relive working with Dave Coleman, my co-author, who passed away 18 months ago.
This book still contains the critical lessons I want people to know when they are ready to embark on a different journey—outside the walls of Christan obligation to discover an endearing, growing friendship with the loving Father. We’ve had a lot of fun exploring the themes most dear to my heart.
This has been a fluid group, and you’re welcome to join us even if our final time is your first one. We are gathering on Zoom this Sunday, May 21 at 1:30 pm PDT. We will cover the final chapter of the book, as well as open up to any questions or discoveries from anywhere in the book. Anyone is welcome to join us, even if it’s your first time. We will also stream it live on my Facebook Author Page, but if you want to be part of the conversation, you can get a link to the Zoom Room by emailing Wayne and asking for it.