Do you see your faith as a destination or a journey? For me it is definitely a journey, one where I can explore and learn at every turn. I am sure all Christians do not share my sentiment. That being said, when I come across others who not only live their faith, they question it and yearn for more information about it; I get excited. I came across one of these special people while roaming twitter and am excited to share her new book on exploring church with you – Not All Who Wander (Spiritually) Are Lost ( A Story of Church) by Traci Rhodes.
My Friend Traci
As I wander the Twitterverse, I come across many people with fascinating ideas. The writing and faith communities provide me with interesting ideas and concepts to ponder and the parenting community gives me a place to share, laugh, and lament real life. As time goes on and we tweet together about “all the things”, I find many people I would love to meet “in real life”. Coffee and talk about faith and writing with Traci Rhoades is now on my bucket list. Her dream of a church united in love instead of divided by differences is an idea I hold close to my heart. I love the way she explores the Christian faith and opens up dialogue between people of differing ideology. Commenting on her tweets is a safe place for conversation and a good place to learn something new.
Let’s Talk Structure
Not All Who Wander (Spiritually) Are Lost ( A Story of Church) is a book full of real life experience. The book portrays not only Traci’s lived experience in the church, but those of sixteen other people. Each story is special and individual and shows the complexity that is our Christian faith. The writing is conversational. It draws the reader into the story as if you are sitting over coffee reminiscing about life. I felt a connection as I read and wanted to keep moving forward to see where the journey was going to lead. A book needs to draw me in or it will take me decades to finish. I read Traci’s book in two days. The emotional draw that grabs your attention is present in these very personal stories of faith and church.
There is a good amount of purple underlining in my copy of the book. Everyone needs the opportunity the read and learn as an individual, so I am forcing myself to limit to one quote in this post. Not an easy task, but this quote sums up my desire for unity and exploration of a faith that is thousands of years old and will continue to outlive us all thousands of years after we are gone.
“I became overwhelmed by the reality that we are one body, soaked in unity, if we so choose. Forging the path for something new in church can be a struggle. I realized at this conference I am part of a larger group of believers, all laboring in the Lord’s vineyard. I am not alone and I am part of the body of Christ. We all have much to learn from one another, if we are willing to explore a bit and collect some treasured souvenirs. Spending time learning about my Christian brethren has broadened my understanding of church. It has helped form how I love, pray, worship, and live; and it has taught me a thing or two about loving my neighbor.”
As a Roman Catholic Christian who regularly explores denominations outside my own, this book spoke to me on a very personal level. I joke that Traci wrote it for me because I needed to know I am not alone on my journey. As I read, the true complexity of the Christian faith came into clear focus. The “Church” looks very different now than it did in the days following Jesus’ resurrection. So my question is how can one denomination have it 100% right? I don’t think it can. It is my belief that the truest picture of God comes from seeing Him through the eyes of many traditions. Each tradition offers a unique perspective allowing for new ways to deepen your relationship with the creator.
As an introvert who struggles with anxiety, the repetition of the mass is a comfort. No matter where I go, I know what to expect when I enter a Roman Catholic church on Sunday morning. I hear the words over and over and have the opportunity to look deeper into their meaning each time. But I also love the deep dive into scripture that I have received in other churches and I adore the praise and worship I’ve witnessed in others. Each denomination gives me yet another angle to explore, another way to celebrate the love of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. My end goal is simple – to deepen my faith and find new ways to share it with the world around me. I want to be the vessel of Christ’s love on this earthly planet. How I get there does not matter, just as long as I get there.
Decide for Yourself
I encourage everyone to pick up Not All Who Wander (Spiritually) Are Lost (A Story of Church) by Traci Rhoades. Be a part of the journey and see where it takes you. We have so much to learn from each other. The more we explore, the closer we will get to unification as one, true, whole Body of Christ. Love each other well my friends and happy reading.