Silence and Crucibles of Change

6942890-md_2.jpgI’m feeling kind of quiet these days… again! I’m lying low. Or trying to. In spite of my attempts to be quiet, the is the never ending suffering of those around me. And I, to a degree, suffer myself.

Marriages of my friends are breaking up at an alarming rate. It is epidemic, shall we say. And, as usual, our own marriage is being stretched as Lisa and I try to learn to grow as individuals while staying in love and in close proximity. You see, this is always the problem: how to grow personally with complete liberty in the context of community. I read an excellent book and always recommend it to anyone interested in this complex dynamic. It is by David Schnarch and is called Passionate Marriage. His basic point is that when a couple enters into a relationship like marriage, they are entering a crucible of change. When one person grows, it automatically forces the other person to grow, and vice versa. I read it not only with my own marriage in mind, or the marriages of my friends, but for our community. It is dynamic and very intense, this process of moving into our own freedom while others move into theirs.

I don’t care about liturgy, sacraments, weddings, funerals, propriety, services, the organization… and all the order that comes with these. These aren’t the issue. They aren’t the point. Do them, fix them, reform them, change them, stop them… whatever. We are always and only left with ourselves and our own personal urgency of transformation. And this is why I am so silent these days.

The fine art photo is a cropped version of a photo of my UK friend Howard Nowlan

About David Hayward

David Hayward runs the blog nakedpastor as a graffiti artist on the walls of religion where he critiques religion… specifically Christianity and the church. He also runs the online community The Lasting Supper where people can help themselves discover, explore and live in spiritual freedom.

  • Steve

    We are always and only left with ourselves and our own personal urgency of transformation. And this is why I am so silent these days.

    David,

    I understand many of the things that you are going through , as well as those around you. I have been divorced and remarried. Personal relations are really tough. If you’re close enough to love someone, you are close enough to wound them, and they you.

    There are things we can do to better ourselves. Lot’s of things.

    As a follower of Christ, I’m also to proclaim Him. And trust that He is at work to change my heart as well of the hearts of all believers.

    It is for this reason that I engaged in (what I thought) was meaningful discussion of what Christ does for us in His sacraments.

    I know you are a pastor of a Christian church and I thought you too might be interested in that topic.

    You’ve made it clear that these things are not your interest and I will honor that. After all, this is your blog.

    Respectfully,

    Steve

  • jr

    I, too, have watched many, many couples break up in the past year and a half – all with marriages that had “made it” 25 years or more. Each time it happens, I see friends’ marriages suffer a bit as they begin to wonder if they have just overlooked the obvious, or if they are “happy enough” to stay. Our pastor and his wife split last year and no less than 6 couples in the congregation have followed. And the marriage I had that everyone looked to for inspiration, the one I thought was so rock-solid – it teetered precariously for a time. I thought it was hopeless.

    We have decided to defy the odds, to re-commit. It is harder, though, because we are different now. Our old identities are long gone and tho I don’t know if I’d have chosen this husband – the man he has become, he really is better, stronger and the result of having been married to me for so long (for good or bad…for better or worse?).

  • http://nakedpastor.com nakedpastor

    wow jr, that was honest!

  • sarah

    Good luck with your transformation Dave.

    You’ll be alright.

    Sas x

  • Steve

    Awesome photo Howard!

    – Steve

  • http://wwwjustifiedsinner.blogspot.com/ Howard Nowlan

    Thanks.
    It was taken this week during the freak “spring” weather we’re having.
    The model was recently the victim of a breach of trust by a local photographer who sought to both physically and verbally abuse her whilst on a shoot (he then did not even bother to pay her for her modeling). I’ve been working with another photographer (also a Christian) to restore her confidence – she is a superb model and it’s been such a privilege to get to know her and work with her.

    The world is most certainly undone and cruel.
    Today, on a train journey, I watched a group of youths aged from around eleven to thirteen publicaly revel in the most profane and perverse material I have heard in many years. They had no respect for anyone around them and saw absolutely nothing out of place about their actions.
    I’ve also found myself exasperated by the fact that many portfolio sites will not do anything about blocking someone who has caused real trauma to a model, meaning the whole thing could well happen again.

    Righteousness makes us people with responsibility – however painful (sometimes cripplingly so) that may be.

  • http://nakedpastor.com nakedpastor

    it is a beautiful picture howard. thanks. everyone… go to the original. it is profound with the twisted vines and rough tree trunk.

  • http://wwwjustifiedsinner.blogspot.com/ Howard Nowlan

    thanks for the recommendation, David.
    If people do want to see the original, they can link to it here:

    http://photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=6942890

  • http://myfaithdefined.blogspot.com Nate Peres

    Become who God wants you to be. When in those silent times, that is when God comes. Subtely changing in ways not readily apparent. When coming out of the silent time, you realize God just armed you with the tools to handle the next challenge. Good luck!

  • sarah

    Howard,

    That is beautiful.

    I pray the woman is restored.

    From a former lifemodel.

    Sarah x

  • http://www.abundant-blessings.com Abundant

    I was giving thought to this just about a week ago. read a wonderful blog post on it here:
    http://seekingfaithfulness.wordpress.com/2007/03/24/what-if-you-married-the-wrong-person/

    She made some good points. Here is a little snip of it:
    A person can be in the middle of unhappy circumstances, but still have abiding peace and joy within – because they have made the better choice. They can have joy because they still have and give love, because they are giving their children a solid foundation and a good example. They send the message – “I’m in this for the long haul. I’m not going to leave you.”

    The photograph is excellent:)

  • http://wwwjustifiedsinner.blogspot.com/ Howard Nowlan

    Sarah,
    Thanks for your response.
    Kat seems to be recovering well, but seeking to get portfolio sites which currently carry promotional pages for the photographer concerned to act is proving to be a real struggle.
    Thankfully, I can be pretty relentless…

  • sarah

    I’m glad.

    Sarah x

  • http://asbojesus.wordpress.com jonbirch

    beautiful and very sad post david. exquisite photo too. i visit here alot though i comment less. asbo’s gone mad (in a good way) so i tend to be tied up there. this is still my favourite blog. the raw honesty, the genuine struggle. thank you so much for continuing to bare your soul. i feel for your community and i pray for your own marriage. marriage break ups are tragic no matter what the circumstances… when people split tragedy is there. i’m so sorry.
    on a different subject… i saw one of your cartoons on a link from asbo… bibles being dropped from an aircraft… absolutely bloomin’ hilarious! i laughed a lot! i love what you do!


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