Old Doors, Old Practices

Old Doors, Old Practices September 16, 2020


My house is about 100 years old.  I love many of the features from the that period and I am thankful in winter for a sturdy old house.  One of the features we love about the house is the old front door.  It is heavy and made of hard wood.  It has the original glass which is about 1/4″ thick.

When my dog barks at the mail person every day, he throws his paws up against it which has revealed some weaknesses in the door.   The main issue was the glass was sliding down inside the door and people tried to seal it with foam and caulking, etc.  Yesterday, I called my friend Jonas and began work on the century old heirloom.  The journey was more involved that I first imagined, so I just purposed that this was going to take a while and Jonas echoed, “take your time.”

After circling the door for about 20 minutes like and animal assessing its prey, I came to understand this would be a little easier if I took the door off its hinges.  When I got it down, I realized the bad part of good craftmanship – it is usually heavy!  I wrestled it onto some stools that served as makeshift sawhorses.  After carefully removing some trim, it was easy to see I was going to spend the better part of the morning removing calking and foam that have be used as a makeshift stopgap over the years.  I cleaned one side, then the other, until I could remove the heavy glass and vacuum out the debris.

After all the clutter and useless material was removed, I could see clearly what the original builder intended.  I could also see how part of the original design would no longer work.  I needed the door to be slightly different for my current time and function.  I also needed to recondition some of the elements of my door if it was going to last another 100 years.

I am happy to say that the door is back up.  It is not as beautiful as it once was, but it’s important that I played a part in reconditioning it to live on for whatever that time is.  It now has a story that involves me.  It started me thinking about my faith evolution.  I wanted to relate this to my deconstruction as I struggle to understand whether religion is necessary at all.  We might be able to compare my door to a deconstruction / reconstruction because I took it apart, removed the unnecessary parts, added in some new components and worked hard, but that’s not what really what my journey is looking like.  It works for the door, but not for my practice.

I am beginning to see my faith transformation more as an evolution than a reconstruction.  We can replace parts of our house with remodeled or new parts and make them function and work better, but what most of us really want is to totally re-imagine what the house looks like.  Man designed this religious thing, so I do not see it as all that sacred.  What I really need in a house and what I really need in a religion need to evolve beyond most of the discussions we are having now.

I got the sense that, to my friend Jonas, saving a 100-year-old door was sacred to him and it seemed that way to me too also.  Maybe instead of going to church, we could spend some time with the materials of the earth and connect with the craft workers of the past by conditioning their creations.  Most likely, what feeds a soul is at least slightly different for everyone.  And maybe it’s not at all like fixing a door — maybe it’s more like evolving.

What I am discovering, is that like adventures, this evolution cannot be scripted.  It is more of something you lean into that something you plan.  It is more like submitting, than controlling.   Our society and religion need to evolve.  I hope some of things that survive are reconditioning old doors and fixing things with our hands.  But I do hope we discard old materials like racism and violence and division.

So, today I wake up a little sore.  Not so much with a plan, but a willingness to see what is next.  The door still needs some new trim, but I have got the rest of my life to get it up.  I am happy just knowing I don’t have to be back to work until Monday and that will be an adventure all its own.

Be where you are, Be who you are, Be at peace!




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Karl Forehand is a former pastor, podcaster, and award-winning author. His books include Apparent Faith: What Fatherhood Taught Me About the Father’s Heart and the soon-to-be released Tea Shop. He is the creator of The Desert Sanctuary and Too Many Podcasters podcasts. He is married to his wife Laura of 32 years and has one dog named Winston. His three children are grown and are beginning to multiply!

The Tea Shop releases on September 22nd –  Pre-order now!

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