The Cost of Freedom
To read the previous installment of this story, go here. That post will have a link to the previous one, etc... You don't want to emulate me. Don't copy what we do at Rothesay Vineyard. I'm serious. What makes Rothesay what it is is that we are ourselves. I made a decision years ago to live out my own freedom and I encourage others to do the same. That's what makes us. Although I occasionally come up with lists of steps you can take to deconstruct yourself and your church, these are all given in the light of you living out your own freedom. In fact, I'm quite sure that if you live out your own liberation, the deconstruction will happen automatically with your own distinctive flavor. Deconstruction is the symptom of freedom and the resistance to power and authority. When you live no longer under the dominion of another within, it will manifest itself without in ways unique to you and your situation. How many people have I met with who, after years of living in a bad marriage, finally make the decision to leave? What do they leave behind? They appear to leave behind a broken family, a hurt spouse, and damaged kids. The ones who leave always get blamed for the destruction. No matter how much you try to convince some people that, despite all appearances, the marriage was a sham covering up deadly dysfunction, they still believe that you rocked the boat, upset the apple-cart, and left innocent bystanders in ruins. This is a warning: it is inevitable that when you finally stand in your own freedom, you are going to become the bad guy. You are the one who's going to be blamed for ruining everything. So buckle up! This is what happened to me. And this is what you're going to hear more about. For over a year (1995-1997), things were heavenly. It was sheer bliss. I kid you not. I was never happier or more content. Heaven, I often said, couldn't get any better than this. Until! Until I realized I wasn't living my own life but living in the shadow of Steve's. I realized, all of a sudden, that I wasn't free, but under the gentle but intoxicating authority of another. It suddenly dawned on me that I wasn't my own. Even though my willing interior bondage was exquisite, it still wasn't freedom. When I finally saw the beauty and absolute necessity of my own freedom and decided to live in it, that's when everything went so very wrong. This is what provoked so many people, including Steve. This is what I believe fundamentally ruined what Rothesay was and what offended so many people who still blame me for destroying such a beautiful thing. And you know what? In many ways they are right! It was more beautiful than anything I'd ever experienced. Except for one thing: I wasn't free. And I was about to discover that my freedom and autonomy came at an enormous price. It was going to cost me and so many others just about everything.