8/07/2009 06:25:00 pm

Home Ground Advantage

Posted by Tom French |

I went back to my old church on Sunday. It was odd. I think what was most odd was that it felt so normal. I expected it to feel like I was intruding. But it just felt like home. Except perhaps that people were more excited to see me than they ever were when I was going there.

I got pulled up to talk about my life and I felt bad about telling people that I'm unemployed. Partly because it's embarrassing, partly because I feel like I'm letting the church down by not doing what I left to do. Although I am, I may not be getting paid for my experiences, but I am experiencing the life of almost 6% of the population, which is probably rather helpful for ministry. It's not like there are any professions out there with 6% of the population. And while unemployment is not really that hard to do, it's not exactly easy. For many people it leads to depression, feelings of uselessness, addiction to gaming consoles and tracksuit pants.

I have had a remarkably happy unemployment. Probably because I had money for most of it. And because I left my job on purpose to live the life I live on purpose. If I work, I'm learning, growing, experiencing. If I don't work, I'm learning, growing and experiencing. Plus I've had plenty of voluntary work to do, and college learning to boot. But it's also meant that I've had to work hard to not let myself be defined by my unemployment. So often we define ourselves by our job. And not having one leaves you with a bit of an identity crisis. Especially when people say "What do you do?" "Apply for 10 jobs a fortnight" doesn't really sound that good. Perhaps I should find some other responses:

"I study the global economic crisis from the perspective of the unemployed."
"I'm a systems worker with Centrelink."
"I work the job market."
"I do paperwork for the Federal Government."

Still perhaps the best response is just to say "I'm unemployed" and not worry about how people view me and not let my identity be defined by my employment or lack of.

This post was meant to be about visiting my old church, but I got distracted.

So anyway, it was nice to go back. I loved seeing people. There were some guys from the youth group that I missed talking to which was sad. It reminded me that I miss my old church. If I'd hated it when I left things probably would have been different. I should have started more fights. Oh well.

I do like my new church however. I look forward to the day when it feels like home too.

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