Thinking Out Loud

February 23, 2014

Lost Voice 3 – Brett

More than six years ago when this blog was an e-newsletter, I announced something I was working on called The Lost Voice Project. Periodically I add new people. Today, I thought I’d give you another sample chapter.I envision about eight characters here, getting together describing their church experience, a multi-age “Breakfast Club” of people recalling days when the church was at the center of their thoughts and activities.

The Lost Voice ProjectWhen it came Brett’s turn, he had to introduce himself to everyone. Unlike the other voices that had been lost to the church, Brett and his family were completely AWOL. He and his wife and been young parents of three kids, but when their fourth, a daughter, was born with post-birth issues requiring hands-on care, they simply stopped going to church since to do otherwise as a family was simply too complex.

It had been eleven years.

So unlike people who lived and functioned in the church as exiles, Brett and Kim were more literally exiles, albeit by their own choice.

Not that there were a lot of options. But one could have easily stayed home one week allowing the other attend weekend services, and then alternating on the other weeks, and that’s exactly what the members of the group suggested.

“Why didn’t you just take turns.”

Brett was silent. His oldest son was now graduating from high school. There had been some fragmentary contacts with the church youth group, but basically had grown up un-churched. His kids knew some of the Bible stories, they were told some of the family history, and all their cousins were involved in local churches in their hometowns. So on a survey, they would identify as “Christian,” even though that’s about as far as it went.

“Couldn’t someone have picked up them for a mid-week kids club?”

“Does this mean he missed out on the youth group retreats as well?”

With each answer Brett hung his head lower and lower. The situation was a complex as their young daughter’s care. There was more to the story. Though it was never said, there was a slow dawning of the realization that this wasn’t a story about a family who couldn’t make it to church because of a special needs child at all.

This was a story about two parents that withdrew from church life over a prayer that was never answered, a sadness that never healed.

Brett is one of the lost voices in the modern church. His contribution over the years would have been both greatly varied and deeply committed. But unlike the other lost voices, an entire family disappeared from some church’s membership roll and left a huge gap.

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