I find it very hard to give myself to Christmas celebrations because I know easter is on the way. Likewise the build up to easter is never the mournful occasion that tradition would have it be, because Christmas is around the corner. Church traditions and seasons have become increasingly bizarre for me over the years - while I live in the 'now', it is always the same now: of Jesus having been born to bring life through His death on the cross.
Somewhere along the line we made stuff up to divert the pagans (who seem to have effectively taken it back in popular culture).
I've been reading Mark's gospel, well, just started it this morning. The intro in the NIV version I have talks about John-Mark (the author) and his ups & downs with church leadership, which then got me thinking about Peter and HIS ups & downs too, compromises and mistakes. Not the ones before Jesus death, but the ones after he became a significant figure in the early church. In a way it gives me hope, and yet I see the same compromises in the church today, yet magnified down the ages, and that's discouraging. Are we all so compromised as individuals that, even with God at work in us, we still produce fruit that's compromised too?
The answer is, of course, yes. But that's no reason to stop doing what we're called to do.
Stepping out of church leadership has meant discovering I still had opinions and feelings about things that had been suppressed in order to cope with the compromises. They no longer need to be kept quiet in order to allow everyone to get along and not upset people. Whether that's helpful or not I don't know. My rather offensive sense of humour is still there too, not quite so hidden away now as well, though that's *mostly* suppressed still. ;-)