I’m back! It took me a while! September 1st came and went but I am happy to be back in this space again for this next season. It is always good for me to not think in blog for a few months and as much as it’s hard for me to stop, I have come to value the importance of an intentional break every summer.
As a lot of you know, this summer got off to a very bumpy start with transitions at The Refuge and I was a little worried my favorite season of the year was going to go downhill fast. Fortunately, it turned out to be a really good one despite the pain and realities. I am so proud of us! It is a miracle we are all still together, each and every one of us; it is not without its grief and blood and guts and living in the unknown but I am grateful for my community and the amazing resilience and commitment everyone has to each other and to our life together. The story is still unfolding and like all-things-Kingdom-of-God, they sometimes don’t make a lot of sense. The first episode of Season Two of Faith Circus has a few of the updates, but the bottom line is this: We’re all still here, in this moment, trying as best we can to live out this crazy thing together.
My responsibilities actually aren’t that much different than before. My role has always been to be the nurturer, the glue, someone who keeps things moving and growing. I’m guessing some things will change for me (in positive ways!) as we develop a new leadership structure for us as a mission center and Christian community but for now, I’m just taking one day at a time and trusting the process. My heart still hurts that it happened this way, but I also embrace the story of resurrection and how death of one thing can lead to something new being born.
I’m trusting in that.
Meanwhile, after art journaling (thanks to the amazing Jenny Herrick of Art Lab) and a lot of time on the lake surfing and water skiing and playing with my puppy and all 5 of my kids (who all somehow made it home over the summer, even if for just a few days) I have been asking myself the $20,000 question: Why am I still here? Why haven’t I thrown in the towel? Why do I still care so much about “church”? (remember, I use that term loosely!) Is all this worth it?
I think it is.
The world needs more transformational healing communities and safe and brave spaces.
We need more places where faith shift-ing people can still be connected to community and not have anything figured out.
We need more systems and structures that reflect equality and sharing and that smash the patriarchy embedded in so many churches and organizations.
We need more long-haul community where we strap in not for months or years but decades with each other, eye to eye, heart to heart, side by side, because that’s how long it takes.
We need more places of mediocrity and simplicity, where everyone gets to play, not just the pretty and the popular and the paid. Yeah, Jesus wasn’t “excellent.”
We need more laughing, more parties.
We need more creative & mystical ways to connect with God and our souls that are often ignored and under valued.
We need more conversations around tables and less looking for someone to tell us what to do.
We need more of the weirdest combinations of people all mixed up together–rich and poor, gay and straight, street smart and book smart, liberal and conservative, young and old, into God and mad at God, dig the Bible and allergic to the Bible, tired and feeling energized, and everything in between because that’s where the juice is.
And really, that’s what I need.
It’s always been my dream.
Earlier this month, I was at the Christian Community Development Association conference for a few days with my husband, Jose. Rev. Brenda Salter McNeil spoke on the first night and her powerful, prophetic words really struck a deep chord related to why I’m still in. She talked about her time in Ferguson after Michael Brown’s death and listening to the young activists share their feelings about “church” with clergy from around the USA. She said they boldly and strongly communicated this:
“Church, here’s why we don’t like you. We don’t like your misogyny. We don’t like your hypocrisy. We don’t like your complacency. And we don’t like how you treat the LGBQT community.”
We don’t like your misogyny.
We don’t like your hypocrisy.
We don’t like your complacency.
We don’t like how you treat the LGBQT community.
We can’t simply or easily solve all those problems but there’s no question: I want to be part of some of the solutions to misogyny, hypocrisy, complacency, and how we treat our brothers and sisters.
We have to play our part in creating it in whatever ways we can.
That’s why I’m still in.
This summer I needed, yet again, to remember why, and that this is my particular part in the story (I believe we all have different ones, none better than the other).
I missed you. I am grateful for this space and for your stories and hope and blood and guts, too.
See you Thursday with the one post that’s been rolling around in my head all summer.
Also, Karl Wheeler and I are back for Season Two on Faith Circus. This season we started a conversational group on Facebook called Faith Circus-ing if you want to dialogue a little more after each episode. Join here. Looking forward to it!