This is probably my least favorite thing about having a blog: having to write about myself in a forum everyone can see. If I had money, I’d hire someone to do this for me…but alas, money is not something I have in abundance, so write about myself I must.
I somehow ended up in this weird work of congregational ministry. It was never where I thought I’d end up, and yet somehow it has been an almost perfect fit for me. In my work at the church, I am able to blend my love of music, my eye for the creative, my compassion for people, and my passion for social justice.
I grew up in Southern California in a progressive United Church of Christ congregation that ignited the spark that grew into my passion for social justice. We called ourselves a thinking, caring church. We questioned. We challenged. We welcomed. We engaged in dialogue with people from other faiths. We even shared our worship space with other faith traditions. We had a gay youth group leader and a music director living with AIDS. And all of these things opened my eyes, my heart, and my mind in a way that revealed the kin-dom of God to me. I saw glimpses of it there in our midst. That was the whole of my Christian upbringing.
My time in the Midwest has introduced me to another aspect of Christianity. It is here I experienced first hand the cinching of the Bible Belt. Here I felt quite certainly that many would think I shouldn’t call myself a Christian. Here I encountered so many people bruised and battered by the church. So many who had been chewed up and spit out, and I thought surely they must know that church doesn’t have to be like that? That it SHOULDN’T be like that. These thoughts became some of the driving force behind our creation of a new worship service at Brentwood Christian Church. The Awakening became a place in Springfield where those who had been abused by the church could find refuge and solace. Where they could question without fear. For “if you believe in God some of the time, or none of the time, or all of the time, you are welcome here.”
The longer I live on this earth, the more my heart is broken open by the realities of this world and I strive to live my life as though I can make a difference. And so I live my life in the shadow of the cross. Striving to walk in the footsteps of a man who lived nonviolently, challenged the status quo, welcomed extravagantly, reached out to the least of these, lived and died for what he knew to be sacred and good and true. There is so much in this world that I do not understand, so much anger and hatred and fear, but at the same time, so much beauty and goodness and love. I’m holding on to hope.