I think I have a lot of worthwhile things to say, but sometimes the right words are hard to come by.
Like right now…
I’m searching for the right words to tell you about this thing I’m up to – this thing I’ve dedicated the last two years of my life to – this thing I’m dedicating the rest of my life to.
What do I say right now…
I’m starting a church.
Insert foot in mouth. Oh wait, I’m not that flexible.
Insert sock in mouth.
Actuwahwee, mayvee iss naht ah chuhhwch. (Actually, maybe it’s not a church.)
Ah geff ih defenvs ahn whaf vhat wuhv “chuhhwch” meawvs foo yooh. (I guess it depends on what that word “church” means to you.)
Chuhhwch meawvs ah wot ov diffruff fingvs foo ah wot ov diffruff feefuhl. (Church means a lot of different things to a lot of different people)
Foh fuhm ih meawvs fraumah, ohw iwwehwivenss, ohw ah waawing whilh-wihven ahvwihwafun, ohw ehn emfee vihving. (For some it means trauma, or irrelevance, or a waning guilt-driven obligation, or an empty building.)
Foh fuhm ih meawvs vevahveehn, ohw wuvh imh affen, ohw fahwahwihn Veehvuf. (For some it means believing, or love in action, or following Jesus.)
[Remove sock from mouth] In the end, it’s a word, and words fail us.
So, let’s try again.
Church? Maybe. Maybe not. Community? Yes, but what kind?
We’re building a community in Northeast Minneapolis for people who desire healthy and whole neighborhoods and lives. Together we’ll discover how to create them by doing, learning, and growing.
It’s a community that gathers around questions, not answers. Instead of focusing on what we should believe, we’ll create safe and supportive spaces where we learn, together, what it means to be a human being, and discover, together, how to live well.
It’s a community made of and moved by stories – our personal stories, our diverse ancestors’ stories, the neighborhood’s stories, the stories told through music and cultures and creatures and sciences and media…
And yes, it’s a community that can even be made of and moved by “God” or religious stories. I have been moved and shaped by the stories of Jesus and others within the Judeo-Christian heritage. At the same time, I’ve been burned by these same stories. For centuries, people have used the Christian stories to manipulate others for their own self-interest, most often that of the dominant societal narrative (i.e., white-male privilege). I think that story needs to end.
We value healthy skepticism.
We value a diversity of voices and stories.
We value authenticity.
We are safe.
We are constructive.
For many, it’s Christmas-time, and for me that means hearing and remembering a story about a Middle Eastern refugee family who depend on the generosity of a stranger to provide them room so they can deliver their child into the world.
There are a lot of people in this world who are desperate for love to be born in their lives. We all, at times, are desperate for love to be born in our lives.
Whatever keeps you up at night, whatever your struggle, we’re creating a community where you and I can be heard and supported – where love and possibility can be born.
When it comes down to it, how we live is who we are.
Follow our story.
Even better, help us create it together.