To the young family who showed up for our Intertwine gathering last Easter Sunday morning, sniffed church, and then left…
…you forgot your cute pink stuffed magical beast. I’ll be sure to take good care of it until it can be returned to you daughter.
(Insert diabolical laugh onomatopoeia here)
😈 It’s all part of the Divine Evil Emperor’s plan! 😈
Really though, I’d love to get it back to you. If it meant enough to your daughter to carry it with her someplace, she’s probably missing it.
And, I get the sniffing church and leaving thing. I’ve been there as recently as last week, actually.
Now, maybe that’s not why you left. Maybe you forgot to pick up the meatless ham from the Herbivorous Butcher and had to grab one before family showed up. Maybe one of your kids over-consumed some Peeps and you had to run out before spewing purple and yellow mallow everywhere.
I may never know.
But I did go to that place of “they must’ve sniffed church and left.” Again, I’m totally cool with that. But I’m also bummed you didn’t get to experience what happened that morning.
Like when The Twins of Franklin opened up our time with the song “Dusty Trails” by Lucius – Dusty trails can lead you to a golden road…
Or when we talked about how being human includes suffering and love – fear and possibility.
Or when we created these beautiful nests out of trash, fabrics, and plants. How we explored the themes of letting go and the possibility of death making space for life through the creation of said nests. How being in community with others helps us in our desire to grow. How we are all meant to fly and create beautiful and powerful things in our lives.
Build – Grow – Fly You can still interact with the art pieces. They’re installed at East Side Neighborhood Services, and they’re there as a community art piece in process – please go and interact with them sometime between now and through Art-a-Whirl!
I want to imagine that you would have really appreciated the morning. I’m sure you’re creating some pretty cool stuff with your lives, and like all of the rest of us, probably dealing with some stuck or dead stuff too.
Regardless, if it was a church sniff-test, I get it. Some people have some real trauma associated with church; others are just like, “Meh, I’m just not into that.” Cool. You do you.
And then I have my Jesus quota folks. Those people in my life, some close and some just judging from afar, who are wondering if I talk about God enough. And, if and when I do talk about this thing some people call “God”, they worry whether I’m using all the conventional or orthodox words and ideas they think they’re supposed to hear.
I’ve been thinking about this dichotomy often as I create Intertwine with others (see other blog post about the struggle). We’re too churchy for the non-churchies and not churchy enough for the churchies.
Fun Fact: I’m a 9 on the Enneagram – the Peacemaker. I’m great at making people feel like they belong, but if I’m moving out of a place of fear, I can become too accommodating, and in doing so, powerless.
As such, I often find myself code switching between the two when talking about Intertwine all while apologizing for not being able to perfectly adapt to either one.
I realize that Intertwine can’t be all things to all people. Maybe we’re not a community for the “sniff and ditchers” or the “just give me Jesusers.” And maybe we shouldn’t try to be. At the same time, I think both sides of the spectrum and everyone in between could find some value in what we’re creating as a community.
We’re creating a community that…
Gathers around big questions, not finite answers…
Believes we are all made of stories, and by listening to one another, are able to learn, grow, and be moved by them…
Is always in process – with ourselves, each other, and around the things that matter to us…
Is committed to living compassionate, empathetic lives…
Last but certainly not least, is seeking what a simple, intentional, and less consuming lifestyle could be like so we don’t completely destroy our planet, each other, and ourselves.
And let me let you in on a NOT so secret secret – these five ways of being in community look a whole lot like the life of a man named Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus is this guy who shows up in a culture where there was an immense gap between haves and have nots. One in which there was a dominant culture that exploited those on the margins and took for granted its own privilege. Through non-violence, creativity, and the power of together, Jesus flips the script. Through his active compassion, he moved people – the privileged and the marginalized – beyond the lie of polarized living and redemptive violence into connection, healing, and possibility.
This is why I believe his is a story worth engaging with.
With that being said, I’m not interested in getting people to “believe in Jesus.” What does that even mean anyway? Too much of Christianity, especially Christianity in America, still reeks of empire. Just as the Roman Empire co-opted the Christian movement and turned it into a tool to control the masses, Jesus is used still to this day as the justification for 11-ton bombs (and the science that creates them, but not climate science…😒), Islamophobia, and bull sh*t bathroom bills of a dominant culture. The Bible (which I see as a collection of poems and stories and a few thousand years of human beings in process – trying to figure out what it means to exist and how to do it well) is called “divinely inspired and infallible word of God” to validate systemic racism and the destruction of our planet for profit. That empire shows up even in “progressive” church spaces in albeit subtle ways (Like “real” prayer only being the “Our Father” but not meditation or mindfulness, or the wonky construct of sacred versus “secular” music.). No wonder people sniff church and leave. I’m with you.
And yet, I’m desperate for community, and even a spiritual community that wonders about what it means to be and about “God”, Mystery, Source, or Ground of Being (and how language is loaded and it fails us yet we stick to the wrestling match…). I’m desperate for a community whose life is oriented around those five ways of being. Maybe you are too…
Maybe you’re not. That’s fine too.
But here’s the deal, my churchie and not so churchie friends and loved ones – the Intertwine community is going to keep doing what we’re doing. We’ll keep bringing people together to figure out how we can be human and how we can do that well. We’ll keep inviting one another to bring our stories and questions and insights, no matter what they are, and we’ll enter into the process together. And we’ll always work to do so with non-anxious ears and open hands.
So, dear family that maybe sniffed church and ditched,
Thanks for listening. Again, I’d love to return your pink stuffed animal creature, and if you want to Intertwine with us in this crazy beautiful life – awesome. If not, we hope you will find other opportunities for community on your journey.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. I promise we’ll make getting your toy back as uncomfortable and manipulative as we can.
Ha! Jk, no we won’t.
We’ll just be glad “pinky” is back with its human.