The church, you see, had been both a home to us and a place we'd been exiled from. Still, we felt this pull, an agony really, to keep her alive. If the doors kept swinging shut on us, we'd be the damn doorkeepers ourselves. Maybe it was a bit haughty of us, definitely a little audacious, and most assuredly dangerous. What if we too became irresponsible doorkeepers? What if in our eagerness to become a place of healing for the wounded, we only inflicted more wounds?
I feel simple. I feel alive. Each moment I look, I see the shifting of the emptiness. I can’t stop staring at it now. Where I once saw darkness, I now see colors. Deep reds and purples. Glistening flesh constantly moving. It folds over itself many times. It shifts. It writhes. It contracts and expands.
But gradually, it dawned on me: everyone speaking there looked just like me. Straight white men. I had a platform— not because of insights, or gifts, or passion— but because I fit the profile. And what about those who didn't? Every time I spoke, I realized, others were paying a cost in the sacrifice of their own powerful insights, gifts, and passions. We were all being impoverished by the loss.
Today, the Sunday before Good Friday, the last Sunday of Lent. The last look inward before all is lost and all is gained even more. Today, in this deep search inward, we dedicated our children. In the midst of this incredible community of misfits we stood with our family and promised to raise our children in love and grace. None of this is easy. None of this is what I expected. All of this is what I needed.
So I put myself back together. Piece by piece, I recovered parts of myself that I had shunned from the very beginning of my self-awareness. Yes, I am queer. And that's okay. Yes, I do want kids someday. And that's okay, too. No, I cannot do it all. And that is just fine. No, I do not have all the answers. And I shouldn't have to. Slowly, I redefined myself in my own image, rather than those of the people around me. I became me.
I grew up with a script and with a stutter. It’s no wonder I started writing in journals as young as six or seven. My voice was dying to get out of me. Very few places, especially for children, encourage finding your own voice. A unique voice is the first thing many religions try to take away - specifically the voices of women, children, minorities, the poor, the non-straight/cis binary, the disabled.
Fear is our way, but Jesus said, "I am the way," and Jesus was love: risky, bold, unabashed, fearless, lionhearted, audacious, intrepid love.
Are we responsible for saving those people? Is that what it means to be your brother's keeper? Shouldn't we only fight for the ones they're disenfranchising? Shouldn't that thinking be contested and defeated? Is love REALLY going to change their hearts, change the world? Can a dialogue really happen with someone who disrespects others so deeply?
I'm tired of trying to fit into the groups who call themselves followers of this Jesus guy. I've tried to get rid of Jesus, but he is always there in my experience. My reality is haunted by his goodness and mercy.
Who is responsible, after all, for setting this planet on fire? Me. And you. Individuals. One at a time. One quiet voice, one tiny heart, one pair of hands. One broken, burdened, impassioned individual after another, becoming in the world all that she was meant to be. A voice. A story. Lived out loud. Rising up. One dream. One vision. One bleeding heart. The revolution has always only ever been small and within. Mustard seeds.
On December 22, 2016 Sojourn Grace Collective met at St. Luke's Cathedral in North Park with lots of children (of course) and incredible music (of course) and loads of coffee (of course) to celebrate Christmas together.
On our 2nd Anniversary we set up a camera, inflated some balloons, put out some sharpies, and asked our people to reflect on why they attend Sojourn Grace.
Their responses, like the disciples, were, "where else can we go?"
Millennials are leaving the local church in favor of other expressions of faith-community. However, what happens after that? Do those alternative expressions having lasting power, or will the movements eventually become an institution?
Here at Sojourn Grace Collective, we celebrate the variety of backgrounds, histories, and perspectives that come through our doors every Sunday morning, as we meet to practice walking in the Way of Jesus.
So what is it about Sojourn that brings all these individuals back, week after week? Why do these Sojourners call this place home?
We asked the collective: What does Sojourn mean to you?
I grin from ear to ear at the community I am now surrounded with. My heart beams with Pride at the life my family has both created and fallen in to. Where we can live free of the fear that clouded our every move four years ago, when our community was not a safe place to speak openly of our beliefs and our doubts.
...express whatever is in your heart about prayer whether it's what you pray for or how you pray or what you believe prayer is.
"Often times I find connections to things when I draw them out that I might not have seen if they were separated by a few paragraphs and bullet points." - Pastor Colby
Inside of a small, red plastic egg was a metaphor that sits on my desk so that I can look on it, everyday, and remember what is inside: nothing that isn't supposed to be there.
They say, "things can't make you happy" and I get it, I really really do.
Sometimes we just need to DO something to express our faith.