“Spirit, lead me where my trust is without borders,
let me walk upon the waters,
wherever you may call me.
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
and my faith will be made stronger
in the presence of my Savior.”

(“Oceans” by Hillsong United)

I am currently attending a little church plant that is built upon the missional movement and upon a model that uses their communities (a hybrid small group/house church/missional team) that meet throughout the week as the main mode of being “church.” Because of this, they only gather as a complete church twice a month (though there are rumors of three times a month). At those gathering, it’s very much like a typical worship service. Coffee at the door, music, teaching. I love that amid the casual and contemporary feel and the louder music, this little church plant always does the Collect, the Psalm Reading, and Eucharist.    Every. Time. We. Gather.

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6 years ago, a man said something to me that would haunt me for a long time. I had dared include this person in a vital discernment process that would involve a move, a church, a future, and everything else- or so it seemed. Perhaps I needed to learn to have better conversation partners. First lesson learned!

This man said to me in my agonizing discernment, “Well, we don’t want to be presumptuous of God.” He said this in reference to me leaving where I was to come to a new place of vocation and call. Looking back, I know this man was struggling with insecurities of his own, which prompted this sentence, but at the time, it exposed me in an incredible insecurity about God.

This phrase haunted me for years. Following me from room to room, from meeting to meeting, from Sunday to Sunday, and eventually when the bottom of life fell out from below my feet, it haunted me from tragedy to tragedy and from one sleepless night to the next. Was I being “presumptuous” of God? Is it “presumptuous” for us to discern God’s call? And if we discern his direction, is it really his direction or is it just us being “presumptuous?” When things went so terribly wrong, this sentence surfaced like stinking carcass beginning to rot in my soul. And rot it did. For years. Read the rest of this entry »

Creating Out of Nothing

August 14, 2013

I am just now finding language for the season of extreme loss and tragedy that touched our lives from November 2008-May 2010. The thoughts that have been locked in my head and heart are finding their way into words. Not all the thoughts or experiences, but many are taking shape in the written and spoken word.

I am also finding that with the written and spoken word, the griefs of the past become at the same time more real and more distant. It seems strange, and yet as I stood preaching with  a congregation a few weeks ago, I was able to offer one small experience in the drowning myriad of experiences of that time in the hopes that someone present might hear what they needed to hear- a story that reaches their current story and reality. What was once too painful to even whisper is now becoming part of the thread of my life. And with language comes the power to own one’s story. I learned long ago that if you do not tell your story, others will fill the space with their own stories- and sometimes they will create stories that are false stories about your experience. From one’s silence, many mistruths can be born. When I heard someone say that to me, I agreed, but I protested internally, “What about the times when language fails? When the matters of the heart are too great and painful to dare breathe into words? What then?” As others spoke my story without true knowledge, I sat by, mute by the experience. And I learned not only the power of speaking to our human experience, but also the incredible burden of responsibility that if we are to speak for others, we must do so with great seriousness, intense accuracy, and careful sensitivity.

I knew then that words would eventually come. And they have. Nearly 5 years in the making. Read the rest of this entry »

Taste of Your Goodness

August 13, 2013

You rang the dinner bell, loud and long,
your hand on your hip as you searched the lowered sun
waiting for my arrival.
How many days did you wait, ring and wait, wait and ring,
while your kitchen cooled and the food grew stale
the table ornate made empty?
And yet, each day, you rang the dinner bell, long and loud,
waiting again for a shadow, a flicker, 
the signs that I might choose tonight to come. 
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