Me and boxes

Just for the record, I’m not adverse to boxes if they are covered in pretty paper, tied up in fancy ribbons and have great gifts inside of them for me, specifically.  Other than that, boxes and I don’t get along too well.  We use boxes for moving (just been there, done that and never want to see another cardboard box in my life), or people-size boxes called “cubicles” or “sensory deprivation chambers” for good hard-working folks to be cooped up in 2,080 hours per year (certainly that will make them more productive); or even bigger boxes which we call “churches,” to sort groups of people into belief systems, doctrines, dogma, and tradition.  Then there are metaphorical boxes used to label people and keep others from thinking too hard about what a person might be like apart from their job, clothes, economic status, race, color, sexual orientation, tatoos, piercings, married status or car they drive.

My least favorite box is the box we put God in.  I recognize that we, as humans (and I am not exempt – despite the pedestal people have occasionally tried to put me on), have a deep, inherent desire to connect to Transcendent Reality, the Source of Life, the Ancient One, Beloved, God, and so we attempt to define, explain, quantify and qualify this experience.  In other words, we analyze, rationalize, categorize, and manipulate God into a box. The reality is that Infinite Love is greater than any box, or all boxes.  God is much bigger than anything we can possibly dream or envision.

At Sacred Journeys we want to take God out of the box – or at the very least push the walls out a bit, or maybe even knock one or two down.  We want to learn new things so that our understanding of God, and of ourselves, deepens.  We want to try new things in worship to expand our experience of the Divine.  We hope to have a diverse, inclusive, welcoming community.  It’s a huge undertaking.  But with the unpredictable, un-box-able, life-giving Spirit walking with us, anything is possible.  We’ll just keep trying.

~Kaye

Who are we?

A couple of times in the last week I’ve had to answer the dreaded, yet socially-acceptable, question, “So, what do you do?”  I imagine for many of you that question isn’t such a big deal.  However, I’ve come to realize that my answer sounds a bit insane. “Well, I’m teaching adjunct classes at Carthage College in the fall and (here I’m tempted to cover my mouth with my hand and mumble a bit) I’m starting my own church.”  I mean, really, who starts their own church?  Typically those with a very rigid, fundamentalist, Bible-thumping, going-to-hell theology.  So, very quickly I follow up my statement by declaring that we are an “inclusive, progressive Christian church.”  Next they are asking what that means and my short, sweet, crazy answer ends up closer to a dissertation.

Seriously, though, what does it mean to be an inclusive, progressive Christian church (aka. spiritual community for those of us with an aversion to the “church” word)?  I truly thought that “inclusive” was self-explanatory, but perhaps it is such a foreign concept in the church that it needs explanation.  In a nutshell it means that every person is valued and affirmed as a child of God.  We don’t care what your religious or political background is, what your family structure looks like, or whether you are black, white, green, purple or any other color.  No matter your mental or physical ability, age, sex, sexual orientation or gender itdentity, profession, vocation, economic status, race or planet of origin, you are welcome to participate fully in this community. We will not condemn you based on your past, your present, your marital status, who you love or who your favorite football team is.  That is what we mean by “inclusive.”  Make sense?

Progressive means that we have a theology based in love, not in fear.  Progressive means that my sermons are not hell-fire and damnation, nor will they encourage you to feel guilty. Our services will not require you to admit to being a miserable, rotten sinner.  And our learning opportunities are geared toward thinking, analyzing, asking questions and engaging God from different perspectives.  Progressive means we look at scripture seriously, but not literally.  Honestly, it’s a lot more work to do it this way, but a lot more fun.  We look at scripture from historical, cultural, literary and metaphorical ways.  Then we also allow our own experience and reason, as well as current knowledge, to help us interpret scripture in a way that can inform and guide our lives today.  (See our “We Believe” page, too.)

To me, progressive is also a dynamic word suggesting change and evolution.  Our goal is to progress toward a deeper understanding of the God of love, of ourselves, and of the sacredness and interconnectedness of all of creation.  Come, join us.  Our next worship service is Sunday, July 31st, at Roma Lodge in Racine, Wisconsin.

~ Kaye

An amazing beginning…

God bless all of you who joined us for our first worship service yesterday.  With 79 people there, the crowd alone surpassed our expectations and hopes.  But the truly amazing part was the joy.  Person after person told me how nice it was to see people smiling, to feel the energy that brought goose-bumps to some arms, to sing with feeling again. I think many of us had forgotten what that looked like and felt like. 

I am constantly shocked at how dysfunction can become normative.  As humans we apparently do what we need to do to get through difficult, painful, dysfuncational situations, and often times that means shutting down to some extent.  We operate as best we can in the awkward, uncomfortable places in our lives, until at some point we forget how good it feels not to have to tip-toe around other people, or sublimate ourselves, or bite our tongues.  Only when we finally break free of those dysfunctional places do we realize how much they had become the new norm for us.  And that, in my opinion, is a little scary.  It keeps us in unhealthy situations longer than we should be. When that “unhealthy situation” is in church, it takes an even greater toll on our souls and we are tempted to pull away from God or the church or anything that even resembles “church.”

There must be a way to “do” religion in a much healthier, non-spiritually-abusive way.  And I’m bound and determined to try and find it.  I invite you to walk with me, to create a spiritual community based in love, inclusivity and compassion.  It may sound crazy and idealistic, but it is what God is calling me (and I believe many of you) to do.

~ Kaye

Our first worship service is upon us…

It is hard to believe that our first worship service is upon us in four days (July 10th, 9:30 a.m. Roma Lodge, Racine).  I’ve been diligently trying to create the perfect service, yet I know that isn’t possible, nor even necessary.  Nonetheless, I’m sensitive to the undercurrent of feelings as we begin this journey into the unknown.  We’re excited to be realizing a dream… a place where we can, without shame or concern, be exactly who we are and proclaim a God of love, not fear or judgment or law.  At the same time, we’re a little bit scared to be doing something new.  Plus, we’re grieving what we’ve left behind, and trying to heal the parts of us that have been broken in the process.

In the midst of this swirl of emotion and feeling, I know that God is present.  I know that the Spirit is leading and guiding us, and if we give her room to move, she will breathe life into us.  Creation and birth are often messy, but beautiful and sacred at the same time.  In our birth as a unique spiritual community, we are looking out into a new world with fresh eyes and hopeful hearts.  There is much to look forward to as we grow into this new creation and I trust that God will bring us all we need when we need it.  Hope to see you Sunday.

~Kaye

A new journey begins

Sacred Journeys Spiritual Community is an inclusive, progressive Christian community which exists to honor and encourage each person’s spiritual journey with God. Together we will work toward wholeness through worship, learning, social justice and mission. (Our Mission Statement)

On Sunday, July 10th, we will begin our journey together as a new spiritual community.  Call us a church, if you will, but we are attempting to shed the trappings that seem to come with that word.  Instead we claim for ourselves a vibrant, alive, free, dynamic, holistic mindset that is in this world, but not of this world.  It’s a challenge because we are trying to create something for which there appears to be no model.  In fact, to outside appearance, we may look more like a church than not.  However, the Spirit moves within us showing us new paths and new ways and we are ready to explore and grow.  We readily admit that we are a work in progress and we invite you to come and dream with us.  There is no limit to what the power of God’s love can do.  Explore our website, contact us, join us on Sunday morning… we are just beginning, but we are excited!