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.