Writing with a Purpose

Hey friends! This space is my new blog. Let me tell you what I intend to do with it.

Blogging about things that happen in your life is great. Like a journal, it can be one of those things that helps you get all the crazed thoughts out on page for you to see in front of you… taking a moment to edit, perhaps, for sanity… and then save in draft form, or in a secret corner of the internet so that no one will ever see it again. Braver folk put their everyday lives out in front of the people of the world, asking for feedback, perhaps. “You should have let the coffee cool before drinking it,” or, “I know a great way to clean lint out of that area,” and that sort of thing.

This space is not for that, necessarily… although I always welcome domestic and hygienic advice, God knows. Here are my hopes:

 

1. Keeping interested people in the conversation that will shape SafeHouse Church, and up to date with its progress:

SafeHouse, the church that I and two other families are planting in the Twin Cities, is a project that we’ve been working on furiously now for about a year. This is an exciting time for us. On January 22nd, 2012, we’ll be having our first gathering, and from there, our new community. SafeHouse Church is an experiment that has grabbed our hearts and hopes, challenging us with the need to make a church home where people who no longer fit in existing spiritual communities — including ourselves — can belong.

Along the way, we’ve run into such a number of people who have resonated with that same need. We’ve run into Christians from many traditions who are interested in doing Christianity in a spirit that in many ways, we’ve really lost. This is a Christianity that encourages doubt and questions, that respects and finds its place alongside (instead of against) other faiths, that desires the voices of all people, including LGBT people, that finds loving service and care for the oppressed and untouchables at the core of the gospel of Jesus, that encourages spiritual growth and healing in community, and that speaks ancient wisdom in language and style that is approachable by the people who are around it.

Of course, this kind of Christianity has always been around, but it has often been feared by the most influential and popular institutional churches, and it has had to make its own way. So, I hope to be able to keep all interested parties up to date with how SafeHouse is going! Here, I’ll be writing at times about this exciting experience of planting a church, the theories and theologies and wounds and hopes that have gone into it, and what wisdom we’ve drawn on from many faith traditions to shape a new way of doing church.

 

2. Doing Progressive Theology:

There’s no good definition for progressive theology, but I think the best way to describe it is theology that rises out of communities of many voices, where people ask good, hard (sometimes unanswerable!) questions and see how our worldview and theology affects life. Theology that has both constructive and deconstructive impulses. Sometimes it’s disillusioned, sometimes it’s prophetic, and sometimes it’s healing. I want to write with those of us finding ourselves on the borders of lots of places — we might not exactly be the old guard liberals, though we love their iconoclastic impulses… we’re not precisely evangelical, though we have been captured by their passion for pursuing a relationship with the God of the universe. We’re somewhere in between, and being in that place demands both integrity and openness to discussion. It means curiosity and inclusion of the other, while being willing to be openhanded with our own thoughts and criticisms and constructions.

For my part, I would very much like to share the stream of faith that has most informed and empowered my worldview and relationship with God — LGBT liberation theology. This stream of faith is both incredibly diverse and strongly convicted. It is both experiential/incarnational and aware of the need for an integrated theological worldview of God. And, though people never expect this, it is almost always deeply passionate about the scriptures. I would like to show you what I mean, and share what I am learning, thinking, and questioning. And I would love for some reflections in return!

 

 

3. Chatting about gay community and life, LGBT politics and history, and why it all matters:

I mean, this really is just kind of inevitable. So I hope you enjoy chatting with me about this, as it happens! I think it’s helpful, and fun, and weird, and often quite awkward, and political in all sorts of strange ways, and will at times raise all our hackles and demand some non-anxious presence. And I have to admit, I might not always do this in the best way, so as I’ve done for a while now, I’ll learn as I go. But I deeply value the contribution of the people who have come before me; who paved the way for me to be where I am now. Most people don’t know the sacrifices that transgender, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and many other people have made so that I am able to be in the surprising, ridiculously hopeful position of going to seminary, being a pastor in a church with both straight and queer leaders, and riding a massive social/political/religious wave of integration and mutual respect. We might not always totally make sense to one another, but that’s okay! We’ll work on doing it better together. A future where sexual orientation no longer divides churches, families, and friends, and where we are able to be one “body of Christ” is possible… but we are going to have to work for it and talk about it, because it’s not here yet.

So, if any of these things interest you, please… keep reading. Comment. Write and publish your own thoughts. Send me messages. And if it’s helpful to you, grab my RSS feed and get it sent straight to your reader. Keep in touch!

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