i got back last night from DC and the first tranFORM network gathering. it was a great weekend in all kinds of ways, but of course by far the very best part were the people. such kind, humble, passionate, nutty, real courageous men & women who love Jesus & people & have hope for the church. i won’t be able to recap all of the ins and outs of the weekend, but over the upcoming weeks hope to share what i can here and there. for now, i was reminded that this path that i’ve chosen, we’ve chosen, is a path of descent not ascent. it’s a path into the dark, ugly places in the human experience where we get to see hope & life & beauty in the strangest of places.
and while it’s a lonely path in some ways, it’s not in others–especially when we are connected to other friends-on-the-journey who are passionate and crazy enough to risk their ego, their pride, their educations, their salaries, their time, their hearts, their lives to create places for others to love & be loved.
i cannot recreate the experience for anyone, but i can share a few slices with you. i did the opening session on friday morning, and you can watch it HERE (yes, i’ll never be able to say the word “stud” again without chuckling and i’m going to have to start collecting money in a jar for every time i use the word “hard”, ha ha). the entire session was videoed, and just to prepare you, the rhythm is music, a video from brazil, my piece, about 10 minutes of everyone processing the thoughts, my closing, then some q&a, and then last announcements before the break.
i’d love for you to interact with some of these thoughts, whether you were there or if you are just watching it for the first time. i focused on 4 things we are learning after 4 years of this nurturing the refuge & entering into the wild on missional community cultivation:
- this is a path of downward mobility, of descent not ascent
- there is no us and them, only us
- we must re-define success
- we need networks of support & love
the other main sessions were also streamed, and so over the upcoming weeks if you’d like to be part from afar, check them out:
- session 2 – peter rollins did a deep & powerful piece on faith & doubt. watch here.
- session 3 – anthony smith–who is also on the transFORM team & is an amazing preacher–shared on the church as “hush harbors.” it was incredibly inspiring. watch here.
- session 4 – brian mclaren wrapped up the weekend with stories from africa & some very important reminders to “just do it…” when it comes to cultivating faith communities of justice, mercy & hope. watch here.
over the weekend i was on the panel of 2 workshops–the nuts & bolts of faith communities & ministry in the margins–so i’ll share a few fun stories at some point of both of them.
the bottom line for me is that i was deeply encouraged to meet more dear & dedicated followers of Jesus who are practicing the ways of love in their contexts and continually growing in what it means to “go down” into the dark & low places in this world, across faiths & socioeconomics & gender & a long list of things of other things that separate us. down where grace and mercy and hope pool up in the strangest of ways.
thank you for being on this nutty journey with me; this weekend confirmed some good things inside of me that always need re-confirming, re-affirming, re-minding–this is work worth doing. it’s freaking beautiful. and it’s horribly ugly. it’s a privilege to get to do it alongside of you in heart and spirit and mind–up close and personal here in denver and from far, far away through the weird & wild connections on the internet. God is really fun, really wild. peace & hope to each of you. you bless me in more ways than you know.
i’ll leave you with what i closed my piece with–what i think is Jesus’ heart not just for people individually, but collectively as well:
blessed are communities who are poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
blessed are communities who mourn, for they will be comforted.
blessed are communities who are meek,for they will inherit the earth.
blessed are communities who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
blessed are communities that are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
blessed are communities that are pure in heart, for they will see God.
blessed are communities that make peace for they will be called sons of God.
blessed are communities who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. – Matthew 5:3-10