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#BelovedCommunity

Hashtag my trauma
Publicize my drama
Go ahead, paparazzi me and my mama.

Don’t understand
The supply and demand
For our vulnerable blogs
And sensational vlogs
Voyerism or loneliness?
My addiction to the blue screen
My thumb scrolling fast and mean,
A desire to know and be known
Yet the tandem desire to be left alone

Get one mention in Sunday’s sermon
And his/her/their pain goes viral
Tweeting for a few days
But what’s the homiletical plot?
Does the preaching change the lot?
Did we give an altar call,
eyes closed,
heads bowed,

Alleviate affliction, humble the proud, did we end with the cup and the bread, somehow praying for the sick and remembering our dead?

Did you have a moment of reflection for their rejection,

Did we have a what next, a call to action?

Is anyone on their feet, or is it social media reactions?
Am I the hands and feet? Or the typing fingers of the body,
Will we see each other face to face and meet?
Will we let ego keep us separated and haughty?

Or is the virtual perception, my new reality, our only connection.

Maybe I need the church to help me feel,
Your blog to help me heal,
But maybe and I think you know it, too,
We need to touch and pray like we used to do,
Then go out and serve
Instead of remain
Impotent outside of a web domain
Nothing wrong with the internet
But human contact Just might yet
Be the way we were meant to be
Somewhere inside of the beloved community

Unexpected Gifts

This past June I had the pleasure of attending the Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly meeting. It was a fantastic experience. From the moment I arrived in San Jose I felt a sense of deep connection to the people around me. These unknown individuals and I not only share a common faith, we share something more a connection based on the way in which we experience and express that faith. It was wonderful.

On that first Sunday I sat in a sports arena at San Jose State University and looked around at the diverse collection of Presbyterians gathered for worship. The songs we sung were familiar and comforting. The liturgy spoke to my soul. And I was thrilled to be in this enormous gathering of Presbyterians, to experience church. I left the service feeling incredibly blessed to have been present for something so special.

Shortly after we left a few friends began discussing the problems they had with the service. As seminarians they had fascinating critiques, most of which I thought were right on target. While the worship was good, maybe it hadn’t been great. It was quite possible that the music was a bit excessive, and well, the liturgy had some low points. So why had it spoken so clearly to me, to my place? Read more