Friday, August 26, 2011
I really wanted to make this blog post one line long... because all I can think right now is, "THANK GOD for family." I live all year-round in the progressive haven of Berkeley, and it still surprises me that when I get together with folks from OnFire and MOSAIC I feel like I'm back in a home I didn't even notice I was desperately missing.
At the Young Adult forum at Sing A New Song, we talked about the hopes we have for the future of the church, and how we use biblical stories to sustain us in that work. To be honest, I had a hard time answering that question. I realized that I have so little that sustains me in my work changing the church.
I think we underestimate the need for close, like-minded, deep and abiding friendships. At the Wesley Seminary graduation this May, Kenda Creasy Dean talked about the huge number of protestant clergy in the United States who say that they do not have even one close friend. Religious leadership can be a lonely road. But after the opening worship service this evening, as I watched folks run into the open arms of friends and loved ones they hadn't seen in far too long, as I watched the smiles on the faces of new friends, as I watched groups of people disperse and dive into conversation and laughter, I could feel hope growing in our midst. It dawned on me that I couldn't possibly have a chance at doing this work without these folks. God sent the disciples out in twos for a reason: we were never meant to go this road alone.
I wish that all of you who are reading this post could be here with us in Ohio. I wish you could have heard Jennifer Battiest Neal preach this evening about righteous anger at the church and about forgiveness. I wish you could have talked about the biblical narrative of Rahab and our hopes for the church with Eric Burton-Krieger and Brad Corban this morning. But most of all, I wish for all of you the sense of family I get when I'm at gatherings like this. How can we possibly expect to go on about our prophetic work without this kind of support? So get on the phone. Write a letter. Make a connection. Reach out. I promise, you can't do this work without family... and we're all here with open arms!!
Jamie Michaels is a third-year seminary student at Pacific School of Religion, a candidate for ordination in the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference, a self-proclaimed Methodist super-nerd, and a passionate justice-seeker.