Skip to main content

The Church With Heart

The Poor Lazarus at the Rich Man's Door,
James Tissot, Wikimedia Commons
The Church With Heart has a heart full of love for not only its members, but for the people outside its doors. Because this is what Unitarian Universalism is all about -- it's about having faith that love is infinite, undying, and there's plenty to go around for all of us, so we need to love one another within the church, and then take that love outside the church because Lazarus is right outside our gate, starving for our crumbs, and even our crumbs are valuable because the Lazaruses outside our gate are starving for acceptance, for nourishing food for their minds and souls, for a listening ear, for relationship, for purpose.

Yes, purpose. Another word for that is mission. And here's the thing - a church doesn't have a mission. Do you hear me? A church does not have a mission, a mission has a church. The Church With Heart is willing to go out and track that mission down so that they can attach themselves to it and be claimed by it. It's scary stuff, mission, because once that mission has adopted you, once you both have realized you are the church for it, and it is the mission for you, it begins guiding you in all sorts of directions, maybe even strange and dark alleys. Mission takes you on adventure, and adventure is wild and joyous and thrilling, but the one thing adventure is not is "comfortable." Mission shoves us out of our comfort zone because there's something bigger, another place we need to get to, and Mission understands that life will be better for all of us once we get there, so just hang on to your hat and enjoy the ride.

Time is precious, and fleeting, and running out, right now. Don't be a church content with maintaining a community of like-minded people where everyone gets along, because there is a fierce urgency that comes with our call, our commission, to experience and create that holy and wholeness-filled Beloved Community, right now.

Lazarus is waiting.


Popular posts from this blog

Don't Trust Your Instincts, or, "Well-Meaning People Can Exacerbate Big Problems"

My evangelical friends talk about being "convicted." That moment when you hear or read a message and like an arrow, it dives into your heart, and you know that you have been guilty, and you have some growing to do. At the very beginning of my learning about Bowen systems theory, the professor was laying out the basic idea: that we all feel anxiety, and when we do, we act (often in unhealthy ways) in order to lessen our anxiety. And in an unhealthy system with emotionally immature people -- a family, a business, a church -- one person's anxiety can trigger the anxiety of others. Here's a great primer on that. Really great. Like, watch it 20 times in a row. Or every morning as you drink your coffee. (I'm not kidding. I think your life would be better. Consider it a spiritual practice.) So back to my conviction moment. The professor went on to talk about how when we see someone who is "vibrating" with anxiety, our instinct is often to rush over,

The Most Controversial Thing I'll Write All Year

Back when you were a kid, you learned a lesson. It was wrong. And it's time for you to unlearn it. You learned that you were responsible for other people's feelings. Not that you should care about other people's feelings. (You should.) Not just that you should be sensitive to other people's feelings. (You should.) But you were taught that you were actually responsible for other people's feelings. It happens in almost all homes, even the loving ones. In abusive homes, it's more blatant. If Dad is unhappy, you get hit. So you learn that it is actually your responsibility to keep him happy, or there would be consequences. But even in non-abusive homes, it happened. If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.  You are not responsible for other people's feelings. That's their job. And in fact, you are crossing their boundary if you try to control their feelings. They get to decide how they feel about something, not you. They may decide that you

Me and My Collar

You may run into me on a Friday, in my neighborhood, so it's time I let you know what you might see. When I was doing my required unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE), my supervisor suggested that any of us who came from traditions where a clerical collar was an option, take one "collar week," to see how we were treated, as opposed to wearing regular professional clothes. After a couple of days, I joked to the Catholic priest, "How do you manage the power?" In regular clothes, I would walk into a patient's room, and it would take about 5 or so minutes of introductions and pleasantries before we could really get down to talking about their feelings, their fears, the deep stuff. With most people, as soon as that clerical collar walked in the room, with me attached, they began pouring out all the heavy stuff they were carrying. I was riding the bus back and forth every day, and though not quite so dramatic, the collar effect was alive there, to