First published for Echoes from the Edge for the Beatitudes Society
My mom tells the story that when I was a child I would often come into a room, bouncing up and down, and tell her, “Mom, Mom, I have the best new idea!” I would then proceed to describe my business plan for selling fresh-brewed mint tea at the end of the driveway, or sketch out how to set up a full-fledged post-office in the living room for all the family communication needs.
As an adult, when I come into a meeting room, or into a conversation with a new colleague, I have learned to control myself from bouncing up and down. But I am still filled with that entrepreneurial spirit, and drawn to others for whom creativity and innovation bring excitement as well.
When I look at our current cultural landscape, it is clear to me that the world is changing and that the church is changing. Change can be unsettling or unknown, and we can become paralyzed by it. Or change can call us to our creative and courageous selves. Change can lead us to re-imagining church, to inventing new ways of encountering faith community, and to being prophetic in the work of seeing all people as precious children of God.
It is that courage and passion—joined with entrepreneurial spirit and deep faith—that I see in the faces of the Beatitudes fellows and in the staff and supporters of The Beatitudes Society. I see people who are actively wrestling with the realities of the culture we are living in and being present in the church in transition, while holding an acute awareness of the culture of the communities and world around us. And I see a community that is leveraging opportunities to weave these conversations together, combining the church and the public square—the life of faith being a life active in the world.
It is my honor to be joining this team and the network of people who share a passion for this vision, and I look forward to engaging in this work together. And sometimes I may just have to bounce.
Yesterday I had the delight of being able to say, “this is my second week at the Food Pantry.” The last few weeks have been overflowing with first after first as I get settled into this new home and city, school, internship, and work. Each first could warrant a post or two in themselves, as each overflow with a wealth of interesting things to reflect on. But rather than just never posting on my blog again, frozen in how many posts I could write, I’ll give you a few glimpses.
First days of getting to know the area:
- Hiking and walking and running near my home and experiencing the dusty beauty of the trails and the incredible views around the Bay.
- Discovering that I have some city driving muscles to build and thanking all that is good for google maps GPS on my phone which has been my constant companion in the car and on foot.
- Wandering around Berkeley and San Francisco and discovering nooks and crannies.
- Learning the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) system and getting on and of the right and wrong trains.
- Discovering that the gem of the Botanical Gardens within walking distance of home.
- Enjoying the beach, and the redwoods, and the mountains, and the parks, and the cities.
First days as an intern at Saint Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church and The Food Pantry:
- The honor of working with some seriously stellar human beings on the staff.
- Serving in the Food Pantry and getting to know a beautifully eclectic community that comes together to feed and be fed every week.
- Worshiping with dancing saints above and dancing saints around and experiencing embodied liturgy.
First days of school:
- Now being a distance student at Earlham School of Religion and experiencing the education through the online lens.
- Being in-person at Swedenborgian House of Studies and soaking up the conversations and joy of the in-person connections.
- Remembering how much homework comes with classes and wondering where that’s going to fit in my busy year!
First day of work at the Beatitudes Society:
- Appreciating how this job found me and what a good fit it is.
- Diving into a crash-course on what the job entails and appreciating the network of people I will be working with.
- Excitement about being part of an organization that is focused on equipping emerging entrepreneurial faith leaders to create new models for vibrant church life and the pursuit of social justice.
My prayer for this year…that I am able to stay present and engaged in this overflowing bounty and find breath and balance in it all.