Southpoint News – Week of October 30th, 2019
We’ve been teasing out Paul’s definition of Freedom in Gal. 5 the last 2 weeks in church, creating space for conversation more intentionally in our service than is our normal custom. For me, it’s been vulnerable – rich but outside my comfort zone – to leave behind the safety of a carefully crafted sermon and open up space for multiple voices. How much time do I leave for discussion? What do I do with the material I don’t get through? And what about those unanswered questions that surface in the midst of our morning together that we don’t have time for? I’m figuring it out as I go.
I wonder if you too have found our Sunday mornings vulnerable: rich yet uncomfortable.
The interesting thing is that I had a parallel experience happen with our Roots group this past Tuesday. I was leading what I thought would be a rather curated conversation on Genesis 1 and 2 around questions such as “What do these stories teach us about God? About ourselves? What does it meant to be made in the image of God? What does it mean to live so all life can flourish and thrive?” Big questions, but still rather…safe.
Shortly into our evening, however, it was like a fountain got turned on, and all these hard and uncomfortable and vulnerable questions about faith, life, scriptures, ethics, and existence just started pouring out of their mouths. Big questions. Gnarly questions. Complicated questions. And guess what? I didn’t have the perfectly curated answers. One of my attempts at an answer had so many mixed metaphors that finally we all burst out laughing, and they responded by offering up better answers:) It was beautifully, messy, and vulnerable. I finally kicked them out at 10, an hour after our group usually ends.
I told them, in parting, that their questions honored God, and to keep searching for answers. I told them that my life changed the day I said to God, “I want to see your face: I don’t care what it takes – where I’ll go, what I’ll do – I want to know you.” That midnight prayer under a cold winter sky set my heart on pilgrimage. Asking questions and searching for answers has been part of that journey.
When they left and the house grew quiet, I felt this weird little voice of shame, a hangover from growing up in a conservative church where the pastor was supposed to have all the answers.
So, here’s my confession. As we enter into this season of conversations, there are questions you will ask for which I don’t have a tightly curated answer. I am still wrestling. Still searching for truth, wisdom, and balance in my answers. My answers change as I grow, study, think, pray, suffer, whither, recover, thrive. I am in process. And that’s vulnerable for me as a pastor. Sometimes I’m tempted to come up with an answer, just so I sound like I have it all together. But I think I’d rather be congruent with you than manage my appearance.
Some of these questions are in relationship to my sabbatical. Some of them are theological. Some of them have to do with Southpoint, and who we are becoming as a church. Some of them I hold more loosely and curiously and talk about easily. Some of them are very vulnerable and are hard to converse about unless I feel safe.
As we build our friendship bench, let us name that this is a vulnerable process we are embarking on together. Vulnerability is necessary for growth, and so we can embrace the discomfort together. But vulnerability is also…well…uncomfortable. So you get to choose what you share, and what you don’t. You get to set the pace of your own self-disclosure of the questions and answers you carry in your heart.
I do, however, want to reassure you of this: In the discomfort, God is holding us, the Spirit is guiding us, and Christ is loving us. Our questions and our conversations are holy ground.
“Be patient towards all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are not written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given to you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
– Rainer Maria Rilke
Fall Sunday Calendar
10/20 – Vulnerability
10/27 – ALL OUT –
11/3 – Actions
1 John 3:16-24
11/10 – Responsibility and Accountability
11/17 – Inspiration
11/24 – ALL IN: Christ the King Sunday – Joy
A note from the Leadership Team:
In light of our opening our discussion regarding a proposed sabbatical for our pastor Anne, https://gallery.mailchimp.com
/files/11b76a6f-2413-4254-9bb3-e259a9769625/SabbaticalSPNews.pdf, the Leadership Team would like to hear your responses to this question emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
What are the hopes and fears you carry in regards to Anne going on Sabbatical?
Thank you for your prayerful responses.
Our pledge drive for the 2020 budget year will begin this Sunday. If you are a regular, Sarah McEvoy will have a pledge envelope for you. We will be collecting the pledges for the month of October so we can begin to build our new budget in the beginning of November.
Our donations to date are $76,400 for the year. To meet our projected giving which we based on last year’s pledges, our donations need to be at 75%. We are currently at 70%, leaving a shortfall from our projected giving of $5000. Life is unexpected and circumstances change. If you find yourself in this situation with either an increase or decrease in your income, we understand. You can confidentially adjust your pledge with Sarah for the rest of 2019. Keeping her informed will give us an idea of what adjustments need to happen this year to stay within our budget. We trust in the abundance of God at the heart of all things.
Week at a Glance:
Tuesday @ 7:30 at Anne’s home. 9th grade to young adults
October 16th at the Hardy house.
Bring a pot-luck dish to share that highlights a food you are thankful for this year!
The Fellowship of the Rings:
Next event: Friday the 18th @ Neufelds.
Up and Coming:
Next ALL-OUT: October 27th
We will be meeting in our gathering groups. Not yet in a Gathering Group? Contact Anne
Winter Retreat at Camp Tulahead:
Save the date!!! February 14-17, 2020 (3 nights). Camp Tulahead has given us the OK to reserve the camp, so we are once again on for our winter retreat as a church family!! Stay tuned for more announcements this Sunday!
Have an Announcement? Prayer Request?
If you have an announcement for the newsletter, please send it fully prepared and edited to: email@example.com by Tuesday. If you have a prayer request to share with our prayer chain, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org