This Week at Trinity, Beamsville
Friday, February 11, 2022
This week I experienced two very unusual things. One was a reluctant, albeit long overdue decision, and the other felt like a lovely opportunity. Both felt like a refreshing change. Read on for more about this odd window to my world.
First, the decision. It’s not as dramatic as I’m making it sound, although I certainly did it with a flourish of resolve. I blocked someone on social media. What’s so bold about that, you ask. Nothing, I suppose, and probably the opposite of courage, but it was a first, and freeing at that. I’ve unfollowed folks before. I’ve unfriended once before. Unfortunately, in this case, the vitriol was still seeping through, because of shared acquaintances. It doesn’t feel like there’s any space for constructive engagement right now (we’ve never known each other well to begin with), and I’m unable to forget what’s popped into the comments. The last push came on Tuesday, with yet another lie, strung together with venom about evil leaders, innocent protest, and an image of a very White, triumphant Jesus lighting the way. I know every ideology is layered and complex, but I saw those images and read those words against the bewilderment of our Ottawa-based daughter, whose visible-minority, mask-wearing friend required police protection to get out of that downtown. Whatever the range of intentions may be, in that blockade or elsewhere, I had to declare some kind of pseudo-boundary; to say no, however quietly, to hate disguised as faith.
The lovely opportunity this week – not at all spurred by the above, although helping me through it – was writing my monthly report to church Council. They haven’t seen it yet because, somehow, I’m a full week ahead of my normal, usually last-across-the-submission-line, schedule. Council may fall off their chairs in surprise but yes, it’s written already. It’s all good. I was simply motivated then launched into the report by a book list accumulating before me. From last week’s ‘Cup of Hope’ conference, there are 4 texts that I would love to see in circulation with Council. They’re reading about this little wish of mine, same time as you, here and now, but maybe that’s appropriate, too. Maybe all these texts – all about congregations, positive change, and opportunity – will become a congregation wide reading club, of sorts. Time will tell. I know you’re more than up for the moment.
So here I am disconnecting from someone, on one small access point, maybe just to make an internal point; all the while asking you, as leaders and a whole community of faith, to reconnect with the bigger picture of your identity, your shared calling, in a world of competing rhetoric. I hope those aren’t too contradictory. In my head, the latter has the power to eradicate need of the former. What if, I ask myself. What if Christian communities like this one could find new ways to speak boldly, clearly, lovingly, over and above the din of harm? What if change became heralded again, as a powerful, grace-filled movement of God, by God, for the good of all God’s people? What if we reinvested in this privileged and so often underestimated space of local transformation, with far-reaching implications? What if…
With love to you all, and belief in who you are together,
“The whole message of the Christian scripture is based in the idea of metanoia, the change of heart that happens when we meet God face-to-face. Even a cursory knowledge of history reveals that Christianity is a religion about change.”
(Diana Butler Bass,