After Mars Hill, Step 1

I’ve been captivated by an ongoing podcast series called The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill, centered on pastor Mark Driscoll and the Seattle based, now defunct megachurch called Mars Hill.  The creator and host, Mike Cosper said that there would be 12 episodes in total; I’m writing this after the 6th.

I found myself in this story in unexpected ways – not as much in the wild ride that is Mark Driscoll – but more in the surrounding context that allow churches like Mars Hill to thrive and quietly ignore warning signs. If you haven’t heard the podcast, skip these posts because I won’t make much effort to summarize. Rather than simply “review” the podcast I decided to incorporate some of my personal church journey as well – and ask a few questions along the way.

What was your experience listening to this podcast series?

What parts of your story connected to this one?

Continue reading “After Mars Hill, Step 1”

Whose Heritage?

[based on research by Southern Poverty Law Center]

This was originally published a few years ago but recent events – repeated events – are causing me to dig in again, and I know many of you are too. When I take the short-view of Race in America – this week, this year, this decade – I respond with words like, “Shocked”, “Surprised”, and “Where did this come from?”.  With those responses, I no longer need to tell you my skin is white. You already know. 

Because none of this is a surprise to People of Color, as I’m hearing time and again.  My surprise doesn’t mean it wasn’t happening, it means I wasn’t listening. The re-post below (with some editing) written after a 2017 Unite the Right rally at a confederate memorial in Charlottesville, shows but a few more strands that look different when seen as part of the whole.  At least, I went into it thinking it was only a few strands… Continue reading “Whose Heritage?”

The Connecting River

As she drives from Atlanta, away from a city church in the city lights, the darkness frames a distant memory: stars.  Not just the dippers, but “stars between stars, a virtual curtain of stardust upon which the larger constellations were hung.” She’s following these stars to a one-room white clapboard church where she will become its first female rector.  She’s also driving away from a certain striving – which it turns out, will follow her anywhere.

LeavingChurchThis beautiful book by Barbara Brown Taylor (BBT) offers a rare transparency from a person inside the clerical robes.  The countryside speaks to her faith. Its pages are full of spiritual honesty and earthy appreciation, as if Henri Nouwen were on a nature walk with Mary Oliver. Continue reading “The Connecting River”

After It Ends

Yoga class, late sun in the window, glowing onto my face. I’m at work, of all places, in a bright conference room with chairs pushed to the walls. The instructor’s voice is quieting now. Lying back in Savasana pose, a screen of sunlight across my lower eyelashes is more blinding than enlightening. Squinting, I see the Sycamore trunk outside is dappled with patches of color like an oil painter’s melancholy palette.

It’s an ending, he is saying, every new beginning is. Yoga is the balance of opposites, and there is no moment like this one. As this practice ends, the rest of the evening begins, he says, and think about how you will live it.

To me, it’s bigger than an evening. I’ve been told I have just three months Continue reading “After It Ends”