October 3, 2018

Greetings from clergy conference, currently being held at St. Crispin’s Conference Center + Camp. 

Our theme this week is, “How to have difficult conversations; and how to begin conversations of which we are afraid.” It seems easy to say that we don’t have that issue at Resurrection, that we don’t have the problem of miscommunication experienced by other churches; yet, I know there are things that weigh on each of us, things we wish we could discuss but don’t do out of fear. We fear judgement, we fear the possibility of not belonging, we fear that the ‘other’ won’t be able to hear us…the part of us that is truly speaking rather than just the words we’re using.

I want desperately to change this narrative. My hope for our church is that it can be a beloved community in which people have the sense of safety to say that which confuses them, angers them, or plagues their hearts and minds. Conversation does not automatically have to lead to conflict; in fact, it shouldn’t lead to conflict the majority of the time. For some reason we’ve lost the ability to feel secure enough to allow our inner thoughts to escape and be set free, and we’ve lost that ability in the name of comfortability. But church shouldn’t always be comfortable. Jesus certainly didn’t make that his life’s work—to provide a sense of comfort—rather, he made it his life’s mission to proclaim the Word of God, regardless of the difficulties that others would have in hearing his message.

What bothers you? What conversations are we not having concerning church that you’d like to have? What conversations are we avoiding entirely just to ensure peace and stability? I think we’ve come a long way together, thus far, and I’d like to see us be genuine with one another and able to speak our truths without fear. Perhaps we can learn to do that, again. We are real people with real problems and issues; let’s use one another as sounding boards and as sources of perspective that might differ from our own. I think that if we can do that and do it lovingly, we will have a sense of the holy that breaks through our own insecurities and that will move us into deeper relationship with one another and into a deeper relationship with God. And if you’re not struggling with conversations, then perhaps you’re being called to be a holy listener to someone who is. Think on that, this week, and be blessed. See you Sunday.

Fr. Sean+