Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Space



A member of my book club challenged each of us to write a "This I Believe" essay for our December meeting, and several of us actually did it!  We had wonderful essays on the value of traveling to open the mind, of diversity in small towns, public education, and even the value of book club friends.  And, I wrote about my faith in space...


I believe in space…not so much in outer space as in space closer to home.  I believe in room, enough room to move around, stretch out, growing room. Adherents of space are both anti-clutter and anti-confinement. 

I believe every home should have a few empty cabinets, an empty drawer or two standing ready for whatever may come.  Closets stuffed to the gill bring on depression that is alleviated only by a purge.  Goodwill exists for the likes of me.

My deep faith in space makes it difficult to tolerate crowds, crawl through tunnels, work in a cubicle, share a double bed, or submit to an MRI.  Whenever possible, I will always choose the most spacious stall in any public restroom.  My worst nightmare involves anything hinting at being trapped.

I believe not only in physical space but also mental space.  Who doesn’t find delight in a spacious mind?  How does anyone function effectively in this confusing and confounding world without access to open spaces in their mind? I must fairly consistently step out of my beliefs, opinions, attitudes and perspectives in order to breathe, not to mention learn anything new and refreshing.

I believe in spiritual space, wide-open spiritual space.  Perhaps my space craving is rooted in an intense desire for expansion.  I like to wake up each day knowing there is room for more…not more stuff, god forbid, but for more awareness, consciousness, acceptance and yes, even love.

Confinement and clutter shut me down.  Nothing feels better than breaking free of a cocoon, an outdated restrictive belief, a prison of my own making, a dogma that has kept me in chains.  I run from orthodoxy as if it were the pox.

The older I get, the more space I crave.  Space, being tantamount to freedom, leaves Life’s door wide open.  No boundaries.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Cocooning














Scores of churches have embarked upon Advent in preparation for Christmas.  Celebration is in the air.  Lights and music and glitter pop up everywhere.  I, on the other hand, hunker down.

What calls to me this time every year is solitude and contemplation in preparation for New Year’s Day.  Every year, following Thanksgiving, I find myself drawing within, shutting down, and spinning a protective cocoon.  Winter weather is a great facilitator for curling up and hibernating. I have work to do, deep inner work.

Introspection, reflection, observing and watching, waiting and standing back all seem the most appropriate and helpful response to year’s end.  Speaking for myself, Christmas is more a distraction that must be endured.  I do as little for Christmas as I can get away with.   The week between Christmas and New Years is both deliciously somber and sacred. 

I never go out on New Years’ Eve.  It is the night before everything starts over, new chapters are begun, fresh calendars fill with blank pages; everything is wide open.  It has little to do with religion, and everything to do with spaciousness, hope and faith.  I want to be ready.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Leaving church...again


Dear First Christian family

We are withdrawing our membership from FCC but do not want to just "drop out" without saying goodbye and expressing our sincere gratitude for all the love and kindness that has been extended to us the past two years.  December 15 will be the last worship service we attend.

Just over a year ago Robyn wrote the following in her blog:

We stumbled into this little old church in Paris and soon discovered that they are attempting a grand experiment--welcoming anyone and everyone. Based on the half-empty sanctuary on any given Sunday, this experiment has not yet “caught on,” which is unfortunate but perhaps understandable.  There are Democrats and Republicans sitting on the same pew; open and proud heterosexuals sharing a hymnbook with open and proud homosexuals; Bible devotees in conversation with people who distrust the Bible, believers in the virgin birth sharing pot-luck suppers with folks who dismissed that notion years ago.  It’s a strange group!

Every Sunday, Pastor Charlotte spreads her arms across the communion table and says, “This table is open to all.  It is Christ who invites us,” and acts like she means it.  

We still remember how excited we were to find this little church in ParisTX!  We are dumbfounded, however, to learn that “all” at FCC no longer includes Pastor Charlotte.  We are heartbroken.

We wish you all well, dear friends, and hope to see you around town.  We can often be spotted at Nancy’s…

Love
John and Robyn

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Failed



A little more than a year ago I wrote the following:

We stumbled into this little old church in Paris and soon discovered that they are attempting a grand experiment--welcoming anyone and everyone. Based on the half-empty sanctuary on any given Sunday, this experiment has not yet “caught on,” which is unfortunate but perhaps understandable.  There are Democrats and Republicans sitting on the same pew; open and proud heterosexuals sharing a hymnbook with open and proud homosexuals; Bible devotees in conversation with people who distrust the Bible, believers in the virgin birth sharing pot-luck suppers with folks who dismissed that notion years ago.  It’s a strange group.

Every Sunday, Pastor Charlotte spreads her arms across the communion table and says, “This table is open to all.  It is Christ who invites us,” and acts like she means it.  Yesterday, a new member, upon hearing about a hateful comment overheard in a cafĂ©, replied with some exasperation in his voice, “Well until I found this church I would have just condemned that person to hell, but now I’ve learned to just move on over and make room for him at the table!”  We cracked up.  It’s just so much fun!

It saddens me to report that the experiment failed.  Last wee, two days after Pastor Charlotte informed the church elders that she was going to participate in a commitment ceremony for 2 men who have been regular visitors at our church they asked for her resignation.  She, who consistently preached year after year that "all means all" is no longer welcome at the church.  We are heartbroken.


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Larry and John


Tonight we were privileged to witness a commitment ceremony between two friends.    We were all blessed by this amazing evening.

They asked that I share a few thoughts.



Larry and John                                          November 16, 2013


Enveloping, enriching, engaging, enlivening,
The two of you and the rest of us.
We are watching you,
Not to spot slights or missteps but rather to be
Present so that we might share and benefit from
Your journey of discovery and increasing freedom.

You have chosen to begin your shared life
In and amongst us.
How fortunate are we!
We surround you; we lay hands on you,
We embrace you.
The two of you, Larry and John, introduce us
To a wider world, a deeper vision of all that
Love and commitment can mean.
You demonstrate, on our behalf,
What community and family can mean.

And, our gathering around you demonstrates our
Love and commitment to you,
Individually and as a committed couple.
You do not stand alone.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013





Friendly and welcoming falls short of embracing.  Jesus was an embracer.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Undone

I have come to relish the experience of "being undone." Though I fought it for years, being a slow learner, I now know that being undone is a blessing. 

I typically hold on longer than is wise, until Life and Love pry my cramped fingers off the object of my idolatry. And then comes the glorious freedom of regaining movement and sensation in fingers (or a life) that had gone numb.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Where have I been?


I received an email today from a dear friend and subscriber to this blog asking if she had been removed from the mailing list as she is no longer receiving the blog posts.  Has it been that long?  No one has been bumped from the subscription list; I have just been stymied.  Here is a quick update.

After being “unchurched” for several years I made the decision to join a local church here in Paris.  I thought it would be a good way to meet people and build community.  Though I experience many difficulties with traditional Christianity I actually thought I could slip into a local church, remain silent and just be a friendly participant in the church suppers and Sunday worship.  I see you smirking…

There is a church on every corner in Paris, TX.  I suspect we found the most open-minded, openhearted congregation in town.  Though I have failed to remain silent, most of the members have been gracious and kind to me.  And yet, I do not fit.  There is nowhere to go from here—no Unitarian, no Unity, no Church of Conscious Harmony.  I struggle.

I don’t believe the bible is authoritative; I don’t believe God killed Jesus to save you and me; I don’t believe Christianity is the only real or even best religion; I don’t believe gays are sinful, etc.  I not only do not accept these concepts, I find them to be harmful.  So how to explain my sitting in the pew each Sunday? As yet, I can’t explain it.  I am baffled by it.  I am stymied.

The God of my understanding has little interest in church, worship, doctrine, orthodoxy, bible scholarship or even traditional understandings of morality.  God radiates love like the sun radiates heat.  Like the sun, Love does not choose whom to favor and whom to reject; it just radiates.  When we have soaked up enough of God’s Love to feel warm and secure then we can offer it to others.  That’s the whole ballgame. 

So, I’m interested in your thoughts.  You can message me at my Facebook page, Stepping Out with Robyn (feel free to “like” it if you haven’t already).  If you received this by email you can’t reply to he email, but you can comment on the actual blog page at robynwrite@blogspot.com.  How have you been?  Interiorly, where have you been?