After church this morning I came home and sat in my office for a bit and enjoyed the quiet. I took a few deep breaths and closed my eyes and tried to pray. Then I had to go to the bathroom. After that I pulled out a little notebook and wrote a couple of paragraphs about indigestion and how good it felt to be in a room all by myself. Then I came up with this juicy nugget:
“There is no way for me to convince those I love to believe in a thing I barely believe in myself. So the only logical thing to do is keep trying to believe it myself.”
I’m so baffled by this sentence that I decided to share it here, because I think some of you can relate. Some of you might be wondering, like me, should that sentence say, “believe in” or just “believe?” Is faith a set of ideas we commit our lives to, or an actual person we cling to for dear life? Or is it somehow–mysteriously–both? I tend toward the latter as ideas are fuzzy and people have more defined shapes, but the truth is that Jesus is not literally a person I can hug right now. Unless I consider the fact that all the people I know bear his image. Then I guess I’ve got lots of people to hug. The problem is not everyone is open to physical contact with me at all times. I ‘m not even open to that. Ugh, I’m writing in circles again.
I just know that the only thing that calms my heart rate these days is to sit in silence. To read the familiar words I’ve been reading and hearing sermons from my whole life. To grab a pen and scribble down thoughts and questions and hope to God there’s someone up there reading them who cares.
Which is why I’m sending these particular words out to you now. Somewhere along the way during these years that I’ve been writing publicly, you showed an interest. Congratulations! That means I got your info and you got added to this list. If you don’t want to be on it anymore, please let me know and I will delete you. No hard feelings, I promise.
It’s just that I’m not getting any younger and I can no longer not share my words, or not write them when I need to, or worse, throw them out in the wrong places where no one else will read them.
So I’m starting this monthly newsletter and I hope it will be good for all of us. When I’m not writing here, I hope to be working on a new book about finding a more embodied faith. When I’m not working on that, I may come up with an occasional poem, and when I’m not doing any of those writing things, I hope to be working on a new podcast with my friend Anthony Burton, about the importance of racial reconciliation in the body of Christ.
I don’t want to overwhelm either of us, so this newsletter will only come to you once a month, and the poems and other stuff will be shared on my newly updated website, and/or social media.
I’d be thrilled to chat with any of you if you want to respond to this newsletter or something else you see of mine out there in digital spaces. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org (Also, if you prefer to own physical copies of some of the words I’ve penned, please visit the pages on my website where you can purchase such things.)
Until next month, friends, please keep breathing, eating, and going to the bathroom. I look forward to our next interaction