Is there a bad reason for going back to church? I was struck by Brene Brown’s confession that she went back to church for the wrong reasons. Actually, I know what she means. She went back to church to try to escape pain and instead found a community to help her endure pain, live with and through the pain, and eventually move beyond pain to a sense of new life.
Pain, as it turns out, along with struggle and hardship and grief, and even death, are part of life. Faith doesn’t help us escape these things but instead redeems them – not takes them away or banishes them to the corner, but instead acknowledges them, grieves over them, and holds onto us in the midst of them. God is not an escape; God is love. And as Brene both discovers and says in the video below, sometimes love weeps.
Can we form communities where we understand that to be alive is to be vulnerable…and that to be vulnerable is to suffer? Can we support our communities in becoming places where our faith empowers us to embrace mystery rather than try to reduce it? Can we be part of communities where we hold onto each other amid hardship rather than strain to move through it too quickly?
This is the kind of community of which I’d like to be a part. At times, to be perfectly frank, it sounds a little scary, because being vulnerable and accepting others is harder than standing off in the corner and protecting myself by criticizing those who differ from me. But one path, though harder, leads to life, while the other…well, not so much.
Hey – I’m posting this video today in part just because it’s a great piece from one of my favorite authors, but also because Brene Brown will be at St. Philip the Deacon Lutheran Church in Plymouth, MN, this Thursday talking about “Faith and Daring: The Courage to Be Vulnerable in Life, Love, and Parenting” and I thought folks near the Twin Cities might want to come. (You can find more information here.)
Brene’s new book, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, is at the top of this week’s New York Times list of bestsellers. I’ve ordered it, but not yet read it, but if it’s anything like her previous books and talks, it will be great.
I pray that you experience God’s love tangibly today, and I hope you can share that love with another. Blessings on the places where you need – and the world and those around you need you – to be vulnerable.
Notes: 1) If you are receiving this post by email, you may need to click here to watch the video.
2) This is another great video by The Work of the People – check out their stuff when you have a chance.