So when the computer system went down at work on Monday morning I spent a few minutes scribbling a stack of little paper notes with circles and arrows and nothing resembling paragraphs so much as short lists, underlined, with exclamation points.
And now it is Monday evening and I am trying to figure out what in Creation I meant. Something happened. Something happened. Something is happening – right now, in the world. Shifting. In a powerful way.
I forgot to bring my notebook downstairs to paste these little scraps of paper into. It’s been about a year; I need to get a new notebook. The first one is almost full, if I recall correctly.
I have not written much on the blog this week because I have, frankly, been absorbing so much so quickly that I have not had time to process any of it. There is a great chaotic salad of “missional church” and “great awakening” and intersectional “-isms” and living into the potential of the beloved community while living with the reality that we will unavoidably fuck stuff up, because we are all human and that is what humans do, and the vital beautiful necessity of getting beyond the broken and the breaking to let the water of possibility gush through the gaps in the dam…
Iteration at scale is a theme here: the fractal complexity of this beautiful broken world. Every one of the subjects that I can think of, they all iterate.
Start somewhere. Take class issues, economic accessibility – GA is a beautiful thing but the price tag for convention fees, lodging and airfare can eat an entire month’s pay for someone in a low-wage job. That’s why the young people don’t go, that’s why the working-class people don’t go. That’s why their voices aren’t heard as loud and as clear as those of the professional-class retirees who have the resources – time and money – available to fly somewhere and spend a week at a convention. Internet helps to level that, but it’s not a perfect solution either. Technology, like everything else, costs money.
That’s an issue of economic inequality just within our denomination / movement. But the same thing iterates – wealth disparity between regions of the country, between nations of the world; and in the other direction, down to disparity between congregations in the same area or between individuals within a community. We – the iterated we – need to get over our squick and talk about money and how our current economic systems fail each of us and all of us.
There have been some powerful conversations about this over the last few days. The challenge is to avoid “us-versus-them,” to avoid sliding into the vortex of Those People are Doin It Wrong, because the only way out is through and the only way through is to fix our compass on the idea that we are all in this together, yes, even Those People.
…yes. Even those people.
There were so many powerful speakers this year, so many resonances and intersections; I was not present on site but I was present online as much as I could manage. Except when I made a point of being physically present at church, because we were experimentally livestreaming from GA, with mixed success. Mixed success, because we had spotty internet which made it hard to follow some of the services.
It was also a mixed experience for me, because in a pew watching the big screen (okay, the projection on a wall) I was a silent, passive observer – but when I am on my own computer, I’ve got the speaker in my ear and I’m flipping between the livestream chat box and FaceBook and Twitter, typing away in any of these conversations as the spirit moves me, connecting with people who could be anyone, anywhere, we of the pseudonyms and handles and anonymous guest numbers. (I know nothing about you but your time zone and your story, Guest309, but I pray that the conversation you are worrying about goes far better than you expect.) It is the paradox of technology that online, alone in my basement or bedroom, I am connected to a far wider and more diverse community of souls than when I get off the computer and go be with people.
There is more. There is more. This is the unzipping of one small page of notes. I have more.