"You are honest like abandoned warehouses coming to terms with its failed success."
I've been writing poetry since 1994 and it has been an amazing literary journey. I get to tap into my imagination on the regular, especially when our creativity seems to vacate our innovative boxes the older we get. I've been blessed to don stages I never dreamed of stepping onto. And I've been honored to publish a handful of books that I'm actually giddy to read.
The pinnacle, however, of my life as a poet is the tremendous blessing of being able to connect with other people in an honest environment.
Poetry lends itself to honesty. Albeit, sometimes, in abstract ways, poetry opens the doors to honestly exploring the many folds of life. Each corner might bring about pain and failure, but the desire to look at these hard turns and perservere through the mess is evident.
As much as I'm buried in my pen and my pad and as much as I'm nose to nose in the next book, I love that I get to peak my head out long enough to cry with our community and to cheer when our city smiles. I adore the fact that I get to share a microphone with other weathered poets looking to project honest struggles without worrry of judgment. And I'm blessed to be welcomed by folks (within the confines of the coffee shops we call home) who wouldn't traditionally open up their arms to a Christian, let alone a pastor.
I wonder sometimes why the church at large isn't this way. Sure, there are pockets of churches here and there who are actually living out the Kingdom, but it seems the majority has steeped itself so deep in tradition that living out godly lives in the 21st Century is nothing short of archaic. I wonder why it seems the church continues to marinate in what once was, rather than taking a long hard look at where God is possibly leading.
Now, I'm not saying the church should shake things up a bit and do things just for the sake of doing something new. I'm not saying the church should compromise the Gospel and partake in "wordly" activities just to be relevant. And, I'm for sure not saying the church should depart from its roots and replant itself in new idologies so the world can appreciate us more.
What I am saying, like the artistics communities I've been blessed to be a part of, is that, perhaps, the church at large should take an honest look at itself and come to terms with the possibility that failure to live for the Kingdom has plagued the movement in our life time. What I am saying is that it's ok to understand that we aren't perfect. There is only One who is perfect. And, the upside is, God knows this. He knows the church isn't perfect. So, all the more to lean on Him. All the more to honestly assess where things have possibly gone wrong and be open to the possibility that we've missed the mark of where God wants us to go.
Because, let's behonest, deep in the corridors of our hearts is a longing for more. There's a deep rooted desire for more of God. There's a nagging sensation for more understanding of Him and how living for the Kingdom truly looks like.
When I read through the pages of The Book of Acts, there does seem to be a huge disconnect between what the early church experienced and what the modern church is currently experiencing today. The early church was all about the community as a whole. It looked for ways to take care of others. It sold all it had to give to those in need. The early church truly relied on God for everything because they knew (not just hoped He would), but knew God would provide. The early churched looked outwardly with the inwardly lens of God in order to usher folks into His Kingdom.
They shared life. They shared the truth. They shared love. So much so that others (those outside the community of Jesus followers) were drawn to this way of living.
The whole point, of course, isn't to go back to the way things were because God doesn't want us to go backwards. He's all about reconciling and redeeming for present and future realities. But, perhaps, it begins with living honest lives, even it means the possibility of realizing we've been "doing" church wrong. It means possibly coming to terms with this and possibly closing up shop on all we've known so we can truly follow God's lead, even it means heading in a direction that's foreign to us.
Will you join me in a journey toward honesty?
*Please note that the writings expressed in our blogs do not necessarily reflect the opinions and position of The Branch, but are the thoughts of each individual writer.