church, Uncategorized

If you build it, will they come?

So, a few months ago, I went away to the convent (get thee to a nunnery!) and had this crazy idea. An amazing thing happened while I was at the convent, but I have to go back in time a bit before I tell you about it.

I have a PhD. It sits in a frame in my house, and my dissertation sits on a shelf. I have a book deal for my dissertation, an editor that emails me about every six months or so with a polite “do you have anything written for me?” email, but I have no book. Since I finished, I just don’t have any drive to write for free or spend another moment with the people I did my dissertation on. I did my doctoral dissertation on the Christian Right (who I called “Christian Nationalists,” a much more accurate term in my estimation) and their use– or rather misuse– of Christian hymnody. It was the music I was raised on, the music that nourished and nurtured me. The music that taught me just as much about being a Christian, about Christianing as the Bible did.

They were using it to marginalize, to hate, to exclude, and to prepare for battle. A battle with the United States ruling the world. Pretty much I knew when Trump stood in front of his first rally that he would win the election. I told everybody, like Cassandra on the wall. Nobody listened.

A strange thing happened the day after that man got elected. That night, watching the returns, I drank two bottles of wine. That’s not a typo. I started at 6pm and kept drinking until 1 in the morning, where things were absolutely certain. I didn’t even feel drunk. We were down the rabbit hole, there was no going back.

The day after the election, I took my depressed, demoralized, and hungover ass to my church, and I rolled a cart into the doorway and I started giving away coffee and cookies and hugs to strangers. I decided that I was going to start Christianing. As a verb. From that moment forward, I was going to love just as hard as those Nationalists were hating. Radical fucking love (Yes, Jesus knows I swear like a sailor. He recruited fishermen. I have to think that they knew a naughty Aramaic word or two.)

Now, the crazy idea I had at the convent was that I should start a church service. Me. Swear like a sailor, covered in tattoos, flawed AF me. I read all four gospels at the convent. For me the big miracle of the convent was that I started reading again. Since I finished my PhD, I hadn’t been able to read a book from start to finish. In my four days at the convent, I read all four gospels and three other books cover to cover. Then, one morning while I was weeping in the middle of a stream sitting on a rock, that still small voice came to me: “run a church service.”

“Shut up voice.”

“Run a church service.”

Shut up voice.”

“Also, you should finally probably go to seminary.”

“SERIOUSLY FUCK OFF, VOICE.”

I just printed little bulletins for that first lay-led service.

That voice is either the Lord or an idiot.

I’ll keep you posted.

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