Monday, November 1, 2010

November Newsletter Column

Today I was driving on Pacific Coast Highway to a meeting at another church. When out of the blue, the woman driving next to me failed to notice that her lane was ending. Rather than attempting to yield and get behind me, she decided to accelerate, to squeeze in front of me and make me slow down to let her in. Well, I was running late, I was angry. Before I knew it, I was gesticulating like a fool, and lets just say neither my tone of voice, nor my language respected her inherent worth and dignity.

A few miles later I arrived at my destination, still angry, huffing really. As I walked in, my car betrayed me. The peace-sign bumper-sticker nearly leapt out and slapped me across the face. I had to laugh at myself. How often do we not live up to our best selves? It’s a great comfort to know that even when we don’t live up to our ideals, there’s still a community that embraces us.

A few weeks ago, we showed a wonderful film at the Fellowship about some of the intense challenges of parenting in the 21st Century. Most of the people attending were from the wider community, but a few of our members were there. After the film there was this moment of relief, a moment when parents could admit to one another how overwhelming, difficult and frustrating parenting can be. And how they knew they had made some mistakes. All those things that parents aren’t supposed to talk about were suddenly no longer taboo.

My driving experience, and that window of parents supporting one another reminded me of something. It is crucial that we have a place to come not only in our glory, but also in our failures. No one is perfect. Our congregation, like many, has some of the most accomplished and educated people around. You all amaze me. But we are all human. We all have hurts; we all make mistakes. To build real community, the kind of community that we each long for, we have to build it with our whole selves, one beautiful and flawed person at a time.


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