Saturday, July 16, 2011

Come to Me

Here's a little song I wrote to accompany my sermon at Peace Community Church a couple weeks ago. As you might figure out via googling/sword drills, it's "on" Matthew 11:25-30. I'll post the chords here, mostly for my own future reference, and if you'd like a recording let me know and I'll link you to the appropriate google doc.

"Come to Me"

They say, 'it's not worth all the effort'
they say, 'what are you gonna do?'
they say, 'what are you thinking?'
'It cannot be changed, at least not by you.'

This life has been getting you down
and you're at the end of your rope
when all your plans add up to nothing
the Spirit will give you a little more hope
(she'll say:)

Come to me, all who are weary
and I will give you rest, rest
Come to me, all who are weary
and I will give you rest, rest

This life has been getting you down
this life feels like more and more pain
but the walk gets deeper and stronger
and you find rest out in the reign

You've been doubting the Lord
You've been wrestling with the word
It's not bad to trust and obey
but is it better to argue, is it better to say:


How can the struggle feel like the dancing?
How can the mustard tree feel like a nest?
I don't know how, but this is what I'm preaching
when I trust her the yoke feels like the rest

They say: there's qualifications
to keep out the sinner and the liars
but what he says about the peace of the beloved:
you don't have to be anything but tired


This is what you say to the terrors
this is what you say from the pit:
just one battle is not what we're here for
and the only struggle that we lose is the one that we quit

they are trying to break you
they would love it if you would just burn out
it would be better for the haters if you gave up,
so please listen to my Jesus longing shout:


The Spirit tells us that there's justice bubbling up now
She tells us that we can and we should
such promises that carried on our forebears
she reminds us that they are all still good

So what are you doing in your church or your vigil?
what are you saying in your preaching or your play?
Please remember, whatever else you're doing-
may you make a safe place, and to the people say:


Friday, July 08, 2011

okay to be gay/ thunder

Today at the AWAB member's meeting, we had a couple of young women join us, high-school-age participants in the youth programming at the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America summer conference. At one point, we broke into small groups by denomination: Alliance of Baptists, American Baptists, and so forth. The youth didn't have any particular denominational affiliation, so my friend Francis and I sat and talked with them. They talked about how many young lgbtq youth in their schools and neighborhoods face bullying and violence, about how some of their lgbtq friends were afraid to even leave the house because of threats of violence. And the church is seen, in their world, as complicit in all of this, if not supportive of it. On the one hand, it was pretty heart-breaking to hear all of this, and on the other hand it was so exciting to hear these two young people talk about their energy and passion to change things. We began to talk about what they wanted to do, about ways we could work together, about a vision of sharing a map, proclaiming a web of places that would welcome queer youth. They told us that they didn't know their were groups like AWAB before this week, didn't know there were churches that would welcome all young people. The two young women told the gathered group that, where they're from “Everybody knows that God hates gays.”
Well, they kept strategizing. By the end of the meeting, they asked if they could tell their friends, their fellow students, that people of God loved them no matter their sexuality. The gathered AWAB membership immediately voted to authorize the students to speak with our blessing, and to instruct the board to create a way to officially support their efforts.
At the end of the meeting, I left excited to hear more about their efforts. I expected to hear from them sometime in the next few days or weeks.
An hour later, their new facebook group “It's okay to be gay” had over a hundred members. They and some other peace camp youth posted this message and messages about the love of God to all their friends. One of their friends in Atlanta printed out a bunch of posters with the name of the group, and posted them in her neighborhood. She was afraid that this might provoke violence, so she got her father to go with her as a “dad bodyguard.”
I don't know what will happen next. There's a boatload of Baptists excited about supporting these efforts. But it it is so amazing to have this chance to facilitate a small connection between a group of adult welcoming church leaders and a new generation of young people, facing a new wave of homophobia and violence.
Here's what it makes me think of: on the first night of peace camp, I gathered with some of the other young adults here. At the end of our little shindig, we went around and said something we were hoping for out of this week. People said, “rest.” People said “friendship” and “empowerment” and “hope.”
I said, “thunder.”