Last night I was at a meeting looking at the governance of our local church. We have shifted the way we operate on the ground but have not figured out how to capture the shifts on paper. We also realize that there are additional shifts we need to make and we have not yet figured out how to make them.
This morning I came across this blog post in one of my feeds. I have attended church on both the East and West coasts, both in pews and in a circle respectively. When I have introduced the idea of church in a circle to the pew sitters – some have resisted. They didn’t like having to look at other people. I believe they felt like the circle took away their privacy, that they were too vulnerable.
This concerns me. I am extremely introverted, but I appreciate what it means to participate in a circle and I believe we need spaces to practice being vulnerable. A few years ago one of our sons was having a very difficult time and we had to decide what to share and with whom. Our church community became one of the very few spaces that would hold our difficulties and allow us to just pour them out as they were – no dismissing, no fixing – just letting them be.
I think church in a circle is vitally important to us creating the change we want to see in the world, I wonder how we can our pew sitting selves in that direction.
Last night, someone thoughtfully raised concern about the most recent suicide attributed to cyber bullying in Florida. The concerned party wanted to know why we weren’t talking about the issue. She was appalled that the world could be a place where someone was treated so badly that they felt they could not go on. She wondered why we weren’t talking about it – I sat ashamed, wondering as well.
Bullying is an issue that is not easily solved. We can educate kids and tell them to stop – but that is not a guarantee. What fascinates me is the apparent dis-coupling of a rise in bullying from what is happening in adult society. While I think kids should certainly be taught not to bully others – I wonder who is teaching adults the same thing.
I do believe that youth model what they see their parents and the adults around them doing. When will we rise to the occasion and admit our part in the bullying problem. When will we understand that how we treat and respect others is how our kids will treat and respect others. When will we hold ourselves accountable. When will we decide it’s worth making a change to save lives.
I think the church has a unique part to play in this. I think we owe it to all of the bullied youth out there to raise the questions that make this society uncomfortable. I think we owe it to all of God’s beloved children to call each other on our misbehaving. While focusing on bullying, we are able to ignore the fact that we have become a country that sanctifies violence. When will we focus on that?
Have you heard about the Port Fringe Festival? Looks like an interesting set of theater. Tickets will be available this Monday only at Bayside Bowl from 5-7pm on Monday, June 4th. John Coons, a former choir director at First Parish in Yarmouth, has a play featured on Friday, June 29 at 5PM at the Lucid theater.