Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Re-Wilding the Goose

Beer and hymns can be a rowdy time. Correction: beer and hymns should be a rowdy time. My first experience of beer and hymns was at the Wild Goose Festival in 2012. A handwritten note simply stating “Beer and Hymns, 5:00” was scrawled on a napkin and hung on the post of the beer tent. Intrigued (how could I not be?), I showed up at the appointed time to find a large crowd, a long line for beer, and a musical ensemble clearly cobbled together from instruments on hand: keyboards, guitar, trumpet, and if I recall correctly an accordion (but that may be a hop-influenced memory). I remember singing old chestnuts with a gusto that never rears its head in my mainline traditional worship and even was different from the charismatic worship I had experienced during college. People called out hymns and we sang the verses we could remember, or someone would line out the verse as we went. It was rogue, it was raw, it was edgy and even a bit outlaw.

Fast forward to Wild Goose 2015; beer and hymns is now not only a staple, with regularly scheduled times in the schedule but there are bound hymnals and emerging rituals. On Saturday night I had missed the memo that the impromptu guided meditation being led by my friend Kimberly Knight at her campsite had been moved to another site, so with time on my hands I wandered into Beer and Hymns. The crowd was larger than the one I experienced three years earlier and it was continuing to grow, so I was glad to find a “comfortable back pew.” I started out rogue by going BYOB, pouring a cup from the growler I had brought with me. Then I joined in the outlaw fun starting up by my neighbors who were joking that when they forget words to a hymn they simply sing like the Swedish Chef from the Muppets. Since none of us had picked up a hymnal, we enjoyed our best impersonations, one person coming in as Beaker and even a feeble attempt at Animal. Smiles and laughter opened the door to running commentary during the following hymns. After expressing my need for more beer to fully appreciate the thinly veiled substitutionary atonement theology of the next hymn, I was glad to hear the strains of “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” start up. I mentioned that this seems to have become the theme song of Beer and Hymns. My fellow shenanigators agreed and on cue with the rest of the crowd raised their cups when the verse began “here I raise my Ebeneezer.” And why not raise your beer, since who really knows what an Ebeneezer is? Well, it is a rock, or a pile of them as it were. So I couldn't resist commenting that perhaps the beer raised needs to be Rolling Rock (which would keep me from ever raising an Ebeneezer I'm sorry to say). At this point, a latecomer now seated in the back pew tapped me on the shoulder. I turned to see him make that palm down that gesture that cops use to tell you slow down. I couldn't believe it, I had become the fidgety kid kicking the pew and I had successfully upset the status quo. The status quo at the WILD Goose?!?!?! Anger kept me from an appropriate engagement so I packed my things and left to ruminate.

How could the Wild Goose Festival at the tender age of five already have become so pinched up and buttoned down that singing hymns “like you've never done it before” has been replaced by the seven last words of the church: “we've never done it that way before”? OK Ian, breathe. (Funny how breath both calms and is also the very thing used to represent the Holy Agitator.) Yes, this was one person, expressing one opinion, I get that. It is the symptom to contain the uncontainable that worries me. I am not unaware of the irony that I am an ordained minister who is authorized by a mainline institution, which by definition is resistant to change, particularly the sort of change that may lead to the demise of the institution. But let's face facts, the Convergence that we are seeing at events like the Wild Goose is what most of us would agree is what we think the resurrection of the church is looking like. If we are truly to be believers in resurrection then we must fully embrace the one prerequisite, death. We have to let go of the expectation that our old ways are sufficient to carry us into the new paths before us. And heaven help us if our imagination is so limited that all we can create to replace old institutions are new ones.

But I am far from being without hope. In fact, this shoulder-tapping incident was little more than a road sign urging caution on the Wild Goose chase of the Holy Spirit leading me into places where we may not go on our own. It was a reminder that wild truly equals wild, there can be no taming in the name of God. It was a reminder that if you find God in a box that you can rest assured that you put God there. While my mellow was indeed harshed in that moment, there were far too many other moments that stirred my goose spirit.

  • There was the upside-downing of Communion in the Midnight Moonshine Mass with the hint of the outlaw, unsafe feel that the first Jesus followers experienced having to hide to worship and feel the fire burn in their bellies. The “lucky” few who got a tug of the second jar of moonshine can attest to fire of the spirit(s).
  • There was the call from Brother John to help him raise an Ebeneezer in the river. Wanting to build an arch from the river stones, he required a partner. We learned to lean, we learned to listen to the stones, we learned to fail...and finally we bridged the gap and enjoyed that special, though fleeting cairn that stood for just a day, hopefully to be resurrected in our Wild Goose spirits.
  • There was the Lectio Hoedown that drew me in as I walked down the dusty road. I didn't have a destination that I recall, though it could have been Damascus or Emaus. Regardless, the destination the Goose had in mind was behind a guitar sharing an unnamed melody I have noodled with for a long time that now, apparently is called Psalm 77.

  • And there was the parting gift of failure when one Gooser took a turn a tad too wide, perching her car on a rock in a ditch. While a good number of us responded right away with good intentions to help, the one who brought the gift that mattered was the guy who assured us all that in years of off-roading he had put many a car in similarly difficult positions. It was the gift he gained from those failures that birthed the wisdom to solve this problem.

And there were far, far more moments that soothed or stirred my spirit in those four festival days. I pray that they are eggs that will hatch many wild goslings for me in the days to come. Most of all, since the Way is through the wild places, I pray that I won't seek to tame, nor accept when others tame, the Way. We must all accept that in the re-wilding that is required we may get goosed along the way!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Sacred Cows, Slippery Slopes and Corneliuses

Somewhere deep in the bowels of Boston on an inbound Green Line train over two decades ago l slaughtered a sacred cow. At the time I was a student at Gordon-Conwell Theological seminary but I was returning from a class at Boston College taught by the noted feminist theologian Rosemary Radford Ruether. Obviously, I was exploring beyond the prescribed boundaries of Evangelicalism. I had already been questioning the connection between conservative theology and conservative politics. Now I was staring down the sacred cow of inerrancy. I knew that the belief that the Bible is the inspired word of God, free from error was a foundational tenet of Evangelicalism. My doubts had been sending the sacred cow out to pasture but now was the time to cut the ties. I understood that my Evangelical beliefs had painted me into a corner. Believing that the Bible accurately recorded God's instructions to kill innocent women and children during the conquest of the Promised Land pushed me to an irreconcilable moral dilemma, forcing me to choose between a divine book and divine love. Accepting the idea that the Bible is a book of human rather than divine origin allowed me to continue in relationship with a loving God while accepting that the victors write the history, soetimes using the excuse "God made me do it."

For many Evangelicals today, the trigger issue that threatens to undo their view of scripture is homosexuality. There are wonderful resources providing scholarly interpretation of the handful of verses that touch on the topic, so I won’t cover that ground here. Rather, I want to reach out to Evangelicals worried that a change in their stance on homosexuality will necessarily mean a wholesale change in their understanding of scripture. For those who fear that the only option is the  slippery slope slide away from rock solid doctrine that I took  I have two things to say. One, it is definitely possible to hold the belief that homosexuality is not a sin while simultaneously believing that the Bible is inerrant. Two, the journey down the slippery slope is filled not only with fear but also with freedom. I’ll take the issues in reverse order. 

I understand that to question one part is to question the whole. While I found liberation in embracing the path of questioning, I get it that every answer provides only temporary comfort since it also leads to new questions. Thus freedom from constrictive answers is also a loss of assurance. Those of us swimming in the deep end of free exploration find it easy to call out, "come on in, the water's fine," but what those standing on the shore really want to hear from us is that we are trained in lifesaving. Or more likely, they want their own personal lifesaver. For isn't that one of the best gifts from that branch of Christianity-"blessed assurance, Jesus is mine"? But what I want you on the shore to hear is that one gift from the deep end is the blessed assurance that we can never swim beyond the reach of the lifesaver because the power resides inside us. And when we feel weak thank God the power resides also in the other swimmers. 

Those others are a big part of why I believe that it is possible to remain Evangelical while accepting and affirming the LGBT community. The recent revelation by Tony Campolo that he now believes that homosexuality is not a sin is living proof of this possibility. And I think I can tap into my own Evangelical roots well enough to make the case that the story of the vision that Peter has in Acts 10 supports that position. Peter is struggling with the idea of sharing the gospel with an “unclean” Gentile when he has the vision of being offered unclean animals to eat. He is naturally offended at the very thought of it but eventually understands that God’s word to him is that no animal made by God is unclean. Peter then draws the obvious conclusion that neither is any human unclean. Christians of all stripes have no problem understanding this story as part of a justification for no longer keeping kosher laws, so why should we not also understand that it means that homosexuality should no longer be considered an abomination? Granted, Peter meeting Cornelius pushed him out of his comfort zone. He had to abandon the assurance of old laws that Christ had fulfilled and/or abolished. It is normal to want to be surrounded by people who think (and even look) like you. Homogeneous culture does not have to lead to rejection of those who are different, but sadly it does regularly entail just that for the sake of maintaining the status quo. So if you are going to start walking the talk that the good news of salvation is meant for every person, you may need to take some initiative in finding your Cornelius. My advice to my Evangelical sisters and brothers is to take the risk of building accepting relationships with LGBT folks. You don’t need to be affirming from the start, though trust that God can show you the way there. Many people are already at this halfway point, stuck in a “love the sinner, hate the sin” dilemma. Keep listening, both to the quiet voice of God in you and the way that God speaks through this other beloved child. It will be uncomfortable to be sure. But if we are going to learn how to live as the one grand united yet amazingly diverse Body of Christ, we are going to have to spend a lot of time getting to know the Corneliuses who may be nothing like anyone we have ever met before. And thank God for that.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Two Freds and the Nones

The largest affiliation among 20-somethings today is no affiliation at all. The
term nones has been used to group these folks who are choosing "none of the above." The number one reason that this group names for their choice of non-affiliation is that the church is judgmental and the primary place they see that judgmentalism in action is in the opposition to homosexuality. 

This week saw the passing of the personification of this hateful practice, Fred Phelps. For more than two decades, he spewed vile vitriol against his homosexual neighbors. Although his practice was to protest high-profile funerals in hopes of drawing attention, I saw only a few comments on my Facebook feed calling to protest his funeral. For the most part, people agreed that it was tempting to make signs that say "God Hates Fred," but in the end it would be wrong to lower ourselves to his level. Remarkably, the more common sentiment I saw was a call to prayer for and forgiveness of Fred Phelps. Among my clergy colleagues, if they expressed an opinion at all, it was this one. There was an ironic sadness in watching what judgmentalism there was coming from some who rejected church for that very reason while simultaneously watching the church practice true love of enemy.

It caused me to wonder what it would take to get the nones to see that there is a good portion of the church that preaches love of neighbor, even the gay ones, and is regularly trying to live out that love. I wondered if there might be a partial answer buried in the another irony. The day of Fred Phelps' death was the birthday of a very different Fred, Fred Rogers. This Fred was better known to the world as Mister Rogers, the man who consistently taught a couple of generations about loving our neighbors. What fewer people know is that this second Fred was the Reverend Mr. Rogers. Not only did the Presbyterian church ordain him, the ministry that they ordained him to was Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. Yes, the church was wise enough to bless the work of teaching children how to be kind and gentle, while not needing to package it in religious terms or contain it within church walls. The church continues to hold that wisdom today, and also continues not to make a big deal about. Perhaps that is the problem, far too much attention is far too quickly given to a hate-mongering Fred who labels his sinfulness the work of the church, while a saintly Fred is rarely understood to be the face of the church being loving in the world.

I believe that God is so much larger than any ideas we can use to try to define and contain the divine. I do believe that closest thing to a complete definition of God is in the simple statement, "God is love." That truth leaves no place for Fred Phelps' claims that God hates. God hates no one. God does not even hate Fred Phelps. God's love for him, now that he has died may be seen in judgment. If so, then I picture that judgment scene this way:

As Fred Phelps approaches the gates of judgment, he sees Saint Peter, who tells him to enter a room where he will be judged. He opens the door and seated at a table on which sits a birthday cake is Fred Rogers. Mister Rogers says, "Hello neighbor, I've been waiting for you. Will you come sit with me for a while? I'd like to talk."

"Are you serious? Why would you want to talk with me? I picketed at your funeral for heaven's sake!"

"Well, I doubt that it was for heaven's sake, but I still want to talk. Please, sit down and have a piece of my cake, it's very delicious."

Then as Fred Phelps sits down with Fred Rogers they begin what will be a very long conversation about the terrible things that he did in his earthly existence. The horror of facing those terrible truths must be a hell as awful as any Dante could imagine. I can't guess how long it will take, but then time is irrelevant in eternity. What I can guess is the outcome...forgiveness.

Why does Fred Phelps deserve forgiveness? He doesn't. No one ever deserves forgiveness, it is always the gift of the one doing the forgiving. In this case the forgiveness comes from the one who is love itself, God. If there is anything that God hates it is sin, not the sinner, and I'm not even sure that there is room at all for hate inside perfect love. I pray that Fred Phelps has now learned the truth that God loves everyone, a truth he can only learn by learning first the truth that God loves Fred Phelps.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Promoting the Darkwood Brew message

 If Darkwood Brew can move into the top 25 on this list by Sunday, more people will be exposed to the message we are trying to spread.  Simply clicking on the arrow in the lower left corner below the DWB logo will "vote up" the blog.  Thank you very much.

See full list on Listly

Thursday, August 22, 2013


A wonderful part of my spiritual journey over the past few years has been my increasing involvement with Darkwood Brew and in particular the ability to engage with the sharp mind of Eric Elnes.  He has helped me both to find a label that fit where I am on the journey (post-Liberal) and also to challenge it.  In an interview by Christian Piatt, Eric suggests that labels describing where we have been are insufficient to describe where we are.  He has been consistently using an Exodus metaphor of tribes of refugees in the wilderness to describe the Convergence that is happening.  If you aren't familiar with what he's been saying read the the blog at Sojourner's first then come back.  I'll wait.

Hey, thanks for coming back.  

Part of my experience at the Wild Goose Festival this year was telling my story and hearing others tell their stories about where they've been and how they got into this wilderness where we are converging.  That caused me to develop a modified version of the Exodus metaphor for Convergence that goes something like this:

There were a number of tribes in bondage in the land of exile.  Among them were those called Evangelical and those called Liberal.  The sad truth was that the bondage was self-inflicted.  When some of the Evangelicals realized this, they left for the Promised Land knowing that that would mean a long trek across the wilderness.  These post-Evangelicals were most severely criticized by that part of their tribe that stayed behind.  Those who stayed behind believed beyond a shadow of a doubt that the only way to be truly free was to remain shackled to beliefs about the way to read scripture and judgments about sexuality even if that came at the cost of limiting their response to God's call to do justice.  They made sure that the post-Evangelicals knew it and that they would pay a price for their bold push to new understandings.  Thus while some paid the price of lost jobs and status to seek the Promised Land, others remained locked within closets of silence though they knew the path they were called to walk.

Similarly some Liberals longed for the passion of knowing God and understood that God's Spirit is like a wild goose: untamed and unpredictable, yet calling us to leaps of faith.  They remembered that there was a baby in the bath water that was thrown out when the tribe chose to stop looking to the scriptures for inspiration and quit leaving room for mystery.  The price post-Liberals paid in leaving their tribe behind was disdain and pity from those who clung to the crumbling institutions for their salvation.

As these two tribes have begun to meet and exchange the gifts of what each has brought along that the other lacked, they are also discovering that they have not been alone in the wilderness.  There are also those Charismatic free spirits who have always been open to the wild, unpredictable movement of the Spirit.  There are also those who always understood that structures like liturgy and doctrine are more spacious than rigid thus always have room for mystery.  The fact is that there have always been desert dwellers who are now welcoming the self-freed refugees from the former tribes.  Some found the wilderness not because they rejected or were rejected by religious institutions but because their life journeys, either through painful events or intentional exploration brought them here.

And now, regardless of prior path, a new tribe of Wild Goose Christians is forming with the understanding that they will best find the Promised Land together.  Of course, these wanderers are those who appreciate that the journey is the destination.  They also understand that they make the path by walking it.  In this new Exodus they hear the voice of Jesus teaching them that God dwells not simply among them, but in them.  There will be no flame nor pillar to lead them.  God will not be dwelling in a Tabernacle that the people will carry, God is dwelling in the people. Therefore they must look within and to each other to find direction.

In this new Exodus there is a gentle computer-generated voice speaking from a built-in GPS unit.  As the tribe moves along the way this voice confirms the path and when they are lost it simply says "recalculating."  As with all GPS units, there is no judgment.  The voice doesn't scold or correct, it simply recalculates.  There are many paths to the Promised Land and there is also much room to wander, so recalculating is more the rule than the exception.

And those who have chosen to remain in bondage also hear the voice of the GPS constantly repeating "recalculating" though they alternately ignore and explain it away.  One of the challenges for the Wild Goose Tribe is to find ways to help the ones left behind in bondage to free themselves.  

We can't promise them soft landings for it is likely that they don't exist, this is a wilderness we are in after all. But even though we are not yet in the Promised Land (and if we are to learn from history, odds are that we won't be the generation that gets there) we do know that the wilderness is better than the bondage.  Thus we have an obligation to speak truth to power and call out to Pharaoh to let our people go.  Or more accurately, we need to speak the truth in love to our tribal kinfolk that they are their own Pharaoh's and they should break the shackles and join us in the wilderness.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Our New Testament Best

©2013 Scott Griessel/Creatista
My Wild Goose journey began last year at the festival where I spent most of my time quite intentionally seeking encounters with Evangelical and Charismatic Christians in order to begin the healing of my past where I had rejected my connection to each of those streams of Christianity. The experience was powerful and transformative. It was also the point I started my personal journey into Convergence Christianity since it was there that I “met” Eric Elnes, Scott Griessel and Dinah Gomez of Darkwood Brew three dimensionally (they having been two-dimensional acquaintances previously). It has been liberating tojump into the flow of the wild spirit of God moving among people moving beyond labels. My deepening involvement in Darkwood Brew (including a sabbatical trip to Omaha to peek behind the curtain) has helped to frame that exploration and at this year's Wild Goose Festival opened avenues for conversation.

One gift of experiencing a second Wild Goose Festival is the hindsight to see how the Wild Goose spirit has been alive in my journey between festivals. One prime example is seeing my friend Kimberly Knight bravely encounter a theological foe in Billy Humphrey and come away with a personal encounter that didn't change either one's position but left both of them genuinely loving the other. The day before I left for this year's festival I received my copy of the new Daniel Amos CD that includes a song with the lyrics, “Could take an eye for an eye, drown in a big blood bath; That fast (Crash!) and baby, we’re a sad aftermath, but we thought better of it. Our love had mercy on us. We got dressed in our New Testament best and thought better of it.” Looking forward to seeing Kimberly and the author of those words, Terry Scott Taylor, I set off for North Carolina expecting to meet lots of folks dressed up in their New Testament best.

I met Kimberly just as she was arriving with a group of folks who had traveled with her from Atlanta. When I commended (OK, shilled) the Darkwood Brew DVD on homosexuality and the Bible I had the odd experience of having push back from her friends fearing I was part of a group who might use the Bible to bash. They clearly didn't see that I was dressed in my New Testament best and forgot the over-the-top warm greeting Kimberly and I had exchanged (they can be forgiven for not knowing that I was the officiant at Kimberly and LeAnn's wedding in Second Life). By the time I had this encounter I was already well into my experience of this year's festival, which had a different tone to it for me. I was a wandering ambassador for Darkwood Brew in particular and Convergence Christianity in general. This year, as I encountered post-Evangelicals I was enthusiastically sharing the story of my journey from Evangelical-attacking-Liberals to Liberal-attacking-Evangelicals to post-Liberal-big-tent-joyful-Convergent-Christian. As much as this was a counterpoint to the healing that began a year before, it was also a good news gift I was able to offer to those who cared to listen.

Thankfully, many did care to listen, and that's saying something since my come on was an infomercial-worthy pitch for a punch card for coffee at the Darkwood Brew tent (complete with a “but wait, there's more!”). Even though I sold a good number of the cards, I was a pretty big failure as a salesman since after I sealed the deal I would launch into marvelous conversations with my new found friends. There was not one of these conversations that was negative, a fact that filled me with great hope for the future of the church. Sadly, not everyone got the memo, as evidenced by the attack piece written by the Institute on Religion & Democracy in the American Spectator. It reminded me that there is a price to be paid when exploring changes or possibly leaving one's tradition. It gave me a deeper respect for those coming to the Wild Goose from the right, knowing that it may be costing them something. 

Will, Brandan & Troy
 One of my happiest encounters this year was tracking down (don't believe them when they call it stalking) Brandan Robertson, Troy Medlin and Will Eastham of the Revangelical Podcast and Blog. Not only were they having fun and fun to be with, they seemed to appreciate hearing my long-winded telling of my personal journey (even though I offered to get off my soap box multiple times) receiving it as a gift. I know that they face the possibility of not being able to continue the paths to ministry they have begun because of their challenging of doctrine, yet they continue to be filled with hope and bear it with a smile. Their faith is contagious, their return gift to me and to all the people of God.

Terry Scott Taylor
Throughout the festival, my Darkwood Brew shirt gave me the confidence to feel qualified to approach speakers and leaders (my problem, not theirs, as the festival is truly a great equalizer). Still, I committed one act of unadulterated fanboy stalking. I brought my copy of that Daniel Amos CD I had just received as well as the liner notes from my 1981 Alarma! cassette (Google it youngins) for Terry Scott Taylor to sign. When I saw him arrive prior to the Lost Dogs performance I didn't let the semi-secluded “green room” stop me from sitting next to him for a 20 minute talk about his career. Listening again to his music that I had listened to in college, I realized that he had been preaching a message of God as love instead of God as judge during his entire career. Songs like I Love You #19 and Hit Them (I hit them too hard. I did it with a book. He had to take another look when I hit them with love) were swimming upstream against the Christian Music message of the time. Talking with Terry I learned that he faced opposition from the Evangelical mega-church establishment of the 80's when he resisted being simply a tool for evangelism (he was kind enough not to call it proselytizing) instead choosing to be an artist giving his best for God. That conversation helped me to realize that the seeds of my current belief system were planted way back then as part of his musical witness.

The Wild Goose of the Holy Spirit has been honking in the distance for a long time. I'm so happy to now be among the many who have been chasing the call. Won't you put on your New Testament best and join us?

Saturday, August 10, 2013

A Wild Goose in the Clouds

Traveling through Virginia on my way to Hot Springs, North Carolina for the Wild Goose Festival the landscape was alternately marked by remembrances of war and crosses. Nearly every one of the early exits pointed to the site of some Civil War battlefield. The ones that didn't included the homes of war generals and the national D-Day Memorial. Then there was the museum dedicated to the history of the army with assault helicopters and tanks littering the lawn along the highway. The numerous crosses along the way that ranged from actual size to mammoth provided a counterpoint that was surprisingly not comforting. Instead of the clearly intended message of God's victory, I instead couldn't help thinking about the victim of that extremely cruel implement of torture and the humans who used it to kill Jesus. My perspective was influenced by the fact that it was August 6, the anniversary of the day the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. The words of one of the crew of the Enola Gay later recorded in his diary echoed in my soul as I rolled down Interstate 81, “My God, what have we done?”

At my destination, the weather was overcast, but that didn't prevent identifying an unseen Canada Goose as it honked its way across the sky over my head. That got me thinking about the way that the Holy Spirit, like a wild goose, shows up unseen but clearly present, clearly moving, clearly calling us on even through the clouds. If I continued to focus on the harm we humans are capable of and the potential for inflicting suffering that we possess then I will remain too heavy to fly to the places God is calling me. The Wild Goose Festival is a gathering of a tribe that in many ways doesn't know it even is a tribe yet. I know that my time here will be filled with inspiration that many presenters have come to impart as well as reconnecting with some of the people I have previously met on this journey. It will also be a time when I can share the joys and struggles of my story as an invitation to others to glean from it anything that is useful to them. And though I cannot say what the encounters or who the people will be that will become revelations to me of the presence of the Wild Goose, I am equally sure that that will happen. That is the manner in which faith assures us of God's presence in the world. If we are to be Christ's body in the world today we must expect that God is to be found in the other and that we each are a vital, integral part, so be better be fully who God made each of us to be.

So that also means that the good folks of the Commonwealth of Virginia who still study war or who plant huge crosses in their fields are part of this broken body of Christ that we need to re-member. The Wild Goose Festival is just a start. This glorious feeling we get in knowing the blessing of coming together despite our past differences and even coming to celebrate the diversity of opposites members that make for a complete body is the fuel needed to complete the work set before us by our wild and loving God. May we be those people we know we can be and be the builders of the reign of God on earth as it is in heaven. May we some day behold that fully alive, resurrected body of Christ animate by the love we share and show and be able to transform the lament of “my God, what have we done?” into the celebration, “our God, look what we have done!”