Friday, April 29, 2016

Broken Wholeness

What's broken is
never going to be
whole again.
It cannot be mended--
entire pieces
are missing,
and I can't even say
where they've gone,
how big they were,
or what shape.

And even if,
by some
unlikely coincidence,
some strange miracle,
you were handed back
the pieces
that broke away,
they wouldn't fit
together again.
Too much time
has passed--
so much
rough scrubbing
and cold washing--
and the edges
that were once sharp
and clearly defined
have softened,
smoothed.

The broken place
hasn't gone away,
hasn't been
filled with gold.

But it won't
cut your fingers
now; if you
touch that edge,
you won't bleed
anymore.
The edge is
full of character,
interesting to look at,
pleasant to touch.

And what's broken is
OBVIOUSLY broken,
but it is also, now,
after all of this time,
whole.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Religious Education for a Changing World

In January, I attended a weeklong intensive at Leadville Lombard Theological School, for a class called, “RE for a Changing World.” What does that even mean? Well, RE is an easy one: religious education. But what does it mean to learn about religious education for a changing world? Changing how? And what do we even mean when we say “religious education?”
During the course of the week, we actually used the phrases “faith formation” and “faith development” in place of “religious education,” and that is pretty indicative of the entire point of the class. The world is changing, growing, shifting, and so are its needs and the needs of people secular and religious alike. Classroom-style “religious education” is maybe no longer the best way to meet the needs of our youth and young people, nor our adults who are, in the best of worlds, still learning! Religious Education isn’t a thing kids do for one hour in a classroom on Sunday morning while their parents are in worship. Or at least, Religious Education which will serve a changing world isn’t.
In this shifting and changing world, religious education is faith formation is LIFE formation. It means helping babies and children and youth and adults young and old learn that they are held in a deeply interconnected web of love. It means learning together where we come from, who we are, and where we are going, as a People. It’s cocreation of our stories, our lives, our becoming. It means not leaving the ministry to the professionals, and making sure at the end of the day, that our faith leaves the building right along with us. It means opening our eyes to the wide diversity of humanity and life itself, embracing that difference, and working together to figure out how we can allow it to help us learn and move and grow. It means doing religion together.
In a changing world, we are all ministers. But I am also learning to be a professional minister. My class helped me see that faith formation (/religious education) is truly synonymous with religious practice. That could mean that my job just got a lot bigger, or maybe just that it got a lot more integrated. In my mind, that’s a beautiful thing.