“Once you really know yourself, can’t nobody tell you nothing about you.” (Megan Thee Stallion)
I wouldn’t want to take that quote too far, but I do believe that self-knowledge – for individuals and institutions – is crucial. It is worth the time it takes.
I, for example, have a deep sense of connection to place. I love the Southwest and I love New Orleans. I’ve spent a fair amount of energy trying to figure out which of them I love more, and frankly have come to the conclusion that it is a question without an answer. I love the Mississippi River, Lake Pontchartrain, the Colorado River, and some little trickles of water that count as streams in the desert. I love arid days and humid days, Navajo tacos and red beans and rice, backpackers and streetcar riders, banana trees and pinons. I love Santa Fe style houses and shot gun houses, uphill climbs and Mardi Gras. Somehow, these very different places coexist in my heart, both filling it to overflowing.
So I took my Muses water bladder with me to the Grand Canyon… (see photo above).
It was a joy for me to get sustenance from inside this Mardi Gras throw while walking along the Canyon’s edge. Somehow that felt just right.
What about churches? Can you love Lutheran identity and connect with a Presbyterian pastor? Can you be clear that you are saved by grace through faith and still expect to learn new things about God when you hear them through the voices of different people? Can you accept that loving what and who you know doesn’t limit your ability to love new ways of being and new people?
I think Grace’s heart is big enough for that kind of stretch. It’s part of what I love about being with you now. And it’s what I think will serve you well as you continue to learn new things and meet new people and listen together to hear who God is calling you to love and share gospel with in 2022 and beyond.
Grace and peace,