Christianity has, in many way, received a bad reputation in the United States. When asked, many people* say that Christians are homophobic, hypocritical, and judgmental. And, honestly, I don’t blame them. I’ve met my fair share of Christians who would fit that description. However, I’ve also met my fair share of people, who would die before calling themselves Christians, that fit that description. Because the truth is we’re all human. And humans are good and wonderful creatures, and we’re also broken, flawed, and sometimes struggling. I have yet to meet a human who doesn’t have their moments (or weeks or months or years!)
The thing that keeps me Christian, in light of this reality, is that it is a story that reminds me it’s okay to be broken, flawed, human creatures. It allows me the grace to be my whole self and bring my whole self to everything I do. It allows me to let some things go. And most importantly, it forces me to recognize that the permission to be your whole self belongs to everyone, therefore, it encourages me to be a bit less self-centered and a little more people-focused.
The thing that keeps me involved and active in Christian community is that it is place where I am invited to practice my faith with those in my community. And that practice encourages me to be a Christian with people whom I don’t know – at the grocery store, the bar, while driving, essentially in everything I do and everywhere I go. Then, when I, inevitably, treat others like crap because I’m human, or I’ve forgotten how loved and incredible I am, I get to drag myself back to that community and hear the story that reminds me of who I really am and who we are together. Broken, beautiful, messy, and incredibly loved.
That’s the beginning of what Christianity is about.
That’s what Arise is about.
That’s what this space is about.
This isn’t a space where everything is figured out. In fact, honestly, this is a space where hardly anything is figured out! This is a space to explore and celebrate the journey of a becoming spiritual community in Portland, ME. In this space, there is no need to know what you believe, to call yourself a Christian, or even believe in God. However, there is a need to show up for yourself and for others. There is a need to be open to various ways of seeing the world or thinking. There is a need to do the best job possible of respecting the whole human selves of all around the table.
This is the live story of Arise, becoming.
*It is often cited that it’s young people that make this assumption, but my experience has taught me that nobody is immune from these opinions of Christianity today.