Weekly Message from T. J.

Send in the Clowns

Greetings, friends!

Have you ever felt that some ideas are better in the planning than in the execution? I learned this last night. A friend asked me to see the movie It, the most recent adaptation of the Stephen King novel. The movie was showing at a deep discount from the normal ticket price, so I agreed to see the movie last night at 10 pm. I didn’t quite consider how terrifying the movie would be and that I would be coming back to an empty, quiet house on a hill after midnight. I did eventually sleep. But I was certainly checking around a few corners on my way through the church.

What We Can Do Alone

One of the themes of the movie was that some things are harder to overcome alone. This reminded me of the powerful conversation our A Dialog on Race and Ethnicity (ADORE) leaders facilitated on Sunday after showing the movie The Corporation. I’m not sure which shadowy, slimy, demonically driven villain was more terrifying: the supernaturally scary clown in It or the superhuman terror at the center of The Corporation. But part of our conversation following the movie was about what we can do ourselves to resist the pull, persuasion, and power of corporate entities. Some people have individually been boycotting companies for decades. Others are careful only to purchase certain foods raised in a certain way. We know that no individual act will topple a corporate giant or maybe even change a corporation’s practices. But there is power and spiritual discipline in these individual acts we can do alone. By committing to this form of resistance as a spiritual discipline, we strengthen our resolve in other areas of our lives. And this can lay the groundwork for what we can do together.

What We Can Do Together

A step beyond our personal choices and commitments lies what can happen when likeminded and like-hearted people decide to take on something challenging together. Our church’s commitment to open, real, and honest discussion of matters of race and ethnicity with ADORE is just one example of where these kinds of shared commitments can start to move us. And in the way that individual commitments or spiritual disciplines strengthen us for our continued work, our shared commitments together as a covenantal community can inspire our engagement in issues affecting our communities here and abroad.

Spoiler Alert

It might not surprise you to learn that in the end of It, it took each child facing their own, personal fears to overcome their adversary. But it was only after they shared their individual fears with one another that the group was able to unite to accomplish the most important work. And as I get to meet so many wonderful individuals and groups here at the church, I am so excited to witness what we will accomplish together, but I hope there aren’t any clowns involved.


T. J.

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