My happy place

     The breeze ruffles the curtains.  It carries the smell of the sea and salt.  It lands on my skin. 

     The room is long and narrowish and light and high.  Ten rows of bnenches fill up the majority of the space in the room, but mostly they escape notice.  The butt and back of the benches are lined with thin burgundy cushions.

     The stage is half a step above the rest of the room.  The cross is bigger than life, which is as it should be.  The sunlight comes in through the skylight and casts a rectangular, God-made spotlight on it.

      This rectangle is echoed across the room by six rectangles of light which fall on the pews and into the aisles.  There are 3 on each side; the long windows let more than just the breeze in.

      It is modest, this place, and some would say small.  I smile as I walk out the front door and take it in from the outside.

       The white paint on the outside is not brand new but the church carries a well-loved air about itself.  It’s the sort of place, that if you put any thought into it, you would just know that it’ll get repainted before the whiteness begins to actually chip.

     The building has a minty green trim.  The shape of it is close to the shape of a capital “L”, except that the horizontal, lower portion is a bit to small and stubby.  This added on room– the horizontal part of the “L”– has no door from the outside but it does have large windows.

      I could walk across the green (but not perfectally manicured) lawn and step between the bushes that hug the perimeter of the building.  I could look through the window and peer at the simple wooden table that dominates the room.    There is a copper platter just to the left of the center of the table.

      Two-thirds of a loaf of French bread sits on the platter.  The reflection of the simple overhead light on the platter is broken by the few crumbs gathered by the open end of the bread.  A mostly-full bottle of wine sits close to the right edge of the table.  The sun has dried most of the condensation that once clung to the bottle.  Only a few drops remain where the neck widens.


The above was this image, incredibly clear, and powerful, that just popped into my head.  I decided to get it out of my head and write it down.  It’s a place I’ve never been to, but I love it there.  It’s my happy place, this little perfect church in my heart.  I’ve gone back there, every now and again, to get away from everything. 

Do you have a “happy place?”



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The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

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