The inspiration for this letter - O - is a quote from Rachel Held Evans: 
"This is what God's kingdom looks like: 
a bunch of outcasts and oddballs gathered at the table,
not because they are rich or worthy or good,
but because they are hungry, because they said yes.
And there's always room for more."

I read this quote many years ago, when I was first starting out my work as a lay worship leader, 
and it hit me right in the heart as to how I want my faith, and my church, experience to be. 
Sadly, I don't live in an area that deals with change and strangers well, 
and United Churches in rural Canada are declining rapidly in numbers, many of them closed and closing. My own church congregation is down to 8 regulars plus a couple of choir members and a music leader (which we are lucky to have). 

One of my yearnings is for a faith community that is filled with outcasts and oddballs,
because I crave inclusivity and diversity, and other people's stories.
I crave the energy of others and I want to broaden my knowledge and my potential to create and support. 

Church -- the church -- has squandered its potential to be welcoming and inclusive, to be hospitable and tolerant, to be giving and providing. We could be so much more but right from the beginning,
and I mean the beginning -- after Jesus' death -- 
creating the church was all about power and authority and control and greed. 
There are so many churches who do the ministry of Jesus right, but they are defying the example of the institution of the church. 
Church -- the church -- likes its rules, its way of doing things, the way things have always been done. Why change when those in power are so comfortable? 

Wait. Isn't that what Jesus spoke out about? Isn't that why his ministry was a threat to those with the power in his day? 

Give me a faith community that not only welcomes but encourages the outcasts and the oddballs to come in first, to sit down first, to speak first,
and I'm there, in the back, ready to listen, ready to support, ready to do the work 
to get more Jesus in the world. 

"O is for Outcasts and Oddballs
You know there are rules, right?
It's one thing to say everyone is welcome
until they walk onto the carpet with their dirty boots,
until they sit in your regular pew,
until they swipe a can of beans off the table where we put the donations to the food bank."
~ from Alphabet of Faith by Sara Jewell 


Popular Posts