For my nearly twenty years in being in and around conversations of faith, I can tell you first hand, that it is easy to assume that Christianity is an exercise of separation rather than one of integration and expansion. There are points along the continuum of faith practice that incorporate these qualities at some point, to helpful purpose as well as devastating exclusion. There are times when separating ourselves out from the whole is valuable and life-giving, but also a time when we must return. It is the strangest irony that separation can create heartache one time and yet be the greatest release into freedom and self-identity the next. …But eventually, we will seek return to community. In our return, this same irony seems to hold true. Sometimes we return to great rejoicing and community wholeness, the next we are the very fly in the ointment that seems to prove the need for distance.
Perhaps it is the artist in me that is familiar in watching these roles play out. The predictability of our human ways, acted out, for better and for worse, give insight to the beautiful narrative of our existence. More so, I am ceaselessly inspired when in our troubles and short-comings, we refuse to live shamefully, but rather with hope and courage. When, in our victories, we live humbly and charitably, sharing our bounty with others.
For all these reasons, I found it an honor to be asked to write the forward for RAW: A Poetic Journey. This inaugural offering from NuWine Press, in many ways, mirrors the conversations I have every single day out on the road. Ordinary people living out extraordinary lives. From resting in moments of silence and darkness to exploding to the surface with full strength and joy.
It’s a little book, an easy read, but trust me, there’s a lifetime in it. You can cruise through it if you want, but if you care to take the time, it will be by your side for a good, long while. Believe me, when I say, there are few books like this. No one here is trying to sell you anything, or trying to create some story to please others. These writings are ‘raw’ indeed. Unshielded, vulnerable, celebratory and often harrowing…it’s what we all think when we doubt, when we don’t believe, when we don’t care, when we care so deeply that we think we might split in two. More than that, these are vignettes of those willing to be put back together.