Yesterday’s sermon on “render unto Caesar” got me thinking about my church and what I can do to help. You cannot even imagine how large our budget for ministry is, and there have been a series of unfortunate events which has caused that financial security to be in jeopardy. It’s hard for me to hear- extraordinarily hard- because since I love Epiphany so much when I hear we’re in trouble it’s just like “shut up and take all my money.” I wouldn’t have made it this year without Douglas. He is literally my light in the middle of the mess, because his 13-year-old voice and his 13-year-old hugs are as beautiful as prayer, because he has something that I don’t…. a childlike innocence that feeds my soul.

Douglas has a brother and a sister, so I feel horrible that I talk so glowingly about him when his siblings activate my mother lion just as much. Douglas is special to me because we’ve spent time together, not because I don’t want to spend time with other kids besides him. 🙂

I have been going through a very dark period in my life, especially in my writing, because I’ve had to have a way to exorcise some demons that could never be talked about in reality. I need the separation of fiction to be able to explain the unexplainable in metaphors. My church family, especially the children, pull me out of that dark place and into the light. It was actually at my friend Nicky’s suggestion, because we have a few of the same dark spaces and his kids keep them in check, too. Since I don’t have kids, my church kids are ALL my kids.

And don’t even get me started on Joseph.

Joseph is my choir director, but that’s his professional title. His personal title is closer to dragon slayer, because he takes care of me in a way that no choir director ever has. I finally sat him down and said, “this is going to sound crazy, but I need you to believe me the first time.” I laid out everything. It has given me the flexibility to be able to say things like, “could you switch the rehearsal order because I cannot sing “Be Thou My Vision” under any circumstances tonight. It is literally one of my biggest triggers. Normally, I am fine, but I need to Messiah and get the hell out of here.”

He didn’t make the rest of the choir rehearse it, either.

And then there’s Frances. My heart literally flips when she walks into a room, because we have that friend love like nobody’s business. I don’t know how old she is, just that she has more gray hair than me, and I cannot even tell you how much that doesn’t matter. We have shown each other that we are the same age in more ways than one, like passing notes down the aisle in the choir stalls.

Plus, we’re Episcopalian. Stephanie, Dana’s sister, is an Episcopalian. Dana and Steffi’s parents are Anglican. Stephanie is in California, we are in Texas, and the parents are in NoVA….. and yet each Sunday, for exactly one and a half hours, we are in communion together, saying the same words that people have been saying together for hundreds and hundreds of years. I know that communion will outlast Dana’s parents lives, and then Dana, Stephanie, and I will kneel every week and STILL have communion with them, loving them in their “light perpetual.”

Lastly, my love for Christine and Lisa is legendary, but only from the standpoint that they consistently theologically hit it out of the park and leave me thinking, “Keep. Up.” I grow with them and write about them because they give me so much spiritual food to chew on that I am in theology nerd heaven. I also love that Christine invites people to the pulpit that excite me just as much- that the level of theology nerd doesn’t drop when she’s not there.

I don’t have any monetary suggestions yet, because Dana and I need to walk through what tithing would look like and if not tithing, how much CAN we give? I decided to look past money and tell you with my heart what I see in this congregation and just hope that one or two of you will decide to show up with a hideously large sum of money.

I’m just kidding (no I’m not).

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