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Ben Yosua-Davis

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Join us for a conversation with Rabbi Eli Freedman of Congregation Rodeph Shalom about life cycle events during COVID-19. Hear him share about his experience hosting a backyard wedding, the constraint and creativity of funerals, weddings, and other life events during a time of social distancing, and what faith leaders should be aware of when leading people through these moments during the coronavirus.

This week, in collaboration with the BTS Center, Reports will continue its series on creative, compassionate responses to the Coranovirus for faith leaders and faith communities:  a set of short, 20 minute conversations about the 101’s of moving your community to a digital space, how to stay spiritually grounded, how to best love your neighbors, and more.

If you’re a faith leader and need a supportive community, make sure to check out:

If you have topics that you need to hear about right now, drop us a line on our Facebook page. 

Support us by:

Thanks to our amazing supporters, including

Stay tuned next for: More conversations coming next week about faith leadership during COVID-19, so stay tuned!

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Statistics:

Garbage Bags: 15
Garages Cleaned: One
Boxes of Almost Definitely Toxic Chemicals Packed: Four
Random Car Parts Discovered: Dozens
Cabins Wired For Electrical Service: ONE!
Pride Felt By Said Writer For His Middling Assistance: Limitless
Rain Barrels Full of Rabbit Pooped Shoveled: 2.5
Rabbit Hutches Disinterred: 15
Moldering Tropical Birds Discovered: One
Turkey Skeletons Unearthed: One
Bunny Suits Used (and Discarded): Six
Holes Dug: 1/2
Wells Fallen Down: One
Truck Name: One

Well, it was a busy month on the house, one that promised an exciting report until it was upstaged by this last week, which can only be reasonably called Utter Batshit Insanity. With that in mind, I offer you an update, primarily to fill your life with a thousand words on a topic that is both lighthearted and utterly trivial considering Current Events.

First, (and this is clearly the most important thing that happened this last week), our truck has a name! In a closely-fought contest, in which all nominees established substantial voting blocs, Rusty edged out Hey Big Truck (or HBT) by one vote. HOWEVER, as my wife told me, her vote should really count for three, since she’ll be living with the darn thing. (I’ll note that this was confirmed in my Facebook comments, which of course means that it’s true.) She then informed me that the truck’s new name was most definitely Hey Big Truck (or HBT or Hey-Bitty) and not Rusty, to which I said, “Yes dear.”

(In a much less competitive competition, HBT’s song is now the Sanford and Son’s theme song, which I invite you to hum whenever you see me rumbling by.)

I’ve now had a chance to drive the truck quite a bit, and am pleased to say that it generally starts on the first try, will get into gear with only minimal grumbling, and only makes one disturbing sound, which I’m rather sure is due to a tire having reached the end of its useful lifespan.

I will save all my newfound electrical, chainsawing (yes mother, I used a chainsaw again and I LIKED it), and excavatory experience for another post, and instead focus on the most exciting that happened to me this last week, which is that I fell down a well.

Let me begin with a handy pro tip, brought on by my own hard-earned idiocy. If you have a dug well, do not drive a pickup truck over the top of it while going down a hill questing for the walkout door to your basement. Secondly, if you do drive over said well-cap, please do not say “That’s looks a little tippy” while placing your foot with insufficient tentativeness upon it, thereby causing the well cap to tip over and you to fall halfway down it, saved only by your spider-like reflexes (I don’t naturally have Spider-Like reflexes, having embodied the motto, “Clumsy, but Durable!” for most of my lifetime, but apparently the threat of broken legs will do wonderful things to your hand-eye coordination), which will enable you to catch the top of the well before you discover first hand that A) Yes, there is water at the bottom of the well and B) It’s a damn long way before you’d reach it.

On the positive side, after I pulled myself up and spent a couple minutes limping around while turning the air blue; I was no longer feeling significantly under-caffeinated, and, as I said to Shelby, my other Best Friend Ever who was helping me clean out my prodigally filthy basement, “I guess I now have the title of my next blog post!” (Yup, those were my literal words.)

Once you’ve done that, the rest of the work is just details. Along with the help of John, we began tackling the Ground Zero of the house and managed, over the course of a day to remove four boxes full of definitely toxic chemicals, fifteen (!) rabbit hutches of various shapes and sizes, fill what I think is two and half rain barrels full of straw and rabbit dropping, wrestle one (surprisingly nice) pool table and accouterments into HBT and up into the garage, and make it nearly half of the way across the basement before running out of time and exhausting our gag reflexes on one turkey skeleton and a moldering dead tropical bird that was, for some unknown reason, snugly ensconced in a small Styrofoam container.

It really is work best done with friends and Shelby, who has now worked with me on the house on a couple occasions, demonstrated both an incredible capacity for hard work and a mind for effortless organization that has kept her two far slower companions pointed in the right direction. I appreciated this many times when, several times, after hours of seemingly fruitless work, I really wanted to curl up in a corner and cry, (if I could have found a clean one, that is.)

There is now visible progress. The basement has been downgraded from Nightmare-From-Hell to merely Very Filthy, the garage’s detritus has now been organized into neat piles, awaiting disposal or sale; the cabin is wired for electricity, and the basement of the cabin is 75% clear of excess water.

This is good, because the May 1st Move-In Date for Future Tenant/Best Friend EVER John Flint has gone from a spring hypothetical to a whispering suggestion that I have a Hell of a Lot More to Do Than I Bargained For In A Lot Less Time Than I Thought, which has meant that I’ve been stealing every last conceivable second for weeks to try to keep us on track.

Well, at least I won’t lack for stimulating activity during Pandemic 2020! (And, if you’re feeling bored and think that picking up trash in the dark sounds like a delightful diversion, have I got a deal for you!)

Join us for a conversation with Beth Estock about fearlessly loving leadership during COVID-19. She talks about her personal experience with having COVID-19, how individuals and faith communities need to embrace grounding practices as this moves from a short-term crisis to a longer term reality, and the beautiful opportunities this can open up for faith communities to act out of their very best selves.

This week, in collaboration with the BTS Center, Reports will continue its series on creative, compassionate responses to the Coranovirus for faith leaders and faith communities:  a set of short, 20 minute conversations about the 101’s of moving your community to a digital space, how to stay spiritually grounded, how to best love your neighbors, and more.

If you’re a faith leader and need a supportive community, make sure to check out:

If you want to learn more about how you can be a good neighbor, check out:

Support us by:

Thanks to our amazing supporters, including

Stay tuned next for: A conversation next week with Rabbi Eli Freedman about hosting meaningful life cycle events, such as weddings and funerals, during a pandemic.

Join us for a conversation with Dr. Alex Gee of Fountain of Life Covenant Church, the Black Like Me podcast, and the Justified Anger Coaltion as talks about the black church and COVID-19, how the most stressed churches are being asked to do the most right now, and what white allies can do to help.

This week, in collaboration with the BTS Center, Reports will continue its series on creative, compassionate responses to the Coranovirus for faith leaders and faith communities:  a set of short, 20 minute conversations about the 101’s of moving your community to a digital space, how to stay spiritually grounded, how to best love your neighbors, and more.

If you’re a faith leader and need a supportive community, make sure to check out:

If you feel inspired to give to marginalized communities:

Support us by:

Thanks to our amazing supporters, including

Stay tuned next for: A conversation (finally!) with Adam Barlow-Thompson of the Neighboring Movement about how to be a good neighbor in the time of COVID-19 and social distancing.

Join us for a conversation with Dan Wolpert of the Minnesota Institute for Contemplation And Healing talk about how to stay spiritually grounded. Hear him share about how leaders can stay spiritually grounded, how they can offer the same for their congregations, and experience an imaginative contemplative exercise that you can use in your context.

This week, in collaboration with the BTS Center, Reports will continue its series on creative, compassionate responses to the Coronovirus for faith leaders and faith communities:  a set of short, 20 minute conversations about the 101’s of moving your community to a digital space, how to stay spiritually grounded, how to best love your neighbors, and more.

If you’re a faith leader and need a supportive community, make sure to check out:

Support us by:

Thanks to our amazing supporters, including

Stay tuned next for: A conversation with Adam Barlow-Thompson of the Neighboring Movement about how to be a good neighbor in the time of COVID-19 and social distancing.

O God,

The rock on which we stand

In the midst of troubled waters.

 

We confess that our power is not sufficient for this moment,

That our talents, our treasure, even our love

Cannot match the need and suffering that is before us.

 

And so we gather, to boldly ask you for your gifts,

For the gift of compassion, for those who are hurting and afraid

For the gift of anger for those who have no choice but to work or to parent or to suffer

For the gift of calm, unbreakable steadfastness when we are told that there is simply not enough, even of hope

 

We come to ask you for your hidden gifts:

For the whispers of Sabbath,

Of hope blooming in the cracks,

Of slow joy growing in the unkempt places of our lives,

 

And so, before we return to our world

With its ever-steady drumbeat of fear

And frantic not-knowing

 

Give us, in this moment, one sacred pause

One breath

One sound of sheerest silence

 

So that we may turn our spirits to you

The bearer of our burdens

And return refreshed.

Amen.

 

Ben Yosua-Davis, 3/17/2020

Join us for a conversation with Wendy Hudson of Two Rivers Church about the 101’s of Digital Community.  Hear her share the basics for shifting worship online, how to digitize the rest of your congregation’s life, including offering care to members, while still being engaged in advocacy and care for your wider community.

This week, in collaboration with the BTS Center, Reports will continue its series on creative, compassionate responses to the Coronavirus for faith leaders and faith communities:  a set of short, 20 minute conversations about the 101’s of moving your community to a digital space, how to stay spiritually grounded, how to best love your neighbors, and more.

Support us by:

Thanks to our amazing supporters, including

Stay tuned next for: A conversation with Adam Barlow-Thompson of the Neighboring Movement about how to be a good neighbor in the time of COVID-19 and social distancing.

This week, in collaboration with the BTS Center, Reports will be releasing a special series on creative, compassionate responses to the Coronavirus for faith leaders and faith communities.

Hear a series of short, 20 minute conversations about the 101’s of moving your community to a digital space, how to stay spiritually grounded, how to best love your neighbors, and more.

Stay tuned for our conversation with Wendy Hudson of Two Rivers Church, giving the 101’s of online worship and community, coming out tomorrow!

Join us for a conversation with poet Ciona Rouse about her journey from cradle United Methodist and pastor’s kid out of Christianity.

Episode Highlights Include: 

    • Ciona’s upbringing as a pastor’s kid and her experience as a denominational employee
    • Her vocation as a writer and “God as author”
    • “It struck me that I had spent my whole life in church and this was the first time I had hung out with prostitutes”
    • How “Let’s take a break” became a permanent break from Christianity
    • Resting on a limb on the Tree of Knowledge

Support us by:

If you liked this episode, check out:

  • Ciona on NPT Arts Break.
  • Our upcoming listener-driven Q&A with Ophelia and Ciona. We need your questions, so send them to us here!

Thanks to our amazing supporters, including

Stay tuned next for: A moderated dialogue between Wayne Jacobsen and Elaine Heath about the different ways they’ve chosen to be Christian in our current religious landscape.

Join us for a conversation with Ophelia Hu-Kinney, of Queering the Kindom and the Reconciling Ministries Network, about her journey into Christianity in early adulthood and her continual process of reconversion.

Episode Highlights Include: 

  • “I referred to myself as an atheist who wanted to be proven wrong.”
  • Her conversion experience in an evangelical Christian college fellowship
  • Her continual conversion when she met the woman who would become her wife
  • Why authenticity is more important than coolness
  • Why there is “no place that will feel like a perfect home.”

Support us by:

If you liked this episode, check out:

  • Ophelia’s blog “Queering the Kindom
  • Our upcoming listener-driven Q&A with Ophelia and Ciona. We need your questions, so send them to us here!

Thanks to our amazing supporters, including

Stay tuned next for: Our conversation with poet Ciona Rouse about her journey from cradle United Methodist and pastor’s kid out of Christianity.

 

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