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Ben Yosua-Davis

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Join us for a little more of our conversation with Ciona Rouse, as she shares about the gift of open Sunday mornings and supportive friends.

If you haven’t heard it yet, check out our full conversation with Ciona, “Resting On A Limb On the Tree of Knowledge”.

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Stay tuned next for:Our upcoming fall series, topic to be announced soon!

Join us for an updated conversation with poet Ciona Rouse, first about her experience of the pandemic and our national reckoning with racism, and then 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

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  • 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!

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Stay tuned next for: A bonus episode with a little bit more from Ciona.

Join us for a little more of our conversation with Ophelia Hu-Kinney, as she shares about why she’s United Methodist.

If you haven’t heard our full conversation with Ophelia, make sure to check it out: “Why Not Take A Leap of Faith For Once?”

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Stay tuned next for: Our updated conversation with Ciona Rouse!

Join us for an updated conversation conversation with Ophelia Hu-Kinney, of Queering the Kindom and the Reconciling Ministries Network, about what she’s learned over the course of thee pandemic, about her journey into Christianity in early adulthood and her continual process of re-conversion.

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.”

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

 

Join us for a dialogue between Elaine Heath and Wayne Jacobsen, as they dialogue about the common ground and meaningful differences in their understandings of what it means to be part of authentic spiritual community.

Episode Highlights Include: 

  • What does it mean to be connected to the Church?
  • The role of structure and accountability
  • The roles of different expressions of spiritual community
  • How institutions can go bad
  • Gratitude and appreciation for one another

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Stay tuned next for: An update to our conversation with Ophelia Hu-Kinney, “Why Not Take a Leap of Faith For Once?”

 

Join us for a post-pandemic, updated conversation with Wayne Jacobsen, as he shares his journey out of congregational Christianity into a different way of being church and what these last few months have taught him about God and being in community with one another.

Episode Highlights Include: 

  • “You may have left the congregation, but how did you leave the church?”
  • The importance of relational structures over institutional structures
  • “Who does God want to be in our life this week?”
  • Busyness As A Symptom of Spiritual Brokenness
  • Finances and Trapped Pastors

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Stay tuned next for: Our conversation with Elaine Heath of the Community At Spring Forest, about her journey into United Methodism and a contemplative path for institutional renewal.

 

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Dumpsters Filled: Two
Trash: Endless
Plaster: Also Endless
Wiring Run: Infinite
Plague Furniture Removed: Three
Parlor Organs Dismembered: One
Hours Worked: What Is the Meaning of Time Anyhow?
Exhaustion: Perpetual
Progress: Made

These last few months have been a slowly-accelerating slide into blurry mania. All my markers of time: prayer at the beginning of each work day, the blessing every time I enter the house, the meticulously-kept time sheet, the blog posts at the end of the day; smeared away into smudgy recollections of endless trash bags and wiring, sore muscles, needy children, short nights of sleep; and constant renegotiation with myself about when I’d *finally* be able to stop.

There are a few scenes that shine for me from the foggy rubble of these last few month’s memory:

First: I rather thought demo was that Thing You Did With SledgeHammers While Nordic Heavy Metal Plays Loudly in the Background, but if you’d like a house to enjoy after your demolition, it has required a combination of crowbars, screwdrivers, reciprocating saws, with some judiciously deployed profanity and subsequent grunts of triumph when your foe (foe, thy name is over-excellently installed Kitchen Cabinetry) comes tumbling to the ground.

Second: My declining mental capacities were almost certainly the greatest ongoing threat to this project and my sanity I’ve dropped my letter grade from B+ to C- in my electrical tutelage, frequently outright missing verbal directions, making stupid mistakes, and learning things at a pace that I often find tremendously frustrating, as it feels like my brain is wading through deep sludge.

I kept losing things: my earbuds, my best hammer (I’m now down to one small, largely symbolic around-the-house hammer, which makes a demure “tink tink” every time I slam it onto a nail), multiple masks multiple times (they keep turning up and disappearing), writing implements, and one glove, which apparently I had absent mindedly mowed and now lies in a tattered ruin at the bottom of my truck.

It’s all made doubly difficult by the fact that I’ve never done ANY of this EVER before; and so I have no vaguely remembered, demi-internalized skills from when I was twelve , no frame of reference from which to deduce correct decisions, and therefore labor under the constant feeling that I’m about to make a Stupid Mistake (which I quite frequently am.)

That, combined with my grandmother passing, the world’s news, our government’s aggressively idiotic response to this pandemic, and I’m pretty sure that it’s a miracle that I could still put on my shoes in the morning and get to work without an accident (although there was a near miss with a tree last month, when I briefly drifted off into daydream land on my way home. Sorry mom!)

Third: And yet somehow, rather in spite of me, and through the offices of Best Friend Ever John Flint, who, despite being the least morning person I’ve ever met, has dragged himself out of bed at ungodly hours to help me, Electric Sensei Kim, Specs, Polly, Alden and Olivia (known as our Island Family), Dave Campbell’s bushog, our future next door neighbors who gave us their old washer, Jonathan and Ehrhardt, who helped demolish a filthy plastered room, and the other people who I’m definitely forgetting, we’re making it.

The basement is cleaned out and has been bleached twice. John is in the cabin, if your given value of “in” does not involve drinkable water, a workable stove, or a thunderstorm-proof roof (all of which should get fixed momentarily.) We’ve filled TWO huge dumpsters to the brim and then some. The lawn is mowed. The most disgusting rooms in the house have been gutted to the studs, and the parlor organ, generational home to a truly staggering number of mice, has been dismembered with a reciprocating saw and sent to its eternal rest.

Do I feel triumphant? Honestly, not really. Triumph is a feeling that belongs only to the energetic. We’re resting at my parents’ house for a couple weeks (after proper quarantining and whatnot), and the days have been defined by sleeping and, well, sleeping.

I do, however, feel relieved. Almost all of the most time sensitive items have been taken care of. The hump, (or at least A hump) has been gotten over. The house project can hopefully now take on reasonable proportions rather than That Monster That Eats Up All My Time Because I’m Paying For That Damn Dumpster Just to Lie There and John Will Soon Have to Live in A Tent.

This is good, because, of course, it never stops. Soon we will be home; where the daycare is still closed, where I now have a new job, and where our island still needs careful love and tending (a task which my utterly heroic wife has been engaged in since this all began.)

Hopefully, this next season will be, if not easy, at least a little less frenetic.

And involve less trash.

Join us for an updated conversation with Elaine Heath of the Missional Wisdom Foundation and the Community At Spring Forest, as she shares about what COVID-19 and protests around racial injustice have taught her about spiritual community; as well as about her journey into United Methodism and a contemplative path for institutional renewal.

Episode Highlights Include: 

  • How her childhood was a cross between Hillbilly Elegy and Glass Castle
  • “I don’t know about that, but I know that Jesus loves you”
  • Why she became United Methodist and why she stays United Methodist
  • Engaging with the tradition behind the tradition
  • Church as fractals

Support us by:

If you liked this episode, check out:

Thanks to our amazing supporters, including

Stay tuned next for: Our 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.

Join us for a recording of Ben’s conversation with Kenda Creasy-Dean of Princeton Seminary and Paul Nixon of the Epicenter Group for a frank discussion of the future of faith communities after COVID-19.

This is the finale for our series, “Creativity, Compassion, and the Coronavirus”, in collaboration with the BTS Center, examining ways that faith communities can respond well in this COVID-19 moment. 

Episode Highlights Include: 

  • How the church has been dropkicked 20 years into the future
  • Why our churches should “Go Quaker”
  • Why many faith communities should let go of 90% of what they do
  • What it means for leaders to step into a Red Sea that hasn’t parted yet

If you liked this episode, check out

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Stay tuned next for: An updated re-release of our series, Why I Stayed/Why I Left, with updates from our guests!

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