Christ is risen!
Happy Easter everyone! Can you believe we've made it through the wilderness journey of Lent? While it may be difficult to believe that the 40-day journey is complete, the wilderness - I'm afraid to say - still surrounds us. Politics, economics, relationships, and everything else in our lives will continue to present us with trauma, hatred, and pain. We will still find ourselves in situations and conversations in which there seems to be no way out without finding a bunker and digging in our heels behind it.
But now (hopefully) we won't let ourselves do that. After this intense 40-day journey out from bunkers and into wilderness, we have honed our BRAVING skills and we are learning to live with a strong back, soft front, and wild heart.
Of course none of us has it figured out quite yet... but at least now we know what we need to do.
We would love to hear from you about what this Lenten season has meant for you. What are you learning? How is your learning changing your life? What will you do next? How will you continue to brave?
In this episode we are talking about holding hands. with strangers. (I typed it that way on purpose.) Brené opens us to the power of collective effervescence, mediated to us through experiences of joy, pain, music, and practices of faith. Her main point, and we agree, is that in sharing joy and pain together, we are certainly braving the wilderness.
To get yourself prepped for this episode, go ahead and think about your first and favorite concert experiences. Try to remember the ways that you felt connected to others around you. How long-lasting was the connection? Also remember moments of collective pain: 9/11, the explosion of the Challenger, the Oklahoma City bombing, Newtown Connecticut... remember how it felt to be in moments of intense pain with others around you.
Once you have those memories in your mind and those feelings in your gut... you're ready to hit play.
Don't forget to post your memories in the comments section!
This week we're reading and discussing Chapter 5, "Speak Truth To Bullshit. Be Civil." Reflecting on Brené's experiences talking about gun ownership, difficulties managing her workload, "fitting in culture," and more, we found ourselves (#1) appreciating the difference between lies and BS and (#2) really struggling with the tension between speaking up for truth and practicing curiosity in relationships.
We'd love to know what you think about this chapter and how it's working on you during this season of learning how to BRAVE the wilderness. Leave your thoughts in the comments section.
Welcome back, wilderness bravers! This week we're really in the thick of the season. Lenten practices are getting more difficult, and it seems like the end will not come. Be strong! We've still got a lot of work to do!
In this fourth episode we talk about trauma and pain, and how often, these two lie behind our anger and hate. Brené gives us some really powerful examples from her experience. A man whose wife was killed in a terrorist attack in Paris, preparing her daughter for college, and history of dehumanization in genocides.
In reading and processing this chapter, we were left asking the question: What is the re-humanizing work happening in the world? AND How might God be calling us to join in?
We'd love to know what you think!
Do you know the difference in loneliness and being alone? Do you ever feel "that lonely feeling?"
In this episode of the Wilderness podcast, we talk about all things lonely. How did we get so lonely and what can we do to remedy the overwhelming loneliness that exists in our world and in our lives? As we discuss the third chapter of Braving the Wilderness, we think about the many factions we have sorted ourselves into. We explore why it is that we are more likely to double-down on group identity and party lines than we are to acknowledge complexity and converse with nuance. And, we reckon with the reality that if we want to be wilderness bravers, we have to get outside of our sorted factions and move into the chaos.
Listen in and join the conversation! Let us know what you think by leaving your thoughts and questions in the comments section!
In this second episode we explore the concepts of belonging, spirituality, identity, and true belonging. As the conversation evolves, it becomes clear that there is a very real tension between standing alone and standing together in community. We embellished Brené’s definition of spirituality to include aspects of spiritual practice and accountability, which help us to become more spiritual, more grounded, and more rooted in our identities as beloved children of God. From that grounded, spiritual place, we explore what it looks like to engage the wilderness, which is the world around us.
Listen in and let us know what you think!
Can you believe it is Lent already? Some of you may be asking, what is Lent? Short version is: it’s the time of year we set intentions (give something up, take on a spiritual practice, etc.) to make us aware of our humanity and our human finitude. For this reason, we begin the season on Ash Wednesday hearing the words “From dust you cam and to dust you will return,” or “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.”
It is an interesting season because as we are called to face our sinfulness, we are also reminded of our beloved-ness. Two sides of the same human coin. We are deeply loved by God and we are made painfully aware that we are not God, we fall short.
Sometimes we can get stuck in that second part and become withdrawn, complacent, and static. We see huge problems in our world: violence, war, hatred, prejudice, poverty, hunger, etc. and we refuse to engage because we don’t know how.
That’s why we chose Brené Brown’s book, Braving the Wilderness, for this season. It’s a field guide for engaging the wilderness (a.k.a. our world) and it all starts with her quest for true belonging (which is a quest I think we can all relate to). So just as Christians around the world are wrestling with the tension of beloved-ness and sinfulness, Brené gives us this beautiful little book on belonging and wilderness. Listen in and see how those two tensions are inextricably woven together.
In this final episode on Making Room we explore ways that we can begin to create for ourselves a rhythm of hospitality. Beginning with gratitude, recognizing the culture of busy-ness, and continuing to share the stories of hospitality are three ways that we can resist mainstream culture that keeps us separated, blind, and estranged from one another. Additionally, we have to recognize that we cannot host every stranger all the time. We are humans and we need time for rest and renewal.
If we can structure our lives around these principles, we can begin to incorporate sacred hospitality into every area of life: in our hearts, in our homes, in our churches, in our workplaces, and yes, even in our politics.
Considering these final two chapters (8 & 9), we saw many opportunities for overlap in our own lives and in the congregation we serve, Myers Park Baptist. Through our tactics on small groups and the Awakening to Immigrant Injustice series, we are already beginning to break down barriers that have been built over time. How will you begin breaking down those barriers? How is God calling you to do the next small thing to become more hospitable? We'd love to know your thoughts!
We hope you enjoy this last episode! Stay tuned for our new series on Brene Brown's newest book, Braving the Wilderness. In-person small groups are welcoming new members now for this book study. Check out the options here: https://myersparkbaptist.org/event/braving-the-wilderness-group/
Welcome back after a couple of weeks off for Christmas and New Years travel! Did you all put your hospitality to the test in this season? If so, we want to know all about it! Add your story in the comments section!
In this episode we're doing a few things new.
First, we've invited a guest to be on the podcast (isn't that hospitable of us?). His name is Daniel and he's a new member at MPBC.
Next, we've moved into the realm of Disney Theme Songs with our musical selection. To all of you who followed simply for the classic rock and grunge, I'm sorry. To all those parents out there who have forgotten what decent music sounds like... this one is for you! Really, though, I can't believe we hadn't thought about this song for our musical introduction yet! Thanks Daniel for helping out with that one!
And finally, we're in a new section of the book called "Recovering the Practice." So we're moving from history and information to practical stuff. How do we begin to do this thing called hospitality? Where are the limits and tensions? In this episode, focusing on Chapter 7, we talk about tensions between scarcity and abundance, holy possibility and human limitation, arrogance and humility. It's clearly a jam-packed conversation.
As you listen and reflect on your own work with this chapter, consider what your own limits and boundaries might currently be. How is God calling you to stretch those places and lean into something a little more vulnerable... a little more risky... and a little more welcoming?
In Chapter 6, we move toward the margins. Pohl brings us up to speed on the historical migration of Christian practice from the margins, where it emerged, to the center - thank you Constantine! While the normalization of Christian practice is more complex than one post, one podcast, or one chapter can cover, Pohl helps us understand why the practice of sacred hospitality becomes more difficult when the practitioners are connected with social, political, and economic power.
In this chapter, we meet some model citizens who have used their social locations, their wealth, and their access to resources as a means of moving further into the margins and welcoming all kinds of strangers in the spirit of faithful hospitality. Some of the most notable are Fabiola, Olympias, and a name more familiar to most of us... Dorothy Day.
Each of these faithful women took their own economic securities and used them to offer "home" to strangers, refugees, and anyone who came seeking welcome. Their incredible stories cause us to wonder how we might use our lives and our resources to expand our welcome as a congregation and as individuals. What resources do we have that we might use to love and welcome strangers in need of refuge?
One additional (and necessary) piece of the chapter is that Pohl reminds us of the necessity to become marginal. A host cannot fully welcome another I the host is unfamiliar with marginality. Do you have any experiences of marginality or exclusion that might help you better host others?
To harken back to the previous chapter... How might we become "bridge people" who understand both the world of power and the world of disempowerment? Connectivity and disconnection? Centrality and marginality? Participation and exclusion?