I've been considering the power of confession and community these days. I suppose this is due in large part to the fact that, for the first time in 35 years, I broke down and visited an honest-to-God doctor of medicine whose particular field of expertise happens to be the inner workings of the human noggin. Some prefer to call these people "counselors," but I rather prefer to call them "noggin docs." It seems a more accurate descriptor. Come to find out, I've not dealt well with some of the issues relating to Titus' health, and I needed a bit of navigational assistance to get through some of those blacker waters. Without unpacking all of that here (because you really don't need to crawl into my noggin, and it'd be rather embarrassing anyhow), let me just say that I've found this kind of unpacking with a honest-to-God doctor to be most helpful. I reckon I shouldn't have waited 35 years, and I think now that I'll not wait another 35 years to go back.
Anyhow, we discussed briefly the power of community, folks that can help hold your feet to the fire, or either throw you a lifeline depending on what you might need at the time. Community--that often misused, misunderstood word. I realize now that Community is not all bread, wine, and jolly laughs around a common table. It's something else. Community shares loads, shares accounts, and--if it's really good--helps share responsibility. I've had that kind of community, and let me say it's sweet.
In any event, these things have set me to looking for community, or metaphors of community. This week, the internet served as one metaphor--so many good people sharing good words in spaces that were not their own. I reckon this is one aspect of community, the yielding of personal space for the sake of others.
It seems that all the rare-and-good people are releasing books 'round about the same time this year. Amber and I have extended a dinner invitation to a few of these books. "Come on in; take up space on my mantel," we've said. This week, we welcomed Emily Freeman's newest book into our home; in fact, we allowed her a piece of the prime Haines' household real estate.
Have you picked up your copy of A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live? Grab a copy, explore all the ways you were created to create, even if you do not consider yourself an artist, musician, or writer.
I've said it before--I'm John Blase's number one fan. The Misery overtones are not lost on me, and just so you know, I've never once considered locking him in an Ozark bed and breakfast. In any event, this week he popped into A Deeper Church and wrote an incredible poem entitled "Vigilante." In part, he writes:
Now my eyes are tired and my beard gray in patches. But my nose has grown keen, able to smell the soul’s feet. So if you come leaping and dancing with the professed scent
of the Lord on your skin, know well I will be sniffing like wolves. I am not jaded. It is because love does not behave rudely, and the Lord told me to use the senses God gave me.
This is me living in trusting you. Even though I doubt, I still ask. I do the work of asking because I believe that you provide, and often times it is through the hands, feet, and mouths of my fellow human beings. I ask, physically speaking the words because I believe you want to free me from the silence of shame as part of your healing in my life.
Do you know Addie Zierman? You should. She was once on fire, but that's another story altogether (an entire book, in fact). In any event, this week, she shared her space with Preston Yancey. In "One Small Change: Letting Go of the Plastic Jesus," Yancey uses his Old Testament chops to explore the idea of the strangers among us. You won't want to miss this one.
Perhaps this is a stretch, but I love the way Spotify creates a platform--a community, if you will--for musical artists. This week, I've been spinning various tunes, including Laura Marling's most recent offering Once I was an Eagle. She is the consummate poet, a dame with a fantastic sense of lyrical timing. Give a listen to "You Know," in which she croons, "bless all of those mothers who do all that they can just to take all of their faults out of the line."
This album may not be your cup of tea, but I'm guessing that more than one of you will dig it.
Enjoy a little more Marling, this time, live. She has a way about her. Doesn't she?