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Knowledge & News
Thought provoking topics and series, necessary news and information.
Anabel shares how Collective's support for her trips to the DR have empowered her to serve, to reconnect to her roots, and educate her students in compassion, social justice, and global citizenship.
My name is Lisa, and this is my husband, Crenshaw. We’ve been coming to Collective for just over one and one-half years. Last year at this time, we had some medical stuff to deal with and we weren’t making it here very often. We were so glad that we could watch on You Tube, because Ben was doing a series then based on the book of 1st John called “Love Letter.” We really enjoyed that series and that theme, so we decided to bring it back this year with our own “Love Letter” to Collective…
We value, we’re different, we’ve traveled, we don’t make assumptions, we strive to avoid offense, we don’t assume, we believe, we do everything in the spirit of love and grace.
Lot’s of we in our Community Statement. We’re striving to live up to this community statement, this vision of our communal identity and way of being together, and so it’s the responsibility of this same WE to sustain and nurture it.
Maybe you’ve been with Collective from the beginning, so pledging support should be obvious. Maybe you’ve only watched online, come to a random event, or maybe you’re not connected to Collective at all. So why should you support it?
A gift to Collective is not a gift to Collective alone!
Last night, Heather shared some moving background of her journey, and coming to find her welcome and belonging at Collective.
"Collective is a refuge in the wilderness, a safe space where I find a welcome and acceptance of who I am."
This week has been an absolute gift. Not easy. Beautiful and tragic, in fact. But a gift.
As we’ve prepared for, and gotten into the pledge drive, I’ve been asking for, listening to, and curating stories from people about why Collective matters to them, what it means to them, and why they are willing to support it financially.
Lemme say, I’m a fan of serendipity. And it could be one of those things like, “When you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”, or “What you seek you will find.” But I have a sense that there’s more going on here. I think there’s something in the air. There is a life and energy in what we’re doing that is bigger than us. We are caught up in something, of which Collective is a particular, local, and incredibly important expression.
In addition to the stories I’ve been seeking out, this week provided an onslaught of stories that moved me in extraordinary ways. A few of these stories are connected to people who give to Collective, but most of them aren’t. These stories reminded me how important this work is.
I am a 39 year old dad who struggled for 14 years seeking (with God) to change my same-sex orientation. I tried everything in the book, from reparative therapy, to ex-gay conferences, countless failed attempts in search of a church community that could understand my journey and respect it. Then, ultimately, I married a woman, believing change would come the moment I said I DO. This all lead me to a moment where, for the first time in my life, I questioned my existence, but thank God I found the right therapist at the right time.
Peter, Angela & Joe did a great job of sharing what Collective means to them, the important things our budget makes possible, and the special community we share, where we live and invest in our values.
Let's consider Bart's Prayer. No, not Barth, the prominent Swiss Protestant Theologian; Bart Simpson, whose character has an endearing, but often mistaken arrogance. He’s not an ingrate, but he does seem ungrateful. We resonate with his anti-establishment, rule-breaking sense of autonomy, but even we must critique such a misguided sense of isolated independence.
For the next six weeks, as we do each year, we talk about the pledge drive and the importance of financial sustainability. Then we don’t say much more about it. We pledge the budget, then we go put it to work. In the coming weeks you’ll hear stories from Collective folks about why they give and what that means to them - in services, blog posts, emails. We’ll remind ourselves why this work is good, and important, and sacred. And, we’ll remind ourselves that it isn’t free. The best things in life aren’t. So lemme set us up a bit of a foundation, a baseline for our pledge drive.
We are a misfit faith community that gathers in DeLand on Sundays at 5pm. Come as you are.
We value highly the metaphor of journey. We’re different people from different places and backgrounds, representing an intergenerational community, and we’ve traveled different paths. So, we agree not to make assumptions about the person across from us, next to us, or in conversation with us. We challenge ourselves to be sensitive, knowing this community includes a diverse group of people from life-long followers of Jesus, to people who are just now open to the idea that God might exist. We strive to avoid offense, ask good questions, articulate and explain our responses. We don’t assume fluency in bible, spirituality, or Church language, because we believe the message of Jesus is not for Christianity, but for humanity. So, we do everything in the spirit of love and grace.
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