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Knowledge & News
Thought provoking topics and series, necessary news and information.
5 years ago, when we started attending Collective, it was due to my son coming home from having attended a service here. He was in 8th grade, and was going through the confirmation process at FUMC. One of the requirements for completing the confirmation process was to attend a different service than you otherwise attend with your mentor.
Our kids loved it because they felt listened to and heard as young people. Often times it seems, we “want” our youth to participate in various church activities, and even in general non-church related activities, but when it comes down to it, their voices don’t really matter. Kids know this, this is no secret. But not at Collective. This was different. I loved that all my kids wanted to attend church, and would attend even if we weren’t able to, or didn’t feel like it. They would still attend. That alone, speaks volumes about Collective. I have at times struggled with the lack of formality ( weird right?) because I was raised in a very traditional and conservative church. I still sometimes miss the traditions and rituals that I was raised practicing. One of the things that I am so grateful for though, is the mix of traditions and cultures. I feel like our congregation is one of such inclusion. I love that we can bring in a part of a different culture or custom and sort of make it our own.
I think Ben, Caitlin and Jess do such a brilliant job of making everything so mindful and purposeful. Nothing happens on a whim. It may seem to some as whimsy, but there is nothing that is haphazard about what we are doing. Everything is so thought through, planned, nurtured, examined, conversed over. It is something that happens weekly too at Occupy. It happens at Pints and Parables, in our discussions during the service, etc. It is so very thoughtful. Everything that happens here is so very thoughtful. It is the absolute best of everyone, whenever you can give it. That is such a big deal. Don’t you think? I do.
"I think we are looking at each other with the eyes that God looks at us. As just people, who love and want to be loved."
My degree is in Social Work, and I sometimes struggle with the term “misfit faith community.” I mean, I get it, we are to some degree. But I think that is maybe what other people might call what we are doing. I think we are looking at each other with the eyes that God looks at us. As just people, who love and want to be loved. Who feel and want to feel - to feel good about each other, about themselves, about the work that we each do, independently and together. I don’t always feel like I belong, but I don’t necessarily feel like a misfit. I don’t see any of you through those eyes either. I feel very loved here, very accepted - for exactly who I am. I love that.
We are living authenticity, with and through each other. That is really the only thing that matters. Loving each other exactly as we are, loving ourselves for exactly who we are. I am positive that we don’t all believe exactly the same things, but I still respect you and your decisions, and choices to believe what you want. I think this is such a basic principle - and yet, one of the toughest to do. I mean, I don’t feel like it is tough to do. But I think conceptually, It is one of the harder things for people to do - to accept and respect each other despite their differences. And to truly listen to each other and to be heard. I think these are the things that everyone wants - to be heard. I feel heard here, my children feel heard here. We as a family feel heard, and loved and respected and cherished.
The meals were abundant, the letters, the phone calls, etc, but it was so much more than that. So much more. Have you ever heard people say “They were lifted up in
prayer, or they felt lifted up in prayer?” I have, and it hasn’t always been super succinct with me - my authentic person, deep down. It sounds a little … um, corny sometimes. Like just something you are supposed to say.
I truly felt, for the first time ever - Lifted up in prayer. I felt bathed in light - almost all of the time. Weird thing to say or to admit maybe. Sounds a little strange. But I felt so very supported, and loved - in every way. I feel like the gifts of love and individual authenticity that you each gave me, or my family, my mom, or dad, was so epic, and of such generous proportion, I just am left speechless. I FEEL LOVE.
These things are everything. They are all of the things that matter. Genuineness, love, acceptance, kindness, grace, decency, a moral compass, caring for all things. These are the things that matter.
I have learned the hard way, unfortunately, that you can’t take any of the things we have here on this earth with us to that next place we go. This is where it matters. This is where the rubber meets the road. I am glad to participate in this pledge drive with my family, and with you my church family. I am honored really, to help us to afford the things that really matter. You matter. Us meeting matters. What Ben and Caitlin have to say and offer to each of us matters. How we treat others in our community matters. How we treat others in the world matters. This is our essence.
Please consider giving to the things that really matter to you. Please join me and my family in supporting something that really matters. I love you all. Thank you for being a part of my family. You matter to me.
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.