I in a house with two guys who are slightly younger than me. My block is in a part of the city that has an ify reputation, but my neighbors look out for each other. Many of those neighbors are involved in a church a couple blocks away that is known for a variety of creative projects: a community garden, a daycare, a book review, and a Community Development Corporation that takes on a variety of housing initiatives throughout the neighborhood. While it is not a church I personally attend, I have a lot of respect for what they do, and I hang out with congregants from there regularly.
I thought I would blog a little more about some of the books that have most influenced my life during the past few years. After reading his book, To Be Told, I drove four hours to St Louis to participate in a two-day conference put on by Dan Allender. The event was held at a big church, and I sat with hundreds of people as we listened to this man in his sixties talk for hours, never flinching from his story of being sexually-abused; of growing up with a father who barely spoke to him; about drug addictions and run-ins with the law; about how he accidental-ed his way into seminary with his best friend, a guy named Tremper Longman III; and about Allender’s long-term marriage with a woman who had a tendency to surprise him by jumping out of closets.
I am drawn to raw honesty. Brene Brown might call this “vulnerability.” In some contexts that have been life-giving to me, we have used the phrase “rigorous honesty.” It has been quite liberating for me to learn that I can show when I am hurting, that I don’t have to pretend to be perfect. I can just go ahead and resign from the dog and pony show.