This is Not About How I Got Banned From a Four Campus Church.

i have seen entire kingdoms crumble because of the turn of the crowd.
because one person said “you are bad”
everyone else followed suit.
we are creatures of culture.
and when someone is attacking our tribe, we campaign to end them.
somewhere in science there is a reasoning for this.
an instinct to survive.
and survival depending on protecting one another.
these days our survival instinct kicks in via twitter wars and cold shoulders.
actions that seemingly have no consequence.
our mob mentalities make us feel connected and proud.
we are one and we are fierce.
we are unstoppable.
but what happens when we find ourselves on the outside?
has the crowd ever turned on you?
have the pitchforks been pointed your way?
i bet we have all experienced the wilderness.
the silence is killer.
you can feel the cold in the depths of your bones.
and our poor hearts are beating with heaviness like we’ve never known.
exhaustion overwhelms us.
and it is easy to see how many outsiders disappear.
when no one is to be found,
and the shots are relentless,
when no one can be trusted,
it can be hard to be human in these moments.
our heavy hearts were not meant to bear alone.
personally, i’ve been dealing with the aftermath of being thrown into the wilderness.
after a year of serving at church of the resurrection i was banned.
not from just the main campus, from all four campuses.
my church home was stolen and my friends scattered.
they stayed in their safe space.
and i was suddenly the outsider.
i’ve spent countless hours going through scenario after scenario of confronting them.
i vowed if i ever saw them in public i would kick them out.
no matter what it took. no matter how loud i had to yell.
people kept telling me anger was good. feel it.
but i wasn’t settled.
i never wanted anyone to feel the way i did that night and the days following.
i never wanted anyone to feel so small and unworthy that even church was off limits to them.
the place for the sinners and the lowest of the low.
finally i came to the conclusion that if i ever saw them again,
wherever that may be,
i would walk up to them,
look them in the eye,
extend my hand
and tell them
you are welcome here.
there is no winning if we are all against one another.
the loss was great and i deal with that pain every day.
at the end of the day, i choose love.
and inclusion.
this life is hard and i know all too well that we don’t get each other for long.
i’d rather walk hand in hand than on opposite sidewalks.
the darkness gets scary. let’s face the monsters together.
let your enemies go.
offer them a handshake. a bridge. a hard conversation over avocado toast.
(shouts to my millennials)
i hope you’ve never felt the pain.
but i know there are many who have.
and i hope you find some rest here.
and peace in knowing your worth is not found in other people.
you’ve had it the whole time.
and like i said.
this was not about how i got banned from church.
this message was not about the pain, it was about the healing.