Tag Archives: friends

Back from General Assembly

It’s good to be home.

I am back from Nashville, where a whole bunch of Christians gathered for worship, business, thinking, praying, fun, and work. It was a bit of a recharge for me, even though such big events tend to be somewhat exhausting for me, especially when I am volunteered to do stuff. This year, I did just a single workshop on young adult networking around anti-racism work. Otherwise, I was able to float a little.

Highlights for me include getting to catch up with a bunch of old friends, meeting some new friends who are excited about the Table, hearing great speakers like Brian McLaren, Marian Wright Edelman, Fred Craddock, and Soong-Chan Rah, participating in some cool conversations about loving neighbors, and being in downtown Nashville.

Tuesday night of GA was especially unique because of a simple immigration vigil young, attended by a group of young and old. You can see me in the first picture below (on the right), praying with our General Minister & President as we began our journey along a short walk downtown. We gathered in a larger crowd then to pray for justice in our nation, yearning for compassion and hope. It was a nice way to take ourselves from structured business sessions to the real world for a time.

Enjoy the pictures – can’t wait to share more with you!

Nathan spotted at the immigration rally

immigration rally at general assembly 2011

Immigration rally @ nashville 2011

It’s Okay to Mourn.

Nathan & Emily at the State FairI’m here in my church office, listening to Akron/Family’s newest album after a busy morning and a beautiful memorial service for a dear friend.

And as I am thinking, I got to say to this – especially to us guys – it’s okay to mourn.

Grief (from dictionary.com) means “keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss; sharp sorrow; painful regret.”

Grief is big and broad. It includes life changes – like new jobs, moves, relationships, church families, and so on. But it also includes death and dying, which is what we most naturally think of when we think about grief.

When my wife and I moved from DC to Dallas, we grieved for a while. Dallas is a great city, but DC is also a great place. We left behind friends, familiar roles, favorite restaurants, and warm memories. Dallas required us to start over. There is some joy in that, starting over and all, but it’s tough too. It took us a while to find some new favorites and new friends… and hey, it’s still ongoing.

In other words, we grieved.

Sometimes, in life, we assign grieving to just funerals and so on, forgetting that it’s bigger. And sometimes, we don’t even allow ourselves to grieve at the loss of loved ones. We say things like, “they are in a better place now.” Or “God needed another angel.” Or “it was God’s plan.” Personally, I understand what people are trying to say when they say those things, but it’s not always helpful.

It’s okay to grieve, to cry, to lament, to weep, to experience the flow of emotions (which can include joy and laughter), and to not get over it quickly.

It’s okay to mourn.

This Sunday, my message is going to be about death & dying, how we have permission to lament the loss of loved ones in our lives, even if it means getting angry at God. For a sneak peek, check out the Mourner’s Bill of Rights. Is there anything in there that surprises you? Do you agree with it? Have you followed it in your life? Why or why not?

- Nathan


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