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Oriented to Love— Introduction to the Series

Posted February 23, 2014 by Marg Herder

Love

Posts inspired by the Oriented to Love dialog on Where She Is:
Introduction to the Series
Of the Mystery and Miracles

Questions and Consequences
All these Words
What Am I Really Afraid Of? 
The Huge Knot of Misunderstanding 
The Unbelievable Bottom Line (on the Evangelicals for Social Action website)

 

February 6-8, 2014, I participated in Evangelicals for Social Action’s second Oriented to Love dialog. It was held in a beautiful convent just outside of Philadelphia.

Over the course of three days, twelve people, selected for their differing viewpoints, life experiences, and sexual orientations, simply spent time together and discussed “sexual diversity and the body of Christ.”

Here’s what the Oriented to Love Dialog guide says about the event:

“This dialogue is about expressing our love for our brothers and sisters in Christ—gay (both those committed to celibacy and those who are not) and straight and questioning, young and old, male and female—through the fine art of listening. But it is also about expressing that love by daring to share your own self, your own story. Mutual openness and vulnerability are key to making this experience a success.”

There was, from the very start, much openness and vulnerability, and though I’m not sure the term “success” applies, I think the experience was something none of us will ever forget.

The discussion was moderated by ESA’s Kristyn Komarnicki, editor of Prism magazine. Kristyn’s leadership before the event was compassionate and calming. Her work as moderator during the event was so seamless and transparent that I considered her the thirteenth participant.

I met Kristyn last year at The Justice Conference and consider her a valued friend and colleague. She suggested I apply to take part in the dialog. The Oriented to Love dates conflicted with another important event I had planned to attend, but there was something that kept me from declining right away. After a few days of consideration, despite the fact that I felt terrified by the thought of attending, it became clear I felt called to apply.

When I look back on my spiritual journey, it is remarkable how often being incredibly frightened can be seen as a huge flashing green arrow pointing right at where I need to go. Scared silly? Run. Not away, but toward.

As I write this, two weeks have gone by since I met with Kristyn and the other participants, and every day I’ve been trying to figure out how to tell you about it. I need to tell you what it meant to me and how it changed me. I need to tell you that She was there in a way I’ve never experienced before. I need to tell you what it felt like. But the trouble is, I’m still not sure I can put any of it into words, because the important stuff that happened there in that convent didn’t have anything to do with words.

But I’m going to try anyway. Over the next week, I’m going to share a series of posts about what happens when people of faith come together to be brave about something choked with fear and misunderstanding.

Kristyn picked Sarah Bareilles’ song “Brave” as the theme song for the dialog. I thought it would be appropriate to share it with you.  The words are perfect.

 

 

 

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