Over years of leading support teams, several people suggested I write a blog because they thought my support updates made for good reading. I’m not sure I have a lot to offer, but I enjoy writing.
This isn’t new—it’s actually a resurrection of the old blog I had about a decade ago . . . the one I used for the aforementioned updates. The title is inspired by one of my favorite books, Eugene Peterson’s Leap Over a Wall. It’s an honest survey of the life of King David with all of its ups and downs. In it, Peterson uses the phrase a longer stride and a larger embrace to describe David’s turning point from shepherd to king.
Years after fatefully picking up the well-used copy from a free book table in Hakone, Japan, I’m still drawn to the depth of possibilities in that phrase. I’ve kept the title because it is still what I want to be about.
a longer stride and a larger embrace
more and more
constantly learning and ever growing into the fullness of who I was created to be
While this may not be helpful to anyone else, it is helpful to me.
I used to work with a friend with whom I would discuss the crazy ideas in my head about faith, theology, policies and international relations, justice, art, culture, and any other number of topics that we encountered in life. Being on the more quiet side, I would store up my questions and observations during large group discussions (“large” meaning two or more people I didn’t know on a personal level) and later spill them out on him by dropping by his desk and saying, “I have thoughts.” Our friendship was a safe space to let my guard down with what I protected somewhat fearfully: my percolating thoughts.
Our lives have since gone in different directions, so these ideas have been collecting in my mind. The safety of his friendship provided an environment for me to grow in confidence, to learn to believe in the validity of my thought process even if my conclusions need some tweaking, and to realize that my ideas are potent but they do not define me. I’m forever grateful for the discussions and explorations we shared, but it’s time I grew up and learned how to protect my soul without fearfully hiding it.
My storage space for all these thoughts is at full capacity and my friend is no longer readily accessible to help me process them and make room for more, so here they are. Some will be like essays (I apologize in advance for the length!) because they are complex concepts that have been cooking in my brain for some time. Some will be mini sagas—quick events that have drawn me to think more deeply. I’d appreciate any dialogue as we explore possibilities and point out pitfalls.
Comments are welcome here! Drawing from recent experience of leading a few chaotic but extremely fun group music lessons, I’m going to set a few ground rules for discussion from the outset:
- Kindness is essential. If you can’t say it compassionately, don’t say it—even if it is true. Once you’ve figured out how to present a truth kindly, go for it.
- Forgiveness is also essential. Offense happens even with the kindest intentions. If you hurt someone, apologize without excusing yourself or shifting blame. Wo/man up and accept responsibility! (I’ve always wanted to say that!) If you’ve been hurt, accept the apology and the fact that we are human and misunderstand each other sometimes. There is plenty of space and grace here for mistakes, but personal attacks will be removed.
- Define your terms. Conflict is more often fueled by confusion than by disagreement. Especially in a medium that is devoid of nonverbal cues, verbal clarity is more important than ever. (There’s a reason I use so many emojis.😉👍🏼🤗)
- Do your homework. Opinions are welcome, but please distinguish between opinions (yours or others’) and facts.
- As tension regarding worldviews increases, please refrain from inflammatory speech or labels. Think through what you share before you post it. I’d like to avoid identifying people by name when possible (especially if they haven’t granted permission) unless giving credit for published works. If something presents a possibility for putting anyone in harm’s way, it will be removed. Please understand this is not an issue of censorship, but of safety.