A Community of Resistance

Ben Oliver November 4, 2018

 The theme of this year’s stewardship campaign is Believe and Support. Those two things are not too hard to do, when it feels like that’s all you all have done for us since we arrived a year and a half ago.

 My family and I started coming here about 1.5 years ago. We had been at a fabulous church in Fenton for 4 years, but the church was quite small.  We wanted our children to have a community and we wanted to shrink our footprint and to spend less time driving and more time participating.  We have 3 girls and just received our first foster child.  On our first Sunday here, our girls fell in love with Ms. Angie.   Gwennie and Maurin Day, our two oldest, can tell us every Sunday about the Good News they are learning and DOING in their classes.   Ms. Angie is a living saint my, dear friends—be blessed. She believes in and supports each and every one of our children.

Just after we made the switch, we were completely blindsided by a life crisis. Neither of us, were prepared for the stress, anxiety, and near paranoia we experienced during that time. We could not afford the counseling and professional guidance we needed.  BUT, thanks be to God and to the generosity of this church for sponsoring the Gerholz Center.  YOU helped us get what we so desperately needed. That is the GOSPEL, my friends.  We received eyes to see our lives anew and it helped give us the ears we needed to hear well in a time of chaos. We were both able to get the help and tools we needed for moving forward confidently and constructively.

Nae and I have been pushed too—and that’s what I enjoy—being pushed.  Joey’s and Paul’s sermons push me to not spiritualize the Kingdom and my faith, but to “keep it real” as they say ...that’s what we’re about right? Incarnating. These good men are prophets for me.  I don’t mean that in any weird foretelling of the future kind of way, but more in the traditional sense—they help me, week after week, pull back the curtain on my life personally and politically to see what needs WORK.

Yet another Saintly person my family has encountered—and truly there are too many to name—is Kim Skaff. This woman has done and continues to do amazing work connecting with partners in our community, like the Durant Tuuri Mott program.  Her work along with similar work done by countless others creates space for us to, as I said earlier, keep it real. 

And in this past year there have been so many other wonderful things— pastoral coffees, Formational Breakfasts & lunches with other men, Women’s Bible study, Family dinners on Fridays and Wednesday’s, meal Train for us as we welcomed our foster child, Sunday morning community breakfast, trunk or treat, human trafficking resistance—Lord have mercy.

I hear the gospel calling us to offer the world a joyful dance.   And, to provide resistance to the sad tired liturgies of politics and unwitting consumerism.  As we move into a season filled with both of those things, please first consider believing in and supporting this saintly and joyful band of a resistance community.  I love and believe it every time pastor Novak reminds us that our offering time on Sundays is a protest both personal and public resisting the urge to consume and living another way.  Thank you, Joey for pushing me to remember that anything I have is not mine, but it’s a gift.  And gifts are best when they’re shared. Help these prophets and saints grow our relationships both together and with other good workers in this Nazareth-town.   Thank you.