Guest blog by Alissa Conner
This month, we invited our bloggers to write a “love letter” to the church. Here are their letters.
It is so easy to get bogged down in the mire of woe that surrounds the church world — or perhaps the world in general. I hear all around about how small you are getting, or how volunteers aren’t enough, or how we don’t talk like we used to. Still, I see a different side every day and I love you for it. I don’t just see the surface of change, but a depth that is still there and ever deepening. I am constantly astounded by the depths of your love. I watch the surge of care that surrounds a member or even stranger when they suffer tragedy and I am moved. You care so deeply and often silently flow together to take care of an injured party. You provide meals, rides, shoulders to cry on, financial support. It happens so often and so smoothly that often others don’t even know that it occurred.
In a world where most people believe that if we don’t agree we can’t be friends, you keep talking. You keep telling each other it is okay to disagree and still somehow challenge each other to think in new ways. You walk the balance between calling for justice and caring for difference beautifully.
I am grateful that you admit when you screw up. That you aren’t afraid to look your mistakes in the face and say we must be better. You then spend days and years contemplating the hows and whys so that we may move forward in intentional ways. You don’t claim to get it all right or have the monopoly on God. Instead you seek to build relationships with others who seek God too. You are humble but also joyfully Presbyterian.
It makes my heart glad to be a part of a church that embraces difficult topics. That believes people of all ages have a voice and that we should listen. It makes me love being a Presbyterian when I can tell others that our youth group talked about the gift of sexuality and relationships as well as which superpower would be the most useful. I smile to see that our women’s group talked about the names we use for God as well as how Solomon may have chosen which wife to spend his time with. I love that our young adults discussed how to faithfully choose new careers as well as the morality of different actions in a zombie apocalypse. Big topics and small, deep and ridiculous, you discuss them all. You find authentic relationship in embracing the silly and serious nature of our humanity and it is amazing.
I know that things aren’t perfect and that sometimes I get so busy that I forget to see the wonder. Still, I am overjoyed that we can cry and laugh together. For that and so much more I love you.
ALISSA CONNER is the associate pastor at St. Philip Presbyterian Church in Hurst, Texas. She and her husband Jay practice the art of mediation with their two large dogs and two small cats. The cats always somehow come out ahead. (St. Philip’s social media policy notes that Alissa’s views aren’t necessarily the church’s views.)