Tag Archives: alone

good men and the practice of resistance [part 2]

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It’s easy to sit in our offices or living rooms, around kitchen tables or restaurant tables, and talk about what we would do if we were in someone else’s shoes. We see others as those in positions of power, and yet we look at ourselves as either the victims or the martyrs. We see ourselves as those who have been taken down by good men gone wrong, or by the bad men gone wrong. Either way, we imagine ourselves as standing for something and going down because of it.

I do, at least. It occurs to me in writing this that not everyone feels that way. We are all of us trying to figure out what we are doing while pretending like we know what is going on. We have all been told by someone above us that we aren’t supposed to let them see us sweat, so we push forward as if we have any idea what forward should to look like.

And all the while, we see others in the positions of power, and ourselves as merely players in the game. We see others as those we are willing to follow, or as those we desire to complain about.

And yet we are, of course, charting the course of the future.

And I think about what it means to either participate in or push back against the regime. I think about what it means to either participate in or push back against the resistance.

I have found myself sitting on concrete slabs in the middle of downtown parks considering whether to blindly trust those in power, or to ask questions and push harder toward what it might mean to be the church in the world, even when I have no idea what that means. I have found myself sitting around tables, weighted with silence, because the powers of blindness are at work in the world and my paycheck has depended on them, but I’m not sure what the next step needs to mean for me. I have found myself in meetings around conference room tables where the truth of the kingdom is harder to demand than the appeasement of the rich Christians who are demanding solace and the protection of status quo, and I’m not sure which I’m willing to push for or lean into. I have found myself in tears with my sisters and brothers on living room floors asking what it will cost to seek first the kingdom before the education of my children, the safety of my family, the reputation of my career, and the pursuit of my own American dream.

And the answers are never easy.

I have found myself, in all of these situations, pretending as though I am all alone so I can have great pity for myself that I am asking these difficult questions and doing the best I can, at least. My pity makes me think it’s honorable. Until, I realize how arrogant I can so quickly become.

I have never been alone.

Not only have I never been alone because God himself has been there, however cheesy and ious that may sound. But I have never been alone also because I have been sitting on those concrete slabs with others. I have been sitting around tables, sitting in conference rooms, sitting in tears on living room floors with others who are pushing through the very same things. We don’t always end up in the same places, but we told the truth together.

It is these same people that I have clinked glasses with in celebration and in hope, because we know we are on the edge of something better and truer and a little more hopeful than the places in which we find ourselves or once found ourselves. And it is in doing life with these women and men who have been known for breaking rules and asking questions that I am pushing against the regime into the resistance, knowing that while the world goes not well…the kingdom comes.

I have no choice, really. Forward it is.

Pine Tree

This post, written by Donald Jordan, is part 2 of a two-part post. Part  1 is a guest post by Wes Gristy which can be found by clicking HERE.

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small circles


I sincerely hope for good results,
but I have become a good deal disillusioned
over ‘big’ conferences and large gatherings.
I pin my hopes to quiet processes and small circles,
in which vital and transforming events take place.
+ Rufus Jones

Over the last few weeks, I’ve found myself in small circles,
I’ve been sitting around high-top tables and around piles of plastic bottles and stickers.
I’ve been sitting around conference room tables and around coworkers’ offices.
I’ve been kneeled around communion rails and sitting around workshop training rooms.

There has been good intention in planing and good work in presenting
There has been insight and growth

But the magic happens after
in the conversations we find ourselves stuck in
the new acquaintances who will become our partners in the work
the faces paired with names who will become our collaborators
the other small circles on whom our small circles will become dependent.

And in this magic
there’s the promise of
the upside-down kingdom
lights out
curtain closed
microphones off
ties undone
shirts untucked
shoes kicked off
clinking of glasses and
laughter that steals our breath

And in this magic
there’s the promise of
the upside-down kingdom
and what has
always been done like only God does
when the small circles take on
the principalities and powers
the systems and the injustices
the sicknesses and the ignorances
in ourselves and in others
and we see
a little bit clearer
the reflection in the mirror of who we’ve been made to be.

In the small circles and quiet processes
we pin our hopes.
This is what we’ve always done.

Pine Tree Dr.

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rule-breakers and peace-makers

Although we think we are all alone,
we are all overflowing
in the margins;
we are filling up the outer-spaces

left by the normal
rule-keepers and

left by the normal
answer-takers and

We find ourselves recklessly seeking
and moreso even recklessly wondering
what it means to be rule-breakers and peace-makers.

So we wonder around
thinking we are on our own
working toward kingdom come
only to find that the road toward
the kingdom is filled with
rule-breakers and
peace-makers and
law-changers and
question-askers and
story-tellers and

And it is in this work
that we bump into our counterparts
who have been feeling,
that they are all alone.

But in their work
and in their grieving
and in their praying
and in their hoping
they have bumped into us
and we have bumped into them

and the pity lessens
and the courage strengthens

and we find ourselves joined by so many others
living and trying to live
in the margins
pushing toward
the kingdom come
on earth as it is in heaven.

Pine Tree

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no longer on our own

you’ve been walking a while
mostly in the dark
trying your best to make a map
of where you’ve been
in hopes that you can make a guess
of where you’re going

but the hill has been upward
for such a long time now
you’ve almost decided
you’re not going anywhere or
you’ve been pointed in the wrong direction

but you’ve done your best
to hold out in hopefulness
that you’re almost to the break in the climb

but it’s been in the walking
mostly alone
that you’ve learned the deep value
of holding on to the lantern
with a dim and fickle light
because it’s all you’ve had
to make out where you’ve been
and maybe where you’re going

but we see you now
coming up on the break
in the hill you’ve been climbing
mostly in the dark
mostly alone

and we know what you’re feeling,
mostly we do,
because we remember that climb very well

because of what we remember
we feel our own hearts
jump in our own chests
because of what we remember well

the lost and lone ranger
we remember the fear
we remember the conversations with ourselves
we remember the almost giving up
we remember the almost freaking out
we remember the almost giving in
we remember wondering if we’ve lost our minds
we remember the choice of going back to the crowds
because it felt like the only alternative
to being lost and alone forever

all here together
we now see a glowing
just above the crest of the hill
and all here together
we know that soon
our lights will wrestle the shadows together

you see us
we see you

suddenly that walk was worth it
suddenly the lost and alone and the lesson inside them
have done their work
have done their time

and now, all together
we walk with the light
wrestling the shadows
learning the path

the hill always breaks
and there’s always a crowd ahead of us
waiting, with hearts jumping in chests

because finding each other
is as thrilling as being found

We are no longer on our own.

León, Nicaragua

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