? Get Whole Holiday 2015 ❤️
Happy Holidays from your Get Whole friends!!
This photo was from our second annual Christmas party. It was a blast and crazy and weird and wonderful. If you’ve attended our Weekend Event then you’ve experienced our openness — no topic or opinion is off the table.
With everyone around the dinner table, I sat at the end and watched the GW staff talk, and I mean talk openly. People were laughing until their sides hurt—bringing up politics, refugees, Islam, theological debate, telling funny stories from the past that no one would believe—on and on they went.
I participated, but mostly I was just sitting & soaking it all in. Our group is kind of diverse. We have singles & marrieds, re-marrieds, black & white, interracials, widows, conservatives, liberals, and age differences.
What I enjoyed the most was watching them talk about heated topics and even disagreeing at times—but without it getting in the way of their friendship & commitment to one other. This is community. This is fun. I couldn’t help but be proud—and I’ll tell you why soon.
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I value close friendships—I always have. Even when I was really young I could have a conversation with someone that barely knew me and they would open up. I’m not that big on quickie, cliche conversations. They wear me out. I like to have an opinion and I like to allow you to have your own.
I want to talk about the stuff that is uncomfortable. I want to challenge the systems. But everyone does not enjoy this—at least not at first. Fake is easy; real is not. Fake is boring; real is not. Fake needs agreement; real does not. Fake is quick; real takes some time.
I didn’t really set out for this, it kinda just happened. I didn’t even try that hard really. In my past endeavors I recruited and sold the idea of getting involved. When Get Whole started it was just Mel and I. I just posted on Facebook that we were doing a new class that would meet on Wednesdays. We opened the room up and did our thing. I didn’t know what would become of it.
Our very first class – September 2012
Then it happened. Nikki approached Mel one night and opened up about some things & said her heart was all about our message. Jane told me after the 13 week class that she was very interested in helping out. Jennifer brought me a cake and we talked. Sharon, my mother in law, told Mel one night that she wanted to support Get Whole in any way she could. Paul told me in the hall one Sunday he wanted to help (he ended up marrying Jen & it seems souses are automatically in). Then Deb, then Cleo and the rest is history.
From talking to each one of them over the last couple years I know that they have partnered with us because they believe in the message & its importance. The other thing they all have said in multiple ways is that they enjoy the spirit of the class and our openness. They value the honesty, the ability to talk about things that most people won’t touch & the complete, raw transparency.
In my post Real Is the New Black I talked about the importance of being real & open. Obviously we can’t be real with anyone and everyone. They may use it to hurt us. But I do think people want to see genuine humans, struggling through life—people they can relate to—people that aren’t afraid to ask the yucky questions.
In America not many are real. We want everything neat and clean. We want black and white answers; we want lists and formulas. I want to vote for the guy that is against abortion because obviously that is the main thing wrong with our country. Never mind that he favors laws that allow our country to profit from modern-day slavery & child-run sweatshops.
There are always different ways to frame issues. The Bible itself is even vague—very vague even on issues we pretend are cut and dry. I was speaking a couple weeks ago, and I laughed then said, “Do you know why the Bible is argued about so much? It’s because it argues with itself many times.”
Anytime I hear people giving pat answers for complex situations, I hear insecurity. They probably don’t realize it but their need for a perfect, solid answer is really fear, not trust.
I used to be like this. I saw everything black and white. I thought those other people were idiots or just didn’t know the truth. But I started to ask myself, how can half the country be ______ (fill in the blank.)
Then I did something that I encourage every person to do. I read their stuff, listened to them talk, looked at their point of views. When we all stick together and chant the same thing we are small. We set up straw-man arguments. We talk about other leaders with different perspectives and bring up their personal failures. We twist, we prod and poke—everything so we can feel better about being on “the right side.”
Peace & Growth
Sitting around that table, watching & listening made my heart swell. I thought, “This is what it is all about! Heaven will be just like this!” God isn’t worked up and neither should we be.
That evening we ate, talked, laughed and ate again. We passed out some gifts and moved to the couches and talked some more. Eventually I looked at my watch and it was almost midnight. I couldn’t believe it. Anyone that knows me, knows this is not my norm. I like to do my deal and get going—like “ok we did the staff party thing now let’s go!”
There is so much peace in our community.
Real growth happens when people feel free and able to express their thoughts without fear.
I’ve said this before—change is coming, people are tired of playing the religion game, we all want real. Let’s agree, disagree and take care of the least of these.
Turn off Fox News & go buy a single mom some groceries. Quit reading your huge bible in the lunchroom and invite the atheist out for drinks after work. Stop bugging Catholics to come to your “Spirit filled church” and attend a Mass with them. Look for the beauty in their traditions—look for the symbolism, its beautiful. Stop acting like you are God and saying non-christian continents are going to hell. Jesus said He would draw all men to Him—I just happen to believe Him.
Let’s remember the real Gospel this season. Jesus came to save humanity & at least in His mind it was much more than getting us from here to there one day. The Gospel is summed up in His name, Emanuel—God With Us. By the way, that’s the title of my message this weekend. I will be speaking for all three weekend services at Grace. [Event info here…]
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from Melanie and I and the wonderful staff of Get Whole!!!
Peace and wholeness on your journey!