The phrase was coined one afternoon on the front porch if I remember right. The initial concept referred to the fact that there are 5 of us in my family and that we would commune on the regular with our hermano Daveed. 5 plus 1. I spent a little time, maybe 6 or 8 different episodes, ranting about various things on Instagram under the name Church of 6 last spring and summer. The list of folks who followed along was phenomenal. Good, goodpeople. And so the name morphed a little bit I suppose. I began to conceive of the 6th person being you. Being all of you. In a way like the 12th man refers to the whole crowd at a Seattle Seahawks football game. Remember crowds? Daveed and I think of getting tattoos sometimes with Co6. If I was an artist of any talent, I would try and design such a thing–maybe with fire and a rose. Or a sailboat with its mast on fire. Or maybe something else that I don’t know about yet…
But why? Great question. And the answer is for so many reasons. I was a part of a group of folks for about a decade here in town, and tasted some real deal goodness and grace. I learned a lot about myself during that time and a lot about Jesus. I read and studied on my own, and listened and learned from so many soul searching folks. I was able to lean on a group of men during some really difficult trials and was able to offer my shoulder or a laugh or a helping hand in kind. We loved each other. We learned more about loving each other. And in a great blessing we really liked each other, too. Some really good memories. Really good.
But… time and change and things happen. Pieces started moving and the strain became too much for the fledgling experiment to bear. In the swirl of trying to hang on as best we could, and approaching that rescue from all different angles with too much or too little urgency and with breakdowns in communication and emotions steaming and clouding out the grace that we knew was the way… well, friendships were broken. Broken.
I recognize and still agonize over my part in the tragedy of disintegration that unfolded. I want to be clear about that. I have, though, analyzed my motives and intentions for years now. I don’t fault myself in that arena. I know what I wanted to happen and why, and I had a pretty good vision of how to make it happen. I still believe to this day it could’ve worked out. I don’t know about should’ve… but it could’ve. But I’m off track. What I mean to say is that I know my motives and intentions were as pure as I could muster, but that I fully realize and appreciate that others didn’t and maybe couldn’t perceive it that way. I say that because it helps remind me. It helps me remember. It helps me emphasize to myself to grant Grace as freely as I possibly can. Because what I may perceive and what someone may be intending… those things may not line up. I don’t know the full story of where someone is coming from. I don’t know. I wish as Thoreau says, that we could see through another’s eyes for an instant, but that miracle isn’t granted to us for now. I may disagree and I may choose a different path, but I don’t want to be one who discounts or dismisses another human. This paragraph has gotten too long…
Why C06? We were leaders of the congregation that disintegrated. To be clear there is a group of folks from that body that still meets. By disintegrate, I just mean it became not integrated as it was. And we were very much wounded and scarred by the process that unfolded. Still are in some ways. Probably more than “some”. I believe in the Good News. I want to teach and preach it. I want to learn better how to love the outsider and offer Hope to those who have misplaced it. We tried a few other churches afterward. We even tried to rejoin the group that still meets. But it wasn’t to be. We just couldn’t. Maybe that is a shortcoming and flaw of my own. Maybe that says more about me than anything, but it was a real thing. We tried having a house church for a bit–it was cool for a spell, but I was trying to fit some traditional notion of church meetin’ into our setup like I like to jam a puzzle piece in to make it fit where it doesn’t really…
But I still seek. Search. Wonder and wander. And Sarah does too. And our kids are sponges for that kind of life. And not just that. They teach me as much as I teach them. And Daveed is a soul searcher as well. He was open to it. Here for it. And I love teaching. I’m good at it. I reflect and contemplate and ponder and then I like to figure out how words can somehow match with the spirit of that pondering. I like words. Language. Communication. Communion.
I don’t want to write or speak or whatever for likes on Insta. And I’m a sucker for that kind of thing. An addict. So I retreated here to the world of 2005 in this blog. I’m learning to write and think and express what I believe to be the gospel without the need of acknowledgement, much less affirmation. I like those things, don’t get me wrong, but this is a good process for me.
But I do feel… hmmm… I don’t know about called. Maybe called. Driven. Drawn. Motivated. Desirous. Eager. I don’t know… I do feel the urging to teach people. To commune. To break bread and pray and share all my possessions. It’s why my Insta handles have been 2:42 and 2:44…. those verses from Acts are my go tos. So we shall see how it all goes.
It won’t be a standard thing. At least I don’t imagine that. I love music obviously. But I like the Grateful Dead way better than Hillsong. I recognize that people can feel things and be moved by whatever the latest worship song is… but hearing JB sing Gradle, or Jerry sing Stella Blue… that’s what’s up. Maybe I’m not being gracious. Forgive me.
I imagine sitting by the fire or on the deck with the grill smoking or tossing discs towards the cage in the back yard or playing ping pong. I imagine conversation. Real talk. About humanity and life. About suffering and death. About joy and loveliness. About the regular parts of every day life. About humanity and life. I imagine considering each other better than ourselves and remembering each other in thought and intention.
But I don’t know about all that… I do know that I find Hope in the story and teachings of Jesus the Christ. I know that I want to live like that. And I want to teach that Hope. Not a program. Nah. I don’t imagine I will ever come at it from a stance of a stance. Haha. I don’t imagine that I will proclaim that the mystery is revealed. I will proclaim the mystery, but I will stop short of landing on how it all fits together. My faith isn’t rooted in certainty. It’s rooted in faith. Hope. Love.
So… there are some words. Maybe they make some sense. But that’s my initial attempt to answer why Church of 6.
“May your family share laughter, your songs always play, may your wishes come true, even those left unprayed… May your heart’s doors be open and forever and ever may your glass it be filled.” –JB