A Conversation About Changing Faith
Sometime last fall, I don’t remember when, I sat down to do a podcast with Michael Hidalgo, lead pastor at Denver Community Church. We encamped in the sound booth of the uptown auditorium, an old synagogue full of drafty charm, and had our conversation about spiritual things. Then I headed off to whatever was next on my calendar. I kinda forgot what we talked about.
I meet with Michael fairly often, though not often enough. I just adore him. He is full of himself in all the right ways, though I doubt Beth and the kids always see it that way. He is a very good leader, supported by a great staff and elders. But I digress.
Three days ago, on a flight to Cincinnati to visit my father for his 94th birthday, I put on my headphones and listened to the podcast. I liked the guy asking questions, and I liked the soft-spoken woman giving answers. None of us is very good at seeing ourselves with anything resembling objectivity. We bring all of our things with us wherever we go, baggage for the journey.
I am afraid I shall always live in a liminal space, somewhere between male and female. It’s all right. The world treats me as a female, and that is enough. Occasionally I see myself as a female. That’s how I felt while listening to the podcast.
The woman who was speaking seemed to be a decent theologian, well read, and comfortable discussing matters of spirituality. She knows what she knows, knows what she doesn’t know, and knows that when it comes to most of the big things, no one knows.
I could tell the woman interviewed by Michael is a person who loves Jesus and believes there is a trajectory to history, determined by how well we love. When the interview was over, I found I kinda liked the person Michael interviewed, even if it was me. You can decide if you feel the same way. Here is the link to the podcast: http://changingfaith.podbean.com/e/episode-009-paula-stone-williams-and-all-sorts-of-things/
I remember the first time I heard my voice on tape. I had received a little reel-to-reel recorder as a Christmas present and told stories to an audience of one. I liked the sound of my voice. Back when I was on television, I’d arrive in a hotel room late and flip on the TV to hear my adult voice speaking gently to those awake in the middle of the night; young mothers and insomniacs mostly. I liked that voice too.
I like my voice now, but I don’t like my voice. The pitch of my voice is never high enough to suit me. Hormones have no impact on vocal cords. But I do like the tone with which I speak, confident yet tempered by years of living through difficult things.
But back to the podcast. As I listened, another thing was clear. The woman being interviewed believes the church is the bride of Christ. She believes in the church. I believe in the church, the one that partners with Christ in the ministry of reconciliation, not the one that goes around condemning everyone to hell.
Tomorrow I will start writing my first sermon to be presented at Left Hand Community Church. In our first two pre-services, Jen Jepsen and I are telling our stories. She told hers on January 13. On February 10 I will tell mine, and trust that it suggests a redemptive future for Left Hand, a community committed to justice and mercy and walking humbly with God.
As a daughter of Denver Community Church, as well as Highlands Church and Forefront Church, I hope we reflect well the love that exudes from all three of those congregations. And on this particular day, I am grateful for Michael Hidalgo and Denver Community Church.
And so it goes.