A Year Of Tears and Fists: Guest Post by Harley Matthews

Harley Mathews bio:
Along with my wife, i co-pastor The Brewery, a multi-faith community in Corpus Christi, Texas. Along with heavy arts involvement, we attempt to practice the spiritual discipline of “giving a shit”, since 2008. I also am a huge Boston Celtics fan and comic book collector.

A year of tears and fists.

I still think of those few weeks as often as any great memory in my mind. It found itself inside a year of discernment, culminated in fists and tears of hope, calling, revolution, and resolve. We learned a lot about who we are those days. We learned we are family.

I co-pastor a small experimental community that began as therapeutic rounds of coffee and scripture and complaining, but has progressed towards peace making and compassion with understanding and a plural religious experience.

The week i speak of involved making “free libya” patches and stickers and posters and listening to al jezeera hourly for reports. A family in our community has family there. We had no idea what life was like, and if it weren’t for brave friends and people utilizing facebook and twitter, most wouldn’t of believed it. But we saw it, and our faiths were challenged, our prayers we trusted were heard, but where would our feet go? I know a few of us looked into tickets to go help in fits of desperation.

The Christian church has brought itself out of many of its self-centered traits within the last 20 years or so, challenging itself instead of only challenging its outsiders, and we have come to believe that culture and Christ have brought us to begin our daily lives seeing each other asGod-created first. Doctrine is paper, and paper is important, but flesh and blood are something we share that God want us to stop ignoring.

The Brewery, our small community, has taught me how close we all are, and the multiple faiths generated there find life in our space while still attending our churches and local bars and mosques and homes. I am learning that we aren’t inter-faith as much as multi-faith, we refuse the unacknowledgedof those of us who trust George Lucas and Joss Whedon more for enlightenment than Jesus. Every story is important.

So, many of us, though differing in opinion but unified in “family” we built these weekly meetings held a vigil for those dying in Libya, and wept together out loud and in our hearts. After standing with our Muslim brothers and sisters protesting a tyrant that we only knew of because of that lovely family in our community experiment, i knew that my calling wasmt dried up and lifeless.

You see, we naturally met one another, we didn’t set out to have ex-evangelicals, recovering addicts, muslims, republican and democrats, we simply knew we loved each other and needed to try and keep that up while discussing the Bible and star wars and islam and peacemaking. So, it has been through a fair proportion of tears and fists that we have been unified with one another. This real and tangible world we live in allows us to know one another, and God knows we are too similar to keep on pointing out only the differences!

  • Ruth Shaver

    I was visiting the week the Libya flags were made. Harley inspired me to talk about what was happening in Libya and around the Middle East in subsequent sermons at my own church in Schellsburg, Pennsylvania. I’m fortunate to pastor a mainline congregation in which people know that what unites us is far more important than what divides us (most of the time), but I live in an area where having a different opinion about which football team is the best ever is likely to raise questions about one’s leadership abilities, never mind any willingness to entertain the possibility that a Muslim might be equally loved by God as a Christian. You keep going, brother Harley. Follow the call of God in your heart and everything will be as it’s supposed to be!

  • Howard Shaver

    Being a part of The Brewery while being its resident baby eating atheist has kept me sane! The love and respect that everyone in the group has for everyone in the world (except for fans of opposing football teams. GO STEELERS!) gives me great hope and, yes, even faith that there can be a great reformation in the church and that hate, bigotry, and ignorance will not be the status quo.

    By the way, you didn’t capitalize Star Wars. You will be sent to the Spice Mines of Kessel and smashed into who knows what for your blasphemy.
    All hail The Lucas. So say we all.

  • Craig Fletcher

    The Brewery was there to help me insult open my eyes and realize how much of an asshole I was towards people of different faiths and sexual preferences. Harley truly is an inspiring person and I’m proud to call him my pastor, my best friend, and most importantly my brother! I thank God I found this man for putting him on Earth! Phil your an amazing man as well and we thank Gid for your presence on this planet as well. Love both of y’all!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/positivewomen Deanne P. Wells

    Harley Mathews is not only my son-in-law, but an amazing individual, pastor, and humanitarian. I am honored to be around a person who strives to find the goodness in all human beings and honors their individuality. His integrity and Spirit shine through in this article. Not only is Harley an inspiring writer and speaker, but he is also an intelligent and motivating pastor who continues to answer God’s higher calling.

  • Dorothy Pallotti

    Great article Harley! I love our community and can’t believe that all of this has come out of the need for four of us to have coffee and a place to safely complain about the things in our lives we didn’t like. It has grown into something that I’m proud to say that I’m still a part of and here is to many more years together!