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!

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