Happy New Year, everybody! Regarding this Year of our Lord 2022, I’m excited, intimidated, expectant, and sober.
I’m sober because the significant shifts and challenges that we’ve experienced in the past few years will persist and likely intensify.
I’m excited by the opportunity to journey in these times with Christians who are trying to figure it all out, listen to God, be faithful, and walk somehow more closely together.
I’m intimidated because this year at Coracle we have many resources to provide, many experiences of God to offer, and many conversations we want to have.
I’m expectant because God is SO faithful and Jesus is SO awesome! Like any year, this’ll be one to keep our eyes fixed on him (Hebrews 12.2). It’ll be a year to pray this song often. Among our regular offerings, we’re taking up three particular themes…
1. “Doubt, Deconstruction, and Redemption”
You’ve likely heard something in Christian circles about ‘deconstruction’. Little breaks my heart more than when someone is asking really good and important questions about the Christian faith (for whatever reason), but they can’t find helpful support on that journey and end up losing sight of Jesus. I’m a huge fan of right doubt and doubt done well, and I’m also familiar with how harrowing that journey can be. So, throughout the year we’ll be offering various spaces and resources (like our Essential Christianity Course sometime this spring) for any who are asking big questions right now or walking alongside those who are.
Right out of the gate, I want you to know about a half-day retreat we are hosting in Arlington, VA with Rock Recovery on Saturday, January 22nd: “God Loves You… No Really!” To start the year intentionally rooting ourselves in God’s personal and tremendous love is a good idea for all of us, but it can be especially beneficial for those of us currently wrestling with big questions or disillusionment in our faith. Wherever you are on your journey of faith, I hope you’ll join us for this special morning together.
2. “Discernment: Hearing God in a Noisy World”
It’s loud out here. It’s noisy in the culture, it’s noisy in the Church, it’s noisy in many of our lives. And yet God still speaks! One of the great promises of the Christian faith is that God has spoken and is speaking now and we can hear him. One of God’s preferred ways of talking is ‘the still small voice,’ which means he can be harder to hear when it’s noisy. And yet, discerning God’s unique voice is one of the most important skills for a Christian and is absolutely crucial for our intimacy with God and our ability to follow him. So, we’ll be looking closely at discernment over the coming months, with some content and resources and also experiences.
In two weeks, I will lead a special “Space For God” on this topic. And then on Thursday, January 27th, we will offer our first Soundings Seminar of the year on “The Journey of Discernment,” featuring a panel of our Spiritual Directors, each trained to discern well and help others grow in discernment. It is so crucial for us to hear, recognize, and follow the voice of our Good Shepherd (John 10.25-30), which is why I hope these and future offerings will be a blessing to you and many.
For 30 years of my own life and for the 10 years of Coracle, we’ve worked hard for racial justice and healing, joining many others on the road. Let’s keep on walking together. Hiring a full-time Repentance Project Director (applications are still open) will give us more focus on this, but I can tell you already we’ll be dedicating the Peace Pavilion at Corhaven Graveyard and the Hope Prayer Garden in Baltimore, meaningfully celebrating Juneteenth, and reading Esau McCaulley’s Reading While Black together.
Obviously, there’s much more to say about all these things, and we will– so stay tuned. Even more– join us! Journeys are so much better when shared…