All photos taken by Kate Hamilton
I’m a Creationist. I believe in creation. I believe that we have stardust in us. I believe that each one of us were present at the moment of inception, of genesis, of getting it started in here. We were there, and I believe we were there because of God. I get that others don’t. Their beliefs don’t threaten me, but I know the specter of a “white,” Christian man talking about creationism is sufficient reason to shift uncomfortably in one’s seat. Sadly, Christian beliefs too often are things of which to be afraid.
I don’t believe in six literal days of creation. I don’t think that the Bible is a physics dissertation: just as I go to Stephen Hawking when I want to (pretend I) understand the astrophysics that hold together the unknowable vastness of all things, so too do I go to the Bible when I want to understand what it means.
I believe in creation. As an act. As a way of life. As a way of pushing back against the ugliness and helplessness we feel; creation is defiant. Creation says that we will not be brought down by the darkness. Creation says that we are willing to be vulnerable in order to find our power, and to be humble in order to find our immortality. Creation is the great I am.
Last night I gathered with people who create. Who want to create together. To create a community, to create a connection with one another not despite our differences but because of our differences. To play in the proverbial dust and to blow our collective breathes into something new. Fragile. To say, “I bring the I so that they may become we.”
It starts with an idea, a conversation between two, then three, then five, then thirty. At least, that’s how the BCP started. Me saying to Anna, “what do you think of this?” Of us presenting it to Ryan, and him saying, “Well, what about this?” It started with a willingness to say that true community must begin with equality. We can’t do it in the world. Not yet. But we can do it here. Now. Moving forward.
That’s what we did last night. Not just the three of us, but all of the thirty who were present. And we hope that more will come next time and the time after that and the time after that.
These are our hopes, friends. To launch the nonprofit in January, with 6 months of programming around 6 different themes. Each month will feature 1-2 educational components, facilitated and designed by members of the community. Each month will culminate in a liturgia, again with new artists, musicians, writers, dancers, and facilitators each month. We will also have a list of action items that we hope will arise from the month’s work. We are going to put boots on our prayers. To our energy. To our intentions. And we’re going to do so without privileging one tradition over another. We are not going to shy away from the raw and difficult emotions that come with being spiritual persons, of being people with free will and reason, persons who might think differently from one another in profound ways. We’re not going to walk away. We’re not going to shut out. We’re not going to take the easy way out because too often that means injustice.
Even if you did not make the liturgia, please consider filling out our survey. It will help us as we move forward, as we make room, as we listen to what the spirit is saying to each one of us.
It is a critical time in our nation’s history. Are we going to buy in to the fear? Are we going to shy away from real conversations and action? Or are we going to trust ourselves and others enough to bring the whole of ourselves and say, “Here I am, and I can be no other”?
The Beloved Community Project of Yellow Springs is :
Anna Burke, Artistic Director
Ryan Stinson, Musical Director
Rev. Aaron Maurice Saari, Spirituality and Education Director
Christian Fox, Managing Director