Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. She has spent the past ten years studying vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame. I have to admit these are intriguing topics that are much in line with the message of the cross. Brown is called a “shame researcher.” She spent the first five years of her decade-long study focusing on shame and empathy, and is using that work to explore a concept that she calls Wholeheartedness.
Brown recently talked about coming back to church after years away and the moment “the whole Jesus thing” finally clicked. Somehow, I find it absolutely predictable that a person who studies shame and vulnerability would come (back) to a faith in Jesus. She said:
People would want love to be unicorns and rainbows. So then you send Jesus, and people say, “Oh my god, love is hard, love is sacrifice, love is trouble, love is rebellious.” As Leonard Cohen sings, “Love is not a victory march … it’s a broken hallelujah.” Love isn’t hearts and bows. It is very controversial. In order for forgiveness to really happen, something has to die. Whether it’s your expectations of a person, or your idea about who you are. There has to be a death for forgiveness to happen. In all of these faith communities where forgiveness is easy, and love is easy, there’s not enough blood on the floor to make sense of that.
Followers of Jesus take shame and authenticity and vulnerability and forgiveness to heart. Why? Because the blood on the floor is Christ’s own.
Love is a broken hallelujah. There is power in recognizing our brokenness, and singing hallelujah anyway. And there is no way to do this except in a healthy faith community. I pray that Crosswalk is that place for you.
By the way, as a faith community, we have TWO VERY IMPORTANT EVENTS coming up.
The first is our COMMUNITY TRICK OR TREAT EVENT on Halloween. This is a fun, faith-based event that will be a blessing to our Crosswalk kids and the kids of our community. We feature trick or treating from classroom to classroom, carnival style games, popcorn and cotton candy, and this year there will be various shows and entertainment. We need your help. Please, this is the last Sunday to bring your Halloween candy. We need about twice as much as we have already collected, so your generosity will be of great help! Then we need a few more volunteers to run games and pass out candy. Sign-up sheets will be available this Sunday!
The second event surrounds our ALL CHURCH PICTORIAL DIRECTORY. We would love to have 100% participation! This means YOU! Everyone who schedules a photo shoot will receive a complimentary 8 X 10 photo and church photo directory. Of course there will be an opportunity, but no obligation or pressure, to purchase additional photos. They may make wonderful Christmas gifts. Please sign up for yourphoto shoot online. The dates are November 10-14 with make up dates available.
Lord, I give you my broken hallelujah.