We have just passed Juneteenth and we are quickly approaching the Fourth of July, so freedom is on our minds. Perhaps it is always on our minds as freedom-loving Americans. And we are a Baptist church (it’s true!), so freedom is at the heart of who we are. However, Paul did not write in a time of freedom. Everyone lived within a domination system, a rigid hierarchy. At the bottom of that system was slavery.
Slavery was simply a part of the way Paul’s world was organized. It was pervasive, absolutely commonplace. Slaves were a part of any household of sufficient wealth and size. They were, sort of, members of the family. They, sort of, had some legal rights. They were, sometimes, well educated and, sometimes, had high-level jobs, like accountants and managers. But they were still slaves. Property.
When Paul compares the Christian Way to slavery (Romans 6.12-23), it can be awkward for us. Slavery is a thing of the past. We now stand on the right side of history. Our faith is not about enslavement, but about freedom. But Paul knew then what we still live today: we are all parts of systems of power and influence and we are all formed by those systems. We are certainly freer than the people of 1st century Palestine, but we are never completely free.
Our greatest freedom comes in our choices to support or resist the systems of power in which we find ourselves. Where do we buy our clothing? Who made our electronics? Which store do we shop at? Where does our food come from? What kinds of families do we embrace? How do our votes change the lives of people who are not us? We choose what we bind ourselves to and so we choose how we and our world might be formed. Paul’s prayer for us would be that we bind ourselves to those things that bring life rather than death.
Please join us this Sunday, 11am at Kidd Springs Rec Center, as we discuss slavery, grace, and a welcoming spirit. Also, note that we will have a meeting after church to discuss the space we are looking to lease. See details below. Hope to see you!
Grace & Peace,
At our church planning retreat in May, there was a strong consensus that having full-time space was one of the critical next steps for this church. We have done “church-in-a-box” for a long time. It puts a considerable burden on those who set up and tear down every Sunday and limits what we can do with services and any other programming. It is time to find a home.
We have looked at a few properties that were serviceable, but one has just become available that is far more than we could have hoped. The building is a beautiful mid-century modern at the intersection of Jefferson, Rosemont, and 10th on the border between Winnetka Heights and Sunset Hill. It is 2600 square feet, with a large space at the front that has big windows and lots of light, much like Kidd Springs. There are also 9-10 smaller rooms in the back that will support a kitchen/dining/lounge area, dedicated childcare, and office space, as well as leaving some rooms to sublet to artists as studio space. Everyone who has seen the space is excited about the possibilities!
Perhaps the best part is that it is affordable. As you probably know, property in Oak Cliff can be expensive to rent, but we think we can have this space for about what we are paying Kidd Springs right now. The numbers:
$1375 in rent + $600 in utilities (max) – $800 in studio rentals (4 rooms @ $200 each) = $1175/month.
In theory, this is budget-neutral. In reality, there are some variables. First, we’re not sure about the utility costs, but the manager said that $600 seems high. Second, it does depend on keeping those extra rooms occupied and paying. We have already talked to a few artists who are interested, but no guarantees. If costs do come in a little high, we would have to increase giving or dip into our savings. There will also be some initial costs, such as painting and furniture. Our resourceful designers and architects are already looking out for deals and we have already had people approaching us to contribute to those costs.
There will be a Q&A at the end of church tomorrow. Please bring any questions or concerns. If you are not able to attend, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns. We will make our best effort to allow our standard two weeks to vote on a lease, but if there is a strong consensus and we need to lock down the space or lose it, we might have to cut the time short. So please register your thoughts and opinions as quickly as you can.