Joyful Homecoming

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What could be possible if we put joy at the center?

For me, this question is connected to Radical Homemaking, and it has been energizing me since I’ve returned home after spending much of last week in Durham, North Carolina. I visited very beloved folks there and then attended the Why Christian Conference.

Some context…

The name of the Why Christian conference is actually pretty apt. Organized by Nadia Bolz-Weber and Rachel Held Evans, the conference invited eight incredible women to give testimony, answering these questions:

“Why, in the wake of centuries of corruption, hypocrisy, crusades, televangelists, and puppet ministries do we continue to follow Jesus? Why, amidst all the challenges and disappointments, do we still have skin in the game? It’s a question that may take a lifetime to answer, but we hope the next two days inspire you to wrestle with it in some new and fresh ways.”

All of the stories were remarkably powerful and compelling. They weren’t crafted to convince people of anything, or move to some sort of ‘or else,’ grand conclusion, as many of us have experienced in fire-and-brimstone churches. These were life testimonies of experience, speaking to deep conviction, love, and joy, and that took place right alongside stories of honesty, confession, loss, trauma, and vulnerability.

The piece that impacted me the most was one of the breakout sessions. I attended a session with the Rev. Amy Campbell, pastor of the BeLoved Community in Asheville. This session was called, “The Radical Art of Making Home.” “What if our primary vocation as humans is to make home?” she asked. Over these last years, she has been making home together with people who are acquainted with the painful experiences of homelessness. The BeLoved Community is an intentional community in a house in Asheville. People worship, share meals, sleep, build friendships, and beautifully celebrate one another — especially making space for people who have no shelter or people who are estranged from a sense of home in one way or another.

Radical Homemaking. . . I can’t begin to tell you how much this spoke to me. In my own context, I feel like this framework names the calling that energizes me as well.

What does it mean to be at home. . .
. . . in our bodies?
. . . in our selves?
. . . in our relationships?
. . . in connection to the Sacred?
. . . in the ways we organize our communities?
. . . in the beautiful broadening of kinship belonging?
. . . in the ways we shape family and choose family?
. . . in the cultivation of space (including literal homes) for hospitality and nurture?
. . . in the inclusion of people (or perhaps, parts of ourselves) that feel estranged from home in one way or another?

Radical Homemaking. . . Radical: meaning, of, relating to, proceeding from a root. . . Last week, I found myself pondering this so much. This is newer language for what I know has been calling me all along.

So that brings us back here: What could be possible if we put joy at the center?

Radical Homemaking is one of my deepest joys. And I have returned home with such deep awareness that I need to put this calling and joy right at the center. Giving and receiving from this framework, I wonder what is possible?

Renee Roederer

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