by Lynette Davidson
The Round Barn Bed & Breakfast just outside of Indianapolis is a quirky place furnished with “hundreds of museum quality primitives, advertising, and hard to find antiques.” With décor ranging from plates to dolls to a James Dean neon sign, there are no easily identifiable links. Why are those particular items housed together in that barn? For what purpose? Maybe they all have a history. Maybe they are still important to someone somewhere. Maybe some were destined for greatness in the grand scheme of the world. Maybe some were destined for greatness in the life of one person or family. Whatever the reason for this gathering of eclectic antiques, they live in the space of the Round Barn.
And for one weekend we, too, lived in the space of the Round Barn. In the same way that I could not easily discern the make-up of the antique collection, I could not easily discern the make-up of our group. We were a mix of ages and life experience. We were pastors, counselors, social workers, speakers, editors, and church planters, to name a few. We have been and are a part of many denominations. Some of us have been participating in all things Emergent for many years. Some of us had no clue what Emergent is.
Looking back, it seems like most of us didn’t know what to expect from the weekend. Many of us weren’t exactly sure why we came. Perhaps to find ourselves. Perhaps to find community. Perhaps to be encouraged. Perhaps to speak truth. Perhaps to listen. Perhaps to name or confirm calling. Whatever the reason, we hoped for something good. And to that end, we were invited to fully participate.
The metaphor for the weekend was “jeans that fit.” And to flesh out this theme, we talked about (1) when the jeans don't fit, (2) when the jeans are ripped...or even ripped off, (3) going shopping for jeans, and (4) finding jeans that fit. There were no experts brought in from afar to deliver lectures behind a podium to a room full of silent, note-taking neophytes. We all were the experts, bringing our presence, our stories, our knowledge, our questions, and our lives to the table. This was a weekend of listening and sharing, learning and encouraging, finding common ground amidst differences. For me personally, it was speaking the truth about myself to others, listening to their response, and finding God in both. As we prepared to leave on Saturday morning, we ate the bread, drank the juice, and remembered. We remembered who we have been created to be, and how we have been called to live. And with that in mind and heart, we left with hope, strength, and encouragement for the next leg of the journey.