I have been in search of a new church for the last year. I have a few favorites but none that I have felt like home. Last year I decided that even if I did not go to a church service I would honor the Sabbath with rest and reading. This past Sunday morning a friend posted on Facebook that Brene Brown was speaking at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC and that the sermon would be live-streamed. Yes, I lost it for a moment. What could be better than the gospel according to Brene — live?!? Logging onto online church only to find out I got to miss the sermon and would get to watch Brene be interviewed instead. Hallelujah!
Below are what I would call ‘church notes.’ In Black church, you take notes when the preacher is preaching. I take no credit for Brene’s genius and merely add my points of reflection to her powerful words.
- Brene has me sitting with the word repent and the concept of shame. She mentions that repent means turn around. So how did we (i.e. church people, humans, leaders…) get the message that when we need to turn around we should plant ourselves in guilt and shame? Can we focus instead on being in alignment with our purpose and making the changes we need to make for that to happen? May we set our intentions toward being AND loving our full selves in 2018.
- “The greatest casualty of trauma is the inability to be vulnerable.”
- Are we creating spaces in the work toward justice where people can be vulnerable? I often talk about the wounded warrior – my mama taught me to be strong but not how to stop and care for myself.
- “To opt out of conversations IS privilege.” Even as a middle-class Black woman I have to fully own that my privilege affords me an opt-out card too.
- “Am I choosing comfort over God?” Hmmmm…that was a good one, Brene. The answer is probably YES a lot of the time.
- Racism. Sexism. Heterosexism. Classism. are ALL TRAUMATIZING.
- “How do you numb?” It depends on the season. All numbing (I call them avoiding) activities prevent us from fully embracing our lives. Right now I am working to not eat my feelings so my pants will fit again.
- “We do not negotiate our worth with other people. We carry it in our heart.” Point blank period.
- “Your comfort is not my priority.”
- “At the end of the day. At the end of the week. At the end of my life. I want to be able to able to say I contributed more than I criticized.”
As usual, Brene left my brain on fire. There are so many truths in these ten highlights. Consider taking the time to watch the discussion yourself (the interview starts around 1:51).
p.s. 2018, I am so ready for you!