I dream of being picketed.

Sometimes I think we confuse church with a building
. The church I attend, The Dwelling Place, is hosting a gathering called “Continuing Conversations” (aka, Mo*Con II) on July 28-29th. It’s a daylong event where I have invited some horror writing friends of mine (Gary Braunbeck, Lucy Snyder, Brian Keene, Wrath James White) to come and speak. We’re going to talk about how our respective faiths impact our writing, the pursuit of being better writers, and even the impact of race when it comes to writing. Religion, art, and race – nothing too controversial.

Yes, it is a “convention” of horror writers. No, not all of us are Christian or even believe in God. That’s the point – all are welcome. So I thought I’d clarify a few points.

The chief complaint is “you can’t do that in a church.” Really? As a friend of mine said, “you may want to consider taking the toilets out cause that means folks are crapping in church, too.” What is church? The building we meet in is the old Marion County Health Department building. It is a building. There is nothing “sacred” about it until a sacred space is carved out … by the people. The church is people, not a building.

Church is a communal expression of faith, to pursue spiritual formation to be the kind of people God wants us to be. To be a safe place to ask and wrestle with spiritual questions. Whose mandate should include building a sense of community, loving each other, and serving the world, all in the name of Christ. Why can’t we carve out a sacred space with horror writers? If Sunday morning we talk about doubting God and discuss that reality, is the church not the best place to do it?

This is how we are working out being a missional community: us inviting people in and those people actually coming (and made to feel welcome). We get to see “their” world and they get to see “ours”. So feel free to protest.

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