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Vulnerability and Faith

by Pastor Julie Wright

Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.   – Brené Brown

This year’s women’s retreat focused on being vulnerable in our lives and in our faith.  We asked the question:  What does vulnerability have to do with faith?  Based on the work on Dr. Brené Brown, a social work researcher and professor, wife, mother and Episcopalian, we learned about vulnerability through the lens of our faith.  Continuing that conversation sounded like a good idea, so we are expanding the conversation to include the entire congregation with a sermon series this month.

Dr. Brené Brown talks about her own experience of vulnerability in several of her TED Talks (see YouTube) when she came face to face with the truths evident in her research – truths that she was comfortable analyzing from a distance, but which made her come undone when applying this to her own life. What she recalls is a breakdown/awakening that touched every part of her life – work, family, friendships and her faith. Here’s what she discovered – that while vulnerability can be scary, uncomfortable or downright terrifying,

Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.

 When I think of the woman at the well (John 4:1-42) I see a woman who was vulnerable in her encounter with Jesus. She did not hide the facts of her life, but met him with a childlike openness and wonder. When she had realized that Jesus offered the living water, she ran to the village to share that gift with others. She said, “Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?” (vs. 29) This kind of childlike faith is one in which we open our hearts and our lives for God to enter. This kind of vulnerability makes it possible for forgiveness and reconciliation to occur, for healing to begin, and for people to move from being acquaintances to being friends.  What does vulnerability have to do with faith?  It turns out – it has everything to do with our life of faith.  So that’s why we are dedicating three weeks in August to this topic.

August 7 Vulnerability in Love

August 14 Vulnerability and Courage

August 21 Vulnerability and Empathy

If you are a reader, I can recommend several books by Dr. Brown. The book that Pastor Chris Becker and I are currently reading is, Rising Strong: The Reckoning. The Rumble. The Revolution. (If we are brave enough, often enough, we will fall. This book is about what it takes to get back up.)

As always, I look forward to your feedback and conversation.

Living Bravely In Christ, Pastor Julie Wright

 

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