We’re so glad you’ve stopped by our web home. Nonpropria seeks to provide a moderated voice of faith for people willing to look outside the walls of whatever church they call home. We aspire to provide content that is both open and bridging to people of all faiths, no faiths, injured faiths, thriving faiths and everything in between. Admittedly, myself and our sites contributors all approach the world through some sort of lens that involves being a follower of Christ. To be sure, we’ll spend lots of time on topics around what that means, but not exclusively so. My sincerest hope is that we can use this website and accompanying podcasts, conversations, twitter chats and stories to build an environment where people of different backgrounds can raise up their similarities and safely discuss what it means to be different.
I’d like to tell a story to illustrate what I mean. I teach for a living. Ecumenical christian blogger doesn’t exactly pay the bills, right? In a discussion about the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (I know its a random and boring topic, but it matters later in the story, bear with me), it came out that I was an Eagle Scout. One student wanted to know if my kids were all gonna be Eagle Scouts, too. I think he was asking if I was going to project myself onto them and force them to go through the work and do something hard because I did it. I answered “probably not.” He asked why not and I told him that I didn’t agree with the Boy Scout’s decision to double down on their exclusion of gay boys and leaders. Admittedly, the non-humble parts of me (read: all parts of me) enjoyed the sea of heads bobbing up and down in admiring agreement.
However, I also despise when people run to their corners, to borrow a boxing metaphor, on any particular topic and then hunker down with their tired cliche excuses and arguments. ‘Why do people have to be so predictably the way we expect them to be?’ I’ve often asked a likeminded friend? It occurred to me in the midst of that discussion about early tee-totalling reform minded women that this isn’t how real serious reform is made. The crotchety old women of the WCTU, or even the early drafters of our constitution, or even the early clerics of the Nicene Council didn’t gather together to pout about the refusal of some people to see their way of thinking. These forbearers of consensus discussed how to get together around their most important issues and live together despite their less important disagreements. What if I didn’t let my kids join every organization with whom I had a philosophical difference of opinion? They would grow up in our basement playing games that I made up for them. How miserable? We must learn how to transcend our own pettiness and live like a people created to live in community.
My hope is that this forum will provide more examples of how to do that well than it doesn’t. I know it’s an amorphous goal and a seemingly low bar to set. Maybe when we’re doing this well all the time, we’ll jack it up to some sort of lofty world changing vision. But for now, I’d like to provide a forum for discourse about the world that doesn’t make the world a worse place. If you like what you see and hear, tell people. If you don’t, join the conversation and help us make it more enjoyable. Peace and Grace,
-Jacob VandeMoortel and the Nonpropria Team