Dear Friends from First Mennonite Church of San Francisco,
I don’t know if any of you read this stupid blog, but if you do I want to let you know that I often find myself thinking about you. And while the fact that church services here last for four hours, in two languages I don’t understand, in 110-degree weather may explain part of it; mostly, I think of you because of the blessing you are. Literally, since I’ve been in Mozambique not a week has gone by where I haven't received a letter of encouragement from one of you. I wanted to take some time to return in small part what you have given me – to encourage you, because I know that there are difficult times ahead. Times which will be important for the future of our strange little church held in a Jewish synagogue in the Mission.
There are many things about Mozambique that remind me of you. Sometimes I will be traveling on a highway through the desert and pass a lonely man dancing on the roadside. I think that sometimes you are that man. Or maybe since you are Mennonites, you are rather that lonely man singing. Recently as in many times in the past, it seems you are alone again because of your commitment to certain beliefs about types of love permissible in the house of God. And it is difficult. It is difficult to be the face of a cause you believe is right. And it is difficult to be the prophets of a new creation. But I've seen you singing in the desert and it haunts me still.
Do you remember that Sunday this past year when Russ gave his testimonial? After he spoke, I had the chance to ask him what was his vision of the perfect church community. He answered, “it’s this one.” Recently, I've come to agree with him on this completely. Though to be honest, it took me a while to realize it. I struggled with your theology, because it is perhaps as diverse as the people who attend. I found that you, much like myself, are still undergoing a process of figuring out who you are and what you want to be. And there are difficult and painful conversations left to be had. Because It always hurts to grow. It took me a long time to glimpse the true center of your theology. Which I now believe to be the inclusion of all people into the body of Christ.
I don't often write letters to churches; And I know this is a poor epistle because I am an even poorer Paul. Instead, I feel like Balaam finding myself unable to do anything but bless what God has already blessed. And yes, I believe God has already blessed you – how could He have not? You have someone in Mozambique praying for you. Never stop singing.