Every email from member Casey Carter closes with a profound quote: “I just don’t want us to be sad about the future!” The words are from entrepreneur and engineer Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla and SpaceX. Casey and his wife, Linda, are big fans of Musk. Indeed, they drove their Tesla all the way from Austin to the Silicon Valley this week for the annual Tesla shareholders meeting.
I am here as well in this region of innovation to explore the possibility of transforming a church into a sacred/civic space that seeks the health of the city. The church is among thousands that will close this year in the United States. The church’s grief will be real. And the life that comes from death will be a source of hope for many. I choose to believe this resurrection story.
I think Casey and Linda know that we choose how we respond to change in our lives, institutions and world. They choose to see possibility. They choose to live with joy. They choose to throw their lot in with dreamers, and their choice evokes hope in me.
Beginning this Sunday I will preach a three-part series on “believing.” We have come to the end of an age in which belief means assent to doctrine or creed. We stand at the beginning of an epoch in which belief means responding, desiring and choosing. The reframing of belief opens doors to new relationships outside the institution and new ways of being with neighbors, whether they are religious or not.
This new reality excites me. I believe it excites many of you as well. I believe, so I want to respond to your energy to make friends with the church’s neighbors. I believe, so I desire to see the church go to the limits of its longing, as the poet says. My heart leaps when I witness you leading from desire.
I believe, so I choose to gamble on a future that makes me smile. I sense you want to gamble for joy as well. So may your discerning be your believing, which is the animating of your life together.