Maybe we didn't ruin it, Maybe we just forgot who we are.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of spending the weekend with a man named Alexander Shaia (if you don’t know who he is, you should go read everything he’s ever written). On Saturday, my friend Cory and I got the opportunity to record a podcast with Alexander where we talked about everything from sexuality and 6th century art, the KKK taking control of Birmingham in the 40s all the way to a conversation about USC football. The whole day was incredible but there was one moment that stuck out to me and I literally have not been able to stop thinking about it since.

Alexander was talking about the rich history and traditions of the Christian faith and he said that Christianity was the first tradition (at least that we know of) to make the claim “it doesn’t matter who your mother is”. Now, context is everything here. This statement means it doesn’t matter where you came from or if you own land or if you are a slave or free or rich or tall or anything… it means that whoever you are and wherever you are, come. He went on to say that Christianity was the first tradition to suggest that everyone has a seat at the table and how powerful those words were back then and how powerful they still are now.

Ok, so literally at this point I had actual tears in my eyes because for the first time in long time… well, maybe for the first time ever I felt a deep sense of pride for being a part of the Christian tradition. I literally felt proud to be a Christian. Hearing these words and knowing that I  am a part of a tradition that revolutionized everything simply by suggesting “it doesn't matter who your mother is” felt so deeply empowering.

But it didn't last long.

About five seconds later I remembered that it does matter who my mother is, in my experiences with church and with Christianity it has mattered that my mother is Mexican, it has mattered that my father is Black, it has mattered that I am a woman and it sure as hell matters that i’m gay.

I wanted to feel moved and empowered and proud so badly but I could not get over the distance between what he was saying and my lived reality.

I said those words to Alexander. I told him that I want to believe what he was saying but that there have been tables in church my whole life that I have not been allowed to sit at so how is it true that Christianity is built on the idea that everyone has seat?

Now, before I tell you what he said to me I need you to imagine Gandalf the Grey speaking these words over you… because that's what talking to Alexander feels like.

He very sweetly said to me “oh Brittany, that is not the table. If there is not a seat for everyone then it is not the real table.” He went on to tell me that every faith tradition in history has had to make a choice at some point whether they will align themselves with the ancient traditions of their faith or with the empire of the day. He explained to me that maybe, understanding our own lives as a table, we then have the choice every single moment of every single day to reclaim the ancient truth that everyone is welcome or not.

The choice is ours.

I am still shook from that conversation. It has changed so many things for me. I do feel proud to be a Christian and I feel absurdly convicted to ask myself in every moment I am aware whether or not I am living in a way that suggests to everyone that they matter. Whether or not you identify as Christian I think the fact still remains that we have the opportunity to reclaim truth with our lives. Maybe there has never been a seat at the table for you in church but what if that wasn't the table? What if we are meant to live our lives as if we are the table and make room, make room for everyone!

This is the narrative of Christianity that gets me excited and I want to commit to living a life that sweetly whispers to the whole world ‘you matter’.


What if we stopped feeling proud because we were right or powerful and what if we started feeling proud because we are fighting the hardest for all people to matter. Can you imagine that world? That church?! I believe we can get there and I believe it starts with all of us finding small moments to ask ourselves if we truly believe that it doesn’t matter who someone’s mother is.

xx,

brit barron

oh, and by the way if you live in the LA are and want to have dinner with Alexander TONIGHT 7/10 then click here and don't miss this chance!

This is for the Outsiders

This weekend, my friend Rachel Hollis gave a keynote talk about the power of NO. She talked about how sometimes in life, people tell us NO, they reject us, they tell us that we can’t and we have a choice; we can let that NO define us in a negative or a positive way. She shared her story about how publishers wouldn’t publish her first book so she self published, she talked about tragedy in her life and how she has let that light a fire under her ass to be as present in everyday as she can. It was an incredible talk and it left me thinking about some of the most difficult “No’s” that Sami and I have ever received.

Now that we are about a month into marriage (yay us!) it has been fun looking back on the season leading up to the wedding, there was our engagement party and bridal showers and registries and so many pictures and family and reasons to celebrate. But this was also the season when we heard some painful no’s, three to be exact. Sami and I had three people that we asked to be in our wedding that said no. The three of them each had their own story, their own circumstances and own way of telling us but one thing was the same, all of these no’s, by some way or another came from the church. Either the church they go to, or the church their parents go to or the church that they grew up in that told them marriage is meant for a man and a woman. Each one of these no’s came from the church and we were devastated. When we came out, we expected to hear a lot of people tell us no, we expected people would refuse to do a lot of things with us because we are gay but the no feels different when it comes from people you love. The no feels odd when it's wrapped in language that suggest they are telling us no because of a direct order from God.

That's hard to hear.

But we knew better.

We know better.

When we realized that people we love dearly and have had a big part in our life would not be standing with us on our wedding day, we took about a week off of wedding planning (which in wedding planning time is a lot) and we grieved. We grieved the pain of each one of those no’s. We grieved the hard conversations that were had leading up to this point and we grieved the shifting of friendships we felt were going to change. We grieved and grieved until that grief turned into something else. We started to feel the same fire under our ass that our friend Rachel had after she was told no and we decided that we can either spend our energy trying to legitimize our marriage and our relationship to people who believe that God does not want us to love each other or we could spend our time saying yes to people on the outside where the church has said no. There is no doubt for me or Sami that God loves us and is with us and is moving in the world and that world is not exclusive to the evangelical church. So we are on a mission to tell people that a no from church is not the same thing as a no from God. That there is a seat at the table for anyone willing to join and that who you are does not disqualify you from community.

Honestly, as I write this, I can already hear the comments and see the private messages in my inbox from people who will send me scripture out of context or tell me they are praying for my revival or “kindly remind me” that my whole life is outside of the will of God... thank you. Thank you for the need you feel to send me these messages. Deep down I think I can understand how you feel like it's what you are called to do but please do not be shocked or disappointed when I don't respond. I'm not writing for you. I'm not writing this for people in an ivory tower having weekend long conferences and debating in offices whether or not people like me should be accepted in your church. I am not writing this for people who want to shout one single bible verse at people like me and then feel entitled to have me understand your discrimination. This is not for you. This is for people like me. This is for people whose lives are changed by those meetings you insist on having. This is for every person that the church has told God is just a little bit farther away because of who they are. No, this is not for the self proclaimed righteous, this is for every single person hanging on by a thread who deep down knows that God is far too loving and far to gracious and far too kind to leave them behind but are faced with the realities of what happened a year ago in Orlando and they are faced with the reality that they can't sing in the choir or be in the small group or go to the summer camp. Faced with the reality that we are celebrating ONLY 50yrs since this country made it legal for interracial couples to get married and yes, church was saying no to that too. Now, just to be fair, I do want to acknowledge that there have been christians and churches in every time period that have stood on the side of the minority, stood for justice and love and peace. Those churches were revolutionary then and they are still revolutionary now. 

Here's what we know, there will always be someone on the outside, there will always be someone who is hearing a no and we want to be people that say yes. Yes to love, yes to equality and yes to God. Interestingly enough, the fire under our ass to spread love came from feeling the opposite. We all know that pain is required to truly experience joy and darkness for light and that is the way it works. So let me just offer you this; if you are someone who has experienced darkness or heard a "no" that was painful then I pray you are able to turn that into something beautiful and share it. Share it with everyone who needs to hear a "me too".

There will always be haters, there will always be people who do not agree with you but oh, it is worth it to keep sharing anyways. It is so worth it! Do not let the voices of NO keep you from sharing your light with the world, the no's will ALWAYS be there but someone out there desperately needs to hear your yes. So do it. Spread love spread peace and let's stop leaving people behind. 

Ps, if you want to have a deeper conversation about some of these things, check out ANYTHING BUT BLACK &WHITE this is why we exist.

xx,

Brit Barron

A Year of Wandering

Ok, so it has been a while since my last post, so much has been happening in my life but i'm back! This past year has been, without question the most difficult and maybe the most rewarding year of my life. I cannot think of many things that can change in someone’s life that haven’t changed in mine this year. Obviously coming out, getting engaged and getting married are all really important parts of this year and I have about one billion blog posts that I want to write about choosing love over fear and how much I have learned and I will write those too. But this post is about another thing that has been changing in me this year. This is a post about God, church, an unlikely friendship and a new adventure.

You may be wondering why there is a picture of a random white guy at the top of this post… that’s Cory. That big beacon of privilege has not only been a really important part of the last year of my life but has also become a really dear friend.

On June 1st 2016, I spent my last day as a pastor at the church I used to work at. It was my last day as a pastor there and deep down, I knew that within a few months I would be out and I imagined that I wasn’t only done being a pastor there but that I was done being a pastor for the foreseeable future. It can be hard to imagine doing something that you have never seen and at that point, and still today, I don't know of any or haven't seen any pastors or preachers who were also out members of the LGBT community. To me, coming out and choosing Sami meant saying goodbye to this part of my life and honestly, I was ok with that.

Shortly after leaving the church, I got a random message from a guy named Cory and it simply said “I read your blog, I also used to work at a big church and left. Do you want to grab coffee sometime?” I had no idea who this guy was but honestly, it was the “me too” that I was looking for. In case you’re wondering, a lot of doors don’t necessary fly open when you are trying to figure out what to do after being a pastor at a megachurch and also you just came out.

So Cory and I began a friendship and I began my year of wandering. I ended up filling an interim role at a university in their African American resource center for a while, I started my own speaking and consulting business, I gave a TED talk, I said yes to anything that came my way and tried everything I could think of and it was awesome and terrifying and confusing and I am so grateful for this year. But still, every week I would hang out with Cory and we would just talk and dream about the possibility of telling a bigger story about God. Cory asked me to preach at his church a few times this year and I couldn’t believe it, I love preaching and I thought I had to give that up but as we kept meeting and I kept wandering, it became clear that something special was stirring up and happening.

Its no secret to anyone that the evangelical church in America is in bad shape. The resemblance between the church and the teachings of Jesus seems to keep growing farther and farther apart. We have whole systems and organizations based off of fear and keeping people comfortable and this is nothing new, the church has always struggled with power and fear and comfort. I am not saying this to bash the church because I hate it, I am saying this because the whole bible is essentially a collection of stories about a small group of people, asking bigger questions and challenging the religious empire of the day. I certainly do not have all of the answers… well, actually I don’t have any of the answers but I do have more questions than ever and that is strangely comforting.

This past year, I have NEEDED to have a bigger understanding of God… I needed God to be less petty than just someone in the sky who says pastors can’t marry two people who are gay, I needed to understand a God that is bigger than a true love waits pledge card and Awana badges, a God that doesn’t look at women and say “wow, you are really talented, if only you were a man then you could really do something” a God that was concerned more with empire building than people was no longer a sufficient enough understanding. The story of God HAS to be bigger than that!

So every week, we sit and talk about the possibility of a bigger story of God and how to tell it. Cory and I made an office in his garage and we put up a giant piece of paper with all of these ideas and lines and circles (it looks like the chalkboards from a beautiful mind except there’s no math involved) but at the top, written in giant letters is a question, a question that I have been asking and want to keep asking for a very long time:  “what does this say about God?”

What is the story that we are telling about God? With our churches, with our lives, are we telling the story of a petty, punitive God? A God of justice? Love?

A few weeks ago in church, there was a cup sitting on a table and we talked about how for some of us, we grew up understanding God as the cup, it was understandable, the answers were all there, we could grasp it. But as we go on in life and ask questions and dig deeper, we realize that cup was sitting on a table the whole time and our understanding gets bigger and then we realize the table is in a room and the room is in a city and so on. This whole thing is bigger than any of us realize and I want to have no part in making it small again. I want to be committed to growing and asking questions and telling a bigger story about God because we are all telling stories about God and I want to tell the one that says God is bigger than I thought.

So, a few months ago Cory asked me to join him as a pastor at New Abbey. I went and I talked to Sami and I told her that Cory wants me to be a pastor at New Abbey and to start in June. Sami started crying and reminded me that June 1st is exactly one year from where my other journey ended. I don’t think it is any coincidence that my year of wandering brought me to a new adventure that will be full of me asking even more questions.

Side note, if you’re in the area and want to be a part of a conversation telling a bigger story about God or if you have questions or if you just want to hang out... Come, and be a part of what we are doing.

We are not perfect at New Abbey, no church is perfect anywhere. But we will keep asking ourselves “what does this say about God?” because these stories we are telling about God are important and people are listening.

God is so much BIGGER than I ever thought and I can’t wait to keep learning and telling that story.

xx,

Brit Barron

Race Still Matters

A few years ago, I was leading a Civil Rights tour down south. On this particular trip, we took some time to walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. If you don't know that significance of this bridge, here is a brief summary (or, you could also watch he movie "Selma"):

In 1965, there were three attempted marches from Selma to Montgomery Alabama. This is a 54 mile walk that requires the crossing of the Edmund Pettus bridge in Selma. The marches that took place here were advocating for the right for Black folks to vote. The first attempted march took place on March 7th 1965 and was led by civil rights leader John Lewis. This peaceful march did not last long. The unarmed marchers were met on the bridge by police officers who attacked them with bully clubs and tear gas. The attack was so extreme that it put over 50 people in the hospital and this day has become known as "Bloody Sunday". The second March was led by Dr. King and ended shortly after it began when Dr. King sensed that he would be walking innocent people into yet another trap by the police (he was right). The third March from Selma brought people from all across the country and the world. Dr. King, John Lewis and many other civil rights leaders were able to successfully March from Selma to Montgomery. These actions, along with many others contributed to the passing of the voting rights act later that year.

The Edmund Pettus bridge in Selma is an important part of Civil rights history. 

In 2015, President Barack Obama, Congressman John Lewis and thousands of others celebrated the 50th anniversary of the March at Selma by yet again gathering together to peacefully cross the Edmund Pettus bridge. It was a beautiful moment filled with reflection, inspiration and hope. Yet again, this moment confirmed that this bridge is important. Something significant happened on this bridge. This bridge is a symbol, a landmark and a civil rights treasure.

The Edmund Pettus Bridge. 

After my time in Selma, seeing the name "Edmund Pettus" in such big letters on the bridge, I was moved to find out who this historic bridge is named after, who is Edmund Pettus? 

The answer is unfortunate. 

Edmund Pettus was a General in the confederate army. After the war, he became a grand dragon for the Alabama klu klux klan. In case you're wondering, a grand dragon is pretty high up in kkk leadership. I should also mentioned that Edmund Pettus served double duty as both a kkk grand dragon as well as a US senator. 

Ok, so this pretty accurately describes our race problem in America. There was a point in time when you could be in leadership both with the kkk and the US government and that service would get a bridge named after you. And even after that SAME BRIDGE becomes a landmark of the civil rights movement, we don't change the name. 

Right now, if we go to Selma, we will cross the historic bridge where Black folks and their allies were beaten and bloodied for the right to vote and the bridge, in big bold letters will announce above you that while you may have moved forward, the heroes of this country that still get their names on bridges are Edmund Pettus and that doesn't seem to be changing any time soon. 

What happened on that bridge was a big deal.

The fact that the bridge is still named after Edmund Pettus is also a big deal. 

So what now? I don't want to write about this and post it just so you can know that this specific place in this specific city is still named after someone racist but rather I hope we can all start thinking more critically about race in our country. Can we start looking around at our cultural artifacts and current cultural icons and see how they got there? Can we not assume because laws have changed and rights have changed that somehow we are past race? As long as Christopher Columbus still gets a holiday and Edmund Pettus still has a bridge then we still have work to do. 

Find your voice in this conversation and let's all do our part because c'mon people, we can do better than this.

You Snooze, You lose

I have picked up a pretty bad habit in recent years; I have become a chronic alarm snoozer. It's almost gotten to an impressive point. On average I snooze my alarm for around 45 minutes to 1 hour every morning. If I know that I need to be up and moving by 7:00 then I will set my alarm for 6:05 and hope for the best. But here's the thing, I wasn't always like this. Like most normal people, when a loud noise goes off and I know it means I should get up, I would get up. I had to work hard to get to where I am now, to be at a place where I could hear that same noise every five minutes for an hour and be seemingly unaffected. It took seasons of strategic planning to push snooze once, then twice until eventually, I arrived at the place I am now. I am not explicitly proud of my chronic snooze ability but today as I was running late for work (because of my chronic snoozing) I realized that what happened with me and my snooze button is happening in other areas of my life too, and I don't like it. 

See, there are some things that I have always wanted to do (having a blog was one of them so yay me) and you all know the feeling, when you first get a dream or a vision for something you want to do, maybe it's to start a business or a family or get in shape, or run a race, whatever the dream is, when they first come they feel sort of consuming, you can't ignore it. It's almost like a giant alarm that keeps going off every single day in your heart and mind and soul. It's a wonderful and terrifying feeling. As someone with a lot of dreams, I became frustrated with myself today wondering why so many of them are just that, still dreams. What happened? I used to be consumed and now I am finding myself giving every possible reason to avoid them. Who does that? Chronic snoozers, that's who. I realized that my dreams are not unlike my alarm. At first, they cannot be ignored, they force you to move but if you ignore them enough, eventually you can get to a place where even if they show up every five minutes, you can go on with business as usual and pretend they are not even there. And once you get to that point, it becomes increasingly difficult to get up and actually chase your dreams. 

That's where I am. I used to be completely consumed with the things that I wanted to do and the dreams that I had, but it happened, I hesitated. Then I hesitated again and before I knew it, I felt stuck. I have hit snooze so many times on my dreams that when I get the feeling like I should write a book or take a risk, start a business, put myself out there, I stop myself. I tell myself this isn't urgent, I can do it tomorrow and slowly the feeling gets more dull and more dull. The truth is, it's scary to chase your dreams and it is completely nerve wrecking to put yourself out there. But it is so important. 

I woke up today and was terrified. If the call to chase my dreams will grow more dull every day that I continue to ignore it then what will happen one day when it's gone? What then? 

Friends, please stop hitting snooze on your dreams. Stop pressing pause and stop hesitating. You owe it to yourself to let the wold experience what God has created you to do. I don't care if your dream is to run one mile, go back to school, open a bakery or become the next Oprah. 

YOU HAVE THAT DREAM FOR A REASON. 

So here's to chasing dreams, here's to waking up when the alarm goes off and here's to putting ourselves out there. 

xx,

Brit Barron

 

Cloudy Days

A few weeks ago I posted a blog about a terrible Monday that I had. In that post, I mentioned that someone near and dear to me was starting radiation treatments that week. Well it’s been more than a week now and that person is still going five days a week for next six weeks. If you know anything about radiation then you know it is not the most enjoyable process, but there are even more layers to this story. This person has been here before. She got diagnosed with cancer the first time when she was fourteen years old. The first time around required more than radiation, there was chemotherapy and surgeries and things that have left her with scars on her body and heart from that experience. Since then, she has lived the last forty-three years of her life cancer free but in the past few months, she found herself back to a place that she never wanted to return to.

I’m sure that you can imagine how awful it must feel for her to be back in that place, to be back on that table with the machines and the doctors and to lie there exposed. Well, this woman is one of the strongest, resilient and joyful people I know and her response to all of this has confirmed that.

She sent out a message last week telling us all how much she hated being exposed; the scars from her previous battle with cancer laid bare for all to see. Nothing to hide behind or to hide under, just raw exposure. Reading this message I couldn’t even begin to understand how she felt but then she said something incredible; she said that in this season of her life, she realized that she has to be exposed to receive healing. She knows that these parts of her need to be exposed because that is the only way that her healing is going to happen.

I was and always will be impressed by this woman and I am pretty sure that the gravity of her words have not settled into a deep enough place in my soul yet as I am still wrestling with this very thing. I don’t ever want to be exposed. I want my healing to come without bringing up wounds from the past or without breaking down all of the layers and walls that I have surrounded myself with. I want to know that if I make it through one really hard thing or this one really hard season then maybe another one won’t ever come. I want beauty from ashes without anything actually burning down.

In this same week I read an article by Kristin Scharkey, the editor for Desert Magazine. In this article, she talked about her experience moving to the desert in Palm Springs and she said one of the first things she learned was that if there are clouds in the sky, the sunset will be beautiful. She said that she began to enjoy cloudy days because at the end of them, she knew what was coming.

I am definitely not a sunset expert but if I had to guess, I would imagine the sunset that comes after a cloudy day has nuance and depth that sunny days don’t have because the colors from the sun on it’s way down have something to shine on. The sunset after a cloudy day means something more because you can see the power of the light to shine through something.

There is something settling about looking up and knowing this sun goes up and down every single day and that even at times when you can’t see it, when clouds move in and cover its beauty, the sun comes right back to say I will make even those clouds beautiful. Even the things that keep you from seeing me for a time will ultimately help you see me even more clearly.  

Friends, life can get uncomfortable, mine certainly has. And so many times when I get uncomfortable I fight the very thing that will bring me healing. At times when I see clouds, I take it as a sign that maybe the sun has just forgotten about me and it was never that reliable to begin with. So if you’re anything like me, lets take some time to remind ourselves that exposure can be healing and clouds only mean that the sun is on its way to create something beautiful. If we want to know what it looks like to exchange beauty for ashes, then something might actually have to burn. We know that exposure and fires and cloudy days are all a part of life and at the end of that day, all we can do is trust the process and believe that something beautiful is coming.

xx,

Brit Barron

Coming Out & Staying In

I grew up in church. My parents were always very involved and when I was ten, my dad left his cooperate job to go into full time ministry. We were a church family. This all led me to attend a Christian college, work at a Christian college and then eventually join the family legacy and become a pastor. My whole life has been filled with church. I don't have many memories of not going to church on a Sunday morning, it was just who we were and what we did. By the time I became a pastor, I was working at a church that that had three services and I would be at all three, every Sunday. 

I hope I am painting an accurate picture here - I have been to A LOT of church. 

So a few months ago, I went through a lot of changes. I left my position at my Church, I announced to the world (or at least anyone who reads my blog) that I am very happily in a relationship with an amazing woman and for the first time in a very long time, I didn't go to church. I stayed up late on Saturday nights, I slept in on Sunday's and I discovered this thing called brunch, It was amazing.

In addition to my L.A. brunch tours and sleepy Sunday mornings, I discovered something else. In fact, it is one of the best things I've ever discovered; my relationship with God was real. It was real and it stayed. I didn't really ever question if it was real but when having a relationship with God had become a part of my school and work life for the past ten years, I wasn't sure what it would look like when all of that was gone. My faith had become so intertwined with job performance and it started to feel like my life influenced my relationship with God more than God influenced my life. I remember leaving my job and wondering if I would still feel the pressure on my relationship with God, or would that relationship thrive in this new found freedom?

Now, I should also mention that I was not only leaving my role as a pastor, which is role that is thought of pretty highly in the church world but I was now a gay Christian, which is pretty much thought off in the opposite light. I started hearing stories from people like me and their stories were full of hurt, rejection and hate that they experienced in church. I heard story after story about how church was not a safe place for them. Story after story about the awful things that people had said to them. I heard theses stories and I started wondering if I would ever go back to church again. I started hearing stories about people in my own church community who felt this way and I all but gave up on the idea of going back to church. 

But then it happened. 

I listened to Beyoncé. 

In her song All Night she has a line that says "nothing real can be threatened"

Damn right Beyoncé. Nothing real can be threatened. 

And if there was one thing I had learned in my season of church hiatus it was that my relationship with God was real. It was so real and it stayed even after everything else was gone, I wanted to read the Bible because well, I actually wanted to. I wanted to spend time in my morning in prayer because I wanted to. It was still real. 

So I decided to go back to church. I love church, I missed church and I started to realize the freedom that you can have going to church knowing that the place and the people do not define your relationship with God. The beauty that comes with KNOWING deep down that God has said things to you that no one can take away. And with that, I went back. With that, I walked into the building knowing that the entirety of my faith did not live in this space and that gave me a freedom to learn and grow in a community that I do not and will not always agree with and that's ok. 

If you are like me and you have been in church for a long time, there's nothing wrong with that. Church can be a great place but I sincerely hope that our churches become more and more filled with people who have experienced God in a real way and the things that God has whispered in their hearts no one can threaten and no one can take away. I want our churches to be filled with free and fearless people and every Sunday, I'll be there, in the front row, with my girlfriend, worshiping with our community and if that threatens you - you need to ask yourself why. 

Gay or straight; the sum total of our faith does not rest in our church attendance. The fullness of who God is cannot exclusively or even completely be found in that building. 

What if we all asked ourselves some hard questions about the things that threaten us and our faith. What if we sought out experiences with God that were real and true and we knew could never be shaken? 

Can you imagine a world full of churches that were not threatened by change but committed to just pushing people to Jesus? 

I can, and it is why I am there.

xx,

Brit Barron

Am I drowning? No, it's just Monday.

I had the privilege of living in Malibu for a few years. I lived so close to the ocean and I can't even tell you how many nights I went to bed praying "God, if there is ever a tsunami and the water is coming, please just take me before it reaches my apartment" because that’s how afraid I am of water. Maybe its because I cant really swim or maybe its because water and waves are just actually that terrifying. I imagine what it would feel like to be tossed around, to not know up from down, to have saltwater in your mouth, up your nose, burning your eyes (or whatever else saltwater does) and just the thought makes my heart pound and my palms sweaty. Waves have the ability to take you anywhere they want, there’s nothing you can do about it and that is my nightmare.

Well, unfortunately these last few weeks have felt like what I imagine being picked up, tossed around and dropped back down by a wave feels like. I am sitting here, not really being able to tell up from down. Change and uncertainty feel like salt water that is finding it’s way into places that it is certainly unwelcome and it all feels bad.

I am in a season where everything is changing. I left a job with people that I loved and a mission I believed in and now I'm doing some temporary work and things here and there while I figure out what it is that I really want to do in this life. I recently moved back in with two roommates who have known me for a very long time (some people call them parents) I have close friends going through some of the hardest things that I have ever witnessed up close and today, Monday, someone very near and dear to me starts their first round of radiation treatments. The waves are crashing and I am hanging on by a thread.


I woke up today determined to have a good day. I was going to look Monday in the face and tell them who’s boss. But then I checked my bank account, which you should not do if you want to have a good day, but I opened it up to find that I was B.R.O.K.E. (But Really Overdraft Killed Everything) I realized that I would have to ask for help, which I hate, but I was still determined to have a good day. By the time I got to my car I was sure that things were turning around for me. Then, I realized that my car had been broken into.

You remember that thread I was hanging on by? It broke.

It was at this moment that I just gave into the wave of whatever I was feeling and let it carry me wherever it wanted. On this particular morning this wave dropped me off somewhere between crying in my car and cursing out loud for no reason. I tried to fight EVERY SINGLE tear that came down my face because I just did not want to be sad. I tried to remind myself that everything would be ok. I knew that somehow this would all be ok, I was ok and my friends were going to be ok too. I even tried to think of about a thousand things that could be worse than what was happening to me so then I could shame myself into not crying.

But then I remembered what one of my friends used to tell me all the time; "the only way out, is through". I realized that maybe I can't rush myself back to joy or shame myself or trick myself back to joy. Maybe I have to go through this sadness. Maybe it's ok to cry in your car on a Monday morning every now and then.

I am realizing it's actually ok to feel what we feel without quickly trying to turn it into something that we have not yet earned. Friends, I know that we can't stay sad forever and we can't stay happy forever but if the movie Inside Out taught us anything it's that we need both. Maybe you're like me and you cried in the car this morning or maybe you're having the best day of your life. Please let both of those waves carry you where you need to go. Don’t spend happy days worrying about what's not real and don't waste time trying to go around sad days, it will only take you longer - you must go through.

If you are anything like me, you spend weeks trying to go around sadness until something forces you to go through and even though you hate it, you are kind of happy to be crying in your car because at least you're feeling something.

So here's to Mondays, may we all let them carry us to where we need to go.

xx,

Brit Barron

Her.

So this is a post about love, friendship, relationships and fear. This is a post about how we all stumble across truth in our lives and the real difficulty that comes when we are faced with the opportunity to stand in it or negotiate with fear. This is a post about the reality of wanting to be light and live in the light and the sacrifices that can come with that. Yes, this is a post about love.

This is also a post about a girl. A girl I met a few years ago. Do you ever meet someone, hang out once and then decide in your head that you are going to be best friends with that person? Me too. So we became best friends. I started learning so much from her, laughing so hard with her, dreaming with her, creating with her and it was beyond wonderful. This best friendship eventually came to the place where we were both willing to acknowledge that there could be more. We wanted more. More could be beautiful.

We talked and dreamed and imagined what life could be like with more. We talked about the great things that our lives could accomplish together and we talked about all of the seemingly terrible things that we would endure but in the end, we decided that more was worth it.

I was and still am grateful for a lot of things throughout this journey with her. I am grateful that my relationship with God has only grown stronger since knowing her. I am grateful that I was already deeply rooted in a community that would be as loving and kind and excited as ever when they found out. I am grateful for a family that puts love above everything else. But I was also weirdly grateful for an opportunity to look fear in the face and see what I was actually made of. I was and am grateful that my journey with her has really shown me so much of who I am and who I could be. Am I a person who will shrink down in the face of fear? Will I negotiate my truth? Am I strong enough to stand?

I know that our story will not come without its challenges and the more people that know, the more challenges will come I am sure. But I was listening to a friend’s podcast the other day and he was talking about how every time he shared his story, he felt a beam of light come into his life. So while telling anyone that will read this on the Internet is scary and opens us up to a myriad of criticism, this is also me, being flooded with light.

I heard someone say once that fear is a liar. Well, I don’t know if that is necessarily true. I think fear is more of an oppressor than a liar. It was fear telling me not to say anything because people might think a certain way about my parents or they might judge or question my relationship with God. It was fear telling me that this might change the way that people treat me or my family and you know what? All of these things are probably true. Fear is not a liar but a captor. Yes, all of those things might very well happen and now I have a choice to live the rest of my life based on what fear says OR face fear head on and remove all of its power. I choose the second.

I am here to say that fear has no power over love and I will not walk in darkness or bring anyone down there with me.

Listen, this post isn’t just about me telling everyone that I am super happy to have found someone who is hilarious and brilliant and kind and loves Jesus (although, I am). This is a post to say I know I am not the only one who has a choice to make in their life right now: a choice to stand in the light of truth and your story or let the voice of fear shrink you down into darkness. The choice is all of ours.

Let’s start standing up to fear in a way that creates freedom for others to stand with us. The world desperately needs us to.

Oh, and Sami, thanks for teaching me one of the greatest things I’ve ever learned and being there every step of the way as I learned it.  

xx.

Brit Barron

What Brock Turner, Charleston and Orlando have to do with the church

The past few weeks, my social media timelines have been populated with outrage for the sentencing of Brock Turner. In the past 24hrs, they have been filled with posts in solidarity with and sadness for the tragedy that took place in Orlando. This coming week as we approach the one year anniversary of the Charleston shooting I imagine my timeline will be filled with remembrance, solidarity and people who are praying for the victims and their families and all of that is great. We should be outraged about Brock Turner, we should stand in solidarity with and pray for the victims of the hate and violence in both Orlando and Charleston, those are exactly the responses that I hope we would have and the responses that I would hope our churches have.

As a Christian, it brings me so much hope to see the body of Christ rally around any group of hurting people, because that is what we are called to do. But my fear is that we are quick to rally around those hurting groups without taking the time to realize that we have been a part of causing their pain.

Here’s what I mean. There were people who were outraged about the Brock Turner case but the same people post articles about how women shouldn’t wear yoga pants because it will cause men to stumble. We have churches who promote a theology of submissive women and aggressive men who are taught that lust and pride are the two acceptable sins to talk about because all men have them and that’s just the way it is. We have churches that participate in small, daily actions that fan the flame of the rape culture that America is so steeped in. We stand up in outrage against Brock Turner but instead of teaching men not to rape, we revert back to teaching our women how to not get raped. We promote male leadership and without saying it, we show our women that their voice is less valuable than a man’s voice. These are all small steps that lead to rape and we have to own up to our role in all of it.

People and churches all across America rushed to the aid of the church in Charleston. Some of those same people worship in segregated churches and refuse to address the systematic racism that exist in their places of worship. Some of those same churches support a legacy of theological racism by continuing to value the white voices of the church over the black voices. Churches who have refused to address the subtle racism that exists in their community outreach and missions organizations. Support came from people who, quite honestly, still lock their car door when they see a Black man walking by. Yes, we were all outraged by Charleston but the church in America today is as segregated as it ever was and we need to acknowledge our role in racism.

And of course, the country is now mourning with the victims and families of the Orlando tragedy and we should be. But we need to be able to understand our roles in all of this. Pastors and church leaders who have meetings to decide what role the LGBTQ community can have in their church, who don’t allow this community to serve in their ministries, worship in their congregations and certainly do not let them preach from the pulpit give the people of their church reason to see the LGBTQ community as less than. They are giving people permission to believe that this community has less value in the Body of Christ.

Friends, we have to start paying more attention, not when tragedy hits, not when we see the most extreme actions come out in violence and hate but when we are at church and we notice that only men preach from our pulpits. Or when we are looking at the books we read and the people we listen to and they are all white. Or when we don’t allow our children or ourselves to be in real, meaningful community with people who are not like us. We need to realize that as Christians, our churches are some of the hottest breeding grounds for poor ideologies about gender, race and sexuality. So as we gather as a country and pray for Orlando, I will also be praying for our churches. May God allow us to not raise another generation of church leaders that hold meetings to make decisions about how valuable a person is but rather, lets raise a generation of Christians that hold to the fundamental understanding that every human has a valuable role to play in the Kingdom of God.

We are not all innocent in this and we need to start doing our part to make this a better place. And to my friends out there that call yourselves Christians, let's do better. 

xx,

Brit Barron

"I'm not her when I don't have to be"

Like most people, I hate being uncomfortable. I don’t like hard things or difficult conversations and I despise not knowing what is going to happen next. So essentially, I am not a huge fan of the season that I am in now. I am currently very uncomfortable and feel like nothing is secure. But as much as I hate this season, I love the version of myself that shows up when I am here. She is such a badass! I am motivated, I seek God like no other, I am vulnerable and I ask for help. I speak my needs and desires and hopes and dreams to my community and I am honest, I am so honest with myself, God and really anyone who will listen. I am forced to daily release control realizing that I never had it in the first place and there is so much freedom in that. I love this version of myself. But I have realized something; I’m not her when I don’t have to be. When I am comfortable and things are predictable and safe, I shrink. I don’t take as many risks, I stop speaking my needs and hopes and dreams because I don’t want to rock my comfortable boat. I don’t seek God every second when I’m comfortable because what if She says something that will make my life uncomfortable again?

So this begs the question… why do I try so hard to create comfort? If I know that comfort doesn’t produce the best version of myself, why do I still want it so bad? Why is it so attractive? And if I know that hard things produce the best version of myself why do I run from them like the plague?

I think all to often, we have made the mistake of associating comfortable with good and uncomfortable with bad. If our lives are comfortable its because we are doing the right things and being rewarded accordingly BUT if our lives are uncomfortable, then we must have done something wrong. This association actually makes no sense - It isn’t biblical, Jesus only ever made people more uncomfortable so where did this even come from? I am not going to attempt to fully unpack all of the places I think we have made false associations as a society but I will say this; stop seeking comfort. Stop trying to create something that you were not meant for because we were never designed to live in comfort in the first place so let’s stop chasing it and finally step into the messy, the hard and the unsure and let’s watch as God meets us at each brave step and show us more and more of the strong, creative, determined and dependent people we were created to be. Let the discomfort do something to you, let it produce greatness. The world needs you to stop chasing comfort and be the badass you were meant to be. 

SOMEWHERE BETWEEN.

The older I get, the more I realize that life is far greyer than it is black and white. Life is really complicated and messy and rarely do decisions come down to “right or wrong.” Most of the decisions I make are between “kind of makes sense” and “maybe makes a little more sense.” Things can be both hard and good at the same time…and most of the people I know (including myself) are mostly good people with some things we still need to work through.

It would be easier if life was black and white and the lines between good or bad and right and wrong were clear but they are not. The lines are blurry and the space is grey and you know what...I’m ok with that. I am finding that it’s actually a great place to be. I love living in the tension of this middle place because it means I’m still living. I’m still learning. I’m still growing. Yes, it makes life more complicated but it’s where I want to be.

I am somewhere between old and young, feeling like I have something to offer but a ton of things to learn. I am somewhere between being a feminist and dancing my heart out to the most disrespectful Chris Brown song. I am somewhere between understanding God’s grace and living in shame. I am somewhere between a good human being and the most selfish person that I’ve ever met…and I am ok with all of it.

Being “somewhere between” means that God still gets to show me new things. Sometimes, when we think we have arrived, we become so rigid and set in our ways that we stop holding tension. We stop growing and shifting and changing and that is a risky place to be. We become less like clay for molding and more like cement that will inevitably have to break if God wants to move us. And that is not somewhere I want to be.  

I have been so disappointed recently with the rhetoric that I have heard from my Christian brothers and sisters in response to Target’s new inclusive bathroom policies (full post on this coming soon). But at the core of it all is fear—fear of anything new or different than what we are not used to. Fear that has been created in part by our unwillingness to sit in the middle space and maybe admit that we have been wrong before. Maybe admit that we don’t understand something. I am sure so many people would feel more comfortable if people were gay or straight, male or female. Or maybe we would be more comfortable if people were either criminal or innocent, racist or not, sexist or not, right or wrong, good or bad, sinners or perfect. But they are not. None of us are. We all exist somewhere between being a little bit sexist, kind of maybe racist and occasionally like to sin.

So this blog will be an ode to the middle space, to being somewhere between and acknowledging the tensions that exist when you live life in a real and messy way, this is the journey that I am on and I invite you to join me in it.

This is life Somewhere Between.

xx.