Tractor battery? Check! Current inverter? Check! Slideshow of awesome Christians? Check! Partner in crime? Check! Let’s do this!
I got pretty stoked about infiltrating First Friday with some saints–the occasion of First Friday falling on All Saints Day (November 1) won’t happen again until 2024. I rigged up a tractor battery with an inverter to run a powerpoint of saints on a projector right there on 3rd Street. I got my church planting partner, Vanessa, to come along. She brought her baby, Leo. It was going to be fun.
The powerpoint was pulled from Circle of Hope’s blog celebrating the transhistorical body of Christ [link]. The flyer I made for the event said, “Circle of Hope looks to the great ones of the Church throughout history to inspire us and lead us to acts of great love and resistance. We are part of the transhistorical body of Christ. We are convinced that Jesus has always found ways to move His redemption project forward in all kinds of circumstances.”
When we got there I learned First Friday has attracted a lot of street vendors, most of which are as unsanctioned as my slideshow. So my subversive sense of what I was doing was a little undermined. Nonetheless we set up shop, made friends with our neighbors and as it was getting dark we fired up the projector. Subsequently the bulb blew out and our whole big thing became a much smaller thing.
I was disappointed but being there with Vanessa, intrepid mother and effusive optimist, salvaged the fun. We made some more friends, talked about the great saints in our slideshow and passed out a bunch of flyers. It was a good learning experience. I learned what First Friday was like these days–who comes, when do they come where they go. I learned how to use an inverter and a battery to power electronics. I learned how to fail.
I had spent a lot of time and energy making this idea work- probably too much. To not get to see if it was even somewhat fantastic was a real bummer. However, Vanessa and I agreed that it was better to dream big and do something than to think small or to do nothing. Trying and failing unlocks me from a pattern of high expectations for myself. I can be stuck in a desire to achieve something great and do nothing for fear of not meeting my own expectations. Not doing anything fails to meet those same expectations but in a way that allows me to believe in the hypothetical success of my ideas.
Talk is cheap. It doesn’t cost anything to have an idea. Doing something in this case cost me some of my most valued currency- my sense of my own capacity. Fortunately my valuing something and its being valuable are two different things. Messing up, or burning out bulbs or whatever other perceived failures we experience can be rich investment in heavenly treasure. Receiving the good gifts that occurred despite my unmet need for fantastic success was a good thing to learn to do. It frees me up to try with lower stakes. By God’s grace it loosens me up to be more creative. It’s not an act of my will or my power. Nothing works but God.
And of course I’m praying along with all of you for those I did meet–for the cool flyers sitting in their car, or on their kitchen table, or in their pants pocket–to be noticed again and reconsidered. Pray with me that they would join this part of the transhistorical body of Christ and be saints (holy people) with us.