Our Front Porch Swing
Somewhere Safe to be Yourself
Grandma had a fabulous porch swing. It provided entertainment and escape for many generations of my family. Sometimes it served as the safe haven for the many games of tag we played. Other times it was the sacred space where frayed relationships started the process of mending. Most often it was a place of good conversation where the both the participants and the eavesdroppers learned something new. It was the symbol of family and familiarity. It was home.
As the ideas and planning for Empty Church started coming to form it was evident that we needed a front porch swing. We needed a place to talk, wrestle with issues, and find safety when life starts tagging us with difficulty. There needed to be a place where conversation happens and we learn something new or hear something again, but for the first time. We needed a place that was equally accessible for those that like to talk, but also for those who prefer to listen. But the idea of sitting on a porch swing is, admittedly, an outdated one. Newer homes do not have front porches much less porch swings. We recognized the need, but were not sure of a solution.
Looking For Porch Swings
We went to other churches and saw that only a few people had the privilege to speak and share their thoughts. While we respected all the people who gave us their opinion we just never had time to ask a question, seek clarification, or offer a different perspective like we had been able to do on the porch swing. We looked to coffee shops and cafes for inspiration but we found that eavesdropping and joining random conversations with strangers is frowned upon and downright rude. The same was true while riding public transportation. We were running out of ideas. How exactly does a church provide a place to talk, argue, disagree, and discuss the big important issues of life and the tiny details that make us unique humans?
A 21st Century Front Porch Swing
It should be no surprise, especially if you are reading this, that we found our answer on the Internet. Social networks like Twitter and Facebook, Internet forums like reddit, and Blog comments are the 21st century’s equivalent to the front porch swing. We learn, discuss, and even troll, but we all have the ability to opt-in to the conversation to our comfort level. We re-tweet what we agree with and shake our heads at what we don’t. We hold each other accountable by fact checking and linking to other articles. We post inspirational thoughts and relay humorous videos. The Internet is our front porch swing.
And when we realized this we set out to build the best front porch swing that our humble talents would allow. We want every digital outpost of Empty Church to be a place where you can jump in to a conversation or eavesdrop on a thread. We want to tell you about what Jesus has done for us and how it shapes the way we live on our planet. You may agree or you might think we are nuts. That’s cool. Let’s talk about it. We’ll see you on the porch swing.