Without getting to poetic about it, there truly are seasons in life, ones that we personally experience and others that we corporately experience as part of a larger culture, or a sub-set of that culture. If you have your ear to the ground at all, certainly in my context in the US but many other places as well, we find ourselves in a season of unrest. Political overhaul, the continued rise of social media platforms holding power over how we frame our world, and an increase in fear holding sway over relationships, are just a few of the marks that, I think, go deeper.
Personally I've been in a season of upheaval, in a good way, as my wife and I welcomed our 2nd daughter Riley Junia, to the family in July. Plans at work have taken more than I wished out of me, and getting used to being a family of 4, while joyous, has changed my capacity to invest in Roughhewn People, caring for culture, and longing to be a part of more stories than my own and listen well. None of this is meant as an excuse, for Roughhewn People being a bit silent this summer, or for our lack of action to care for the hurt and pain around us. It acknowledges where I'm at and we are at
We want to be more of a force in this world, for peace, reconciliation, mending relationships, caring for each other, our broader culture, and the earth. This has always been a part of the hope behind Roughhewn People, but we want it to be even more tangible as we seek to answer the question: what is my role in the fractured culture and relationships I see around me? As a personal confession, I don't feel I've been bold in how I add my voice to fray, and as a team we've wanted to challenge injustice and imbalance of power, political leverage and blindness of privilege, but haven't been bold in how we actually engage with those stories and bring to light those that are pushed down by those in power. We want to be walking in those grey spaces where theres no room for lines in the sand of us and them, room to listen and grieve, hope and dream. We are praying for more voices to continue to help us as well!
One small step, as we see it, is this next event we are holding. Called Culture, we are partnering with World Relief Chicago, a group dedicated to being on the front lines of one kind of pain and injustice. We want to draw attention to the hope they provide, and the beautiful cultures they engage with and draw into the fabric of our own. Too, we want to give back to them financially, as they are dependent on people with hearts for care of people and culture even more in the current political climate surrounding refugees. I'm grateful to call both guest speakers, Joel Schoon-Tanis and John Barcanic, friends, and am excited to hear their own stories of engaging with neighbors, people and culture both in our country and abroad.
Does this answer the deeper questions around power, privilege, injustice? Not directly or in any way completely. But if the creativity in all of us is a call to something deeper, something different than the dominant narrative we are told is the one way to view things, then I have to hope that gathering together to renew our stories, learn new ones, and share that in our life, art, job and family is a part of creating a culture of inclusion and care, rather than exclusion and fear. If you have ways to join us or help on our own journey of learning and broadening our hearts, please let us know! Thanks for prayers, journeying with us as we pursue how to be better as a team at being a catalyst, and for adding your hearts, voices and stories to our own.
Creative Director of Roughhewn People