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So today’s toast is based on yesterday’s Lap Letter about my experience of going to church. It was actually a positive experience.

The three things I felt were: loved, valued, and stretched. Read the Lap Letter to see what I mean. My conclusion is that this kind of community is exceedingly rare. Many of the people who left the last church I pastored have told me, “I’ve been spoiled for anything else. I can’t find any community even close to what we had.” I concur. But I experienced a taste of it again yesterday.

Why? Because I felt loved as I was, not as I should be. They were genuinely interested in me as a unique person. I felt valued, but not for what I had to offer. I could feel it in the air: every person there is valued for who they are and whatever they choose to contribute. Some of the pastor’s strongest supporters are atheists who simply value the quality of community there. And I felt stretched… not to believe increasingly stupid ideas, but to love more radically and inclusively.

This is what I believe makes great community. We are trying to do it here at TLS. If you can find it locally as well, take advantage of it! That’s a rare find.