Friday, May 30, 2008

Amy Moffit -Spotlight on Convergence

It is really impossible to understand what is happening at Convergence without hearing the stories. We are going to begin providing space for feedback, comments and stories in our newslettters. Please email us if you've got something to share!

Our first feature is taken from a communion service several months ago. Amy Moffit shared her experience and now we are sharing it with you!

Convergence Testimony 3/30/08 – Amy Moffitt

Last October, my friend Cindi emailed me while I was visiting my brother out in Colorado Springs. She had been looking for a place where she could participate in an “Artist’s Way” group, and she’d stumbled across the webpage of a “church for artists”. She wanted to know if I’d come with her… in case it was weird. Weird things and Cindi combined generally equals a good time, so I said yes.

The place was called “Convergence”. One part of me –the juvenile, 14 year old boy part—sneered at the name and the concept. I imagined a bunch of stuffy, pompous “arteests”, staring down their noses at any newcomers… “are they REALLY artists?”. I imagined things I could do to distract myself if I got tired of it all… fantasized about bringing a whoopee cushion or suddenly faking a British accent or a seizure. In my own way, I was preparing to be really really intimidated.

The other part of me knew deep down that at one time I WAS artistic. I had won prizes for my poetry in high school and had edited the literary magazine in high school and college. I’d also sung. A lot. I’d led music and done solos for churches in England while I was living in Oxford and London and again in Roanoke and Fairfax, VA. I’d briefly joined the Royal Choral Society in London and the choir for the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception here in DC. I’d sung a solo of Panis Angelicus for the Archbishop of (I think) Nottingham in Oxford and blared brassy backup vocals for the CD my then-boyfriend was recording of a musical he’d written in Roanoke. Basically, I was a singer. But I hadn’t sung anything, at all, in almost two years…barely sung in the shower, even. That part of me, the artistic part, was excited and nervous about the church.

My first clue that the place was ok was David Hawkins, or “the blond guy with the tattoos” as I labelled him, whom not only was attending the church, but was reading a scripture passage at the FRONT of the church. Then Todd started talking about laments. Do you guys remember that service? And then he told us that we would be writing a lament… and I felt like I’d been waiting forever for someone to ask me to do just that. My pen hit the paper and the words just came. The tears started dripping down my nose and onto the paper. I pawed around for a tissue, dabbed at my face and kept writing. I still keep that Lament on my bedside table.

I read this out loud, and I was impressed that more than half the congregation also shared their laments. After the service, Doug cam up and asked me if I was a writer, which stunned me a bit. Then Pam came up and thanked me for sharing and praised my writing with real sincerity. I told them that, well, I used to write. And I knew that I’d be back.

At some point in my teens, I had come to believe that I –the voracious reader and constant writer and composer of songs and singer ever since I’d been old enough to do any of those things was bad and selfish for spending my time on such activities and not in the service of others. I think this was the message I got from Christian culture… that you couldn’t be a Christian and an artist.

So I did try to serve others. I co-led the prison ministry and worked in a soup kitchen in college. I led young adults ministries, taught Bible studies and kids camps, led worship, taught ESL. Then I got a job in the international student office and threw myself into that wholeheartedly. I lived with international students, socialized with international students, prayed for them, worried about them. Then I started a Masters degree in Conflict Analysis and Resolution with the intention of going abroad when I was done so I could help those in need. Except that I didn’t want to. I didn’t like the Masters program, and I was burned out on helping people. Friends who went overseas came back burned out, sick, and disillusioned with how little they’d actually been able to do. The more I worked and studied, the more I felt I was parroting some version of what I thought I was supposed to be… like I was sleepwalking through somebody else’s life. My decisions in my personal life refelcted a sort of fatalistic detachment, as though I no longer knew who I was or what I wanted.

I am, honestly, still struggling with this, but a lot of it has changed since I’ve come to Convergence. I faithfully write my Artist’s pages every morning as I started in the Artist’s Way workshop. I’ve been indulging in reading books I want to read rather than ones I feel I’m supposed to, watching independent films that I’ve wanted to watch for years but felt guilty spending the time on it. I’ve started a blog and even started writing songs with Cindi’s help. I’ve started singing again, just a bit. I can honestly say that so much has changed as a result of my new belief that my creativity and my Christianity are 100% compatible, and that I have been given the gifts I have to use, and not just in ways acceptable to mainstream Christian culture. I feel like I’m reclaiming the me that God created me to be, not the useful drone that I was trying to be. I have a greater sense of integrity and wholeness now, like I’m no longer pretending. I’m not trying to save the world. I’m trying to be whole and to let God dictate my priorities rather than the workaholic culture… and I think I can already sense God blessing me as I slowly come into focus.

Amy's Blog

No comments: