January 7, 2021
Lake B Friends and Family,
This week and next I have asked a few people to share some of their thoughts their time at Lake B. I’m grateful for their willingness to do this. Next week you will be hearing from Molllie Mana’o. Below is a letter from Chuck Strawn.
My name is Chuck Strawn, and our family has been a part of the Lake Burien community for about four years now. Carrie, our daughters (Zinash and Mihret), and I are a part of the Northern Diaspora, and have really missed the trips from Shoreline on Sunday Morning. We've missed much about being with our Lake B family- even as someone who's typically a reserved/reluctant participant, I actually miss the greeting times at the start of service. It's been really awkward to do this solely with people that you've been stuck in the house with for nine months. After the second week, it just lost all of the panache.
Our family came to Lake B out of relationships and out of a desire to be involved in a community where worship and gathering transcended the brief moments gathered together on Sunday mornings. Carrie and Lina have known each other from before the beginning of our dating relationship, and she's been "Aunt Lina" to my daughters for as long as we've been a family. Working at Seattle Pacific, I have personally been challenged and encouraged by Pastors Tali and Paul, and Susan, Tom, and Matt have all been LBPC elders who have been examples of faithfulness in my life as well. So, as we looked for a community to learn and share life, it made sense to join alongside people who show love so deeply.
But it is much more than this that draws us to LBPC. I won't presume to speak for Carrie, although I'm thankful that her heart resonates in many of the same ways. Speaking then for myself, having grown up in a pastor's home and being ordained as well, my experiences in the "business" of church has been... well, let's just go with "challenging". My faith tradition too often has looked at church as a way station, a place to check in with regularly to get whatever needs exist met, to receive encouragement, and to listen for things that support a preconceived theological notions. And while those are all important spaces, and places where the Spirit can speak (if we'll listen), it's not something that I felt resonance with. Forrest Clay sings "I won't do it anymore, it's taken me too long to recover."
While I'm still de- and re- constructing things, I feel the pressing urgency to be involved in a place that's looking to model true community and true Kingdom. What does it mean to really be the hands and feet of God amidst the messiness that we ourselves have created? What does it look like to acknowledge the hope in our brokenness, and to be OK not being OK? And to be surrounded by people who are asking the same questions, challenging the same structures, and loving each other in spite of (and because of) all of these things? That's where my heart feels drawn... again, as Clay writes "I'll go heal the sick and poor and try to help the world to recover".
But more than "going to help", God calls us to be a part of true recovery and restoration, which means confronting those things which create illness and poverty and separation in the first place. The family at LBPC hunger for that as well, which both reflects and invigorates the pastoral staff and elders. And that's obvious to people who even briefly engage with LBPC across any number of opportunities. That's what gives hope to someone who's naturally skeptical the way that I am- hope and excitement to see what God will do next... because we can see what God is doing now.
To be clear, I'm really really looking forward to hearing Crystal say "Good Morning Lake B!!!" as the unofficial call to worship when we next gather together. But I'm even more excited about hearing God's people say "Amen" to however the Spirit calls us to worship for 2021 and beyond.
Thanks for including our family in the adventure.
Charles C. "Chuck" Strawn