“Our children cannot dream unless they live, they cannot live unless they are nourished, and who else will feed them the real food without which their dreams will be no different from ours?” – Audre Lorde, Poetry is Not a Luxury
As this new year unfurls in a strange mix of the stale and chaotic, languid and consuming, too fast and too slow, one would not be blamed for feeling a resistance to talk of dreaming. Shouldn’t dreaming be reserved for the stable times? Isn’t dreaming a luxury for when there is a surplus of energy – or at least, enough? If life felt a bit more under control – then…the question of what could be. The vulnerable and risky business of imaginging-otherwise opens us to the possibilities we fear will never become. Though histories of liberation teach us just the opposite, dominant forces work to deaden and suppress our dreaming in the name of survival. Audre Lorde reminds, “If what we need to dream, to move our spirits most deeply and directly toward and through promise, is a luxury, then we have given up the core-the fountain-of our power…”
Though the well of our individual dreams can indeed run dry, we know that even in dreaming, we can find what we need when turn toward together. The dreams that can free and heal and sustain – they are not the product of an isolated will but the unfolding of collective longings. We tap into the stuff of wisdom lineages and embodied movements, the offerings of artists and poets, the harvest of wisdom in kitchen table conversations and encounters with the land. These dreams are not luxuries. They are bread. They are nutrients. They are sources of sacred power. They enable us – as much as we choose to be an “us” that dreams in a liberative direction – to help our children be braver than we have been in imagining and practicing the im/possible. A world without policing. An earth that can rest. Stolen land returned. A collective ethic that centers disability justice…a collective commitment to love with follow-through.
As I look back on the work of enfleshed in 2021, I see so many glimpses of “the real food” we need to dream these different dreams together. The contributors to this work and those who engage it – in their midst, I find my way back to dreaming. I feel things differently. More honestly. More imaginatively. The impossibility of sustaining individualistic dreams is transformed into the collectively possible – a dream that reaches so much farther than any one of us that we have nothing fear in handing ourselves over to it. I feel so grateful for everyone who makes it so – for this ecosystem that enables everyday feasting on the stuff of dreams. Not a luxury, but a necessity. May there be more than enough for all of us in 2022.
– Rev. M Barclay
some highlights of 2021
HELD: blessings for the depths
One of our favorite creative projects yet! HELD is an anthology of blessings for the depths in four sections: space, sea, soil, spirit. Blessings are interspersed with art pieces and introspective prompts for reflection directly in your book or as a partner to your favorite journal. Includes blessings from a variety of traditions, spiritualities, and frameworks of meaning by Bayo Akomolafe, Catherine Keller, Dori Midnight and Randy Furash-Stewart, and 49 additional authors.
For the last 200 weeks, through collective grief and precarity and possibility, enfleshed has provided materials to companion pastors and communities in preparing for worship together. Centering liberation theologies and a commitment to finding the Sacred in the here and now, not abstractly but in and through the flesh of the earth and all its lifeforms, Liturgy that Matters strives to be one small part of making worship a space of radical and transformative potential.
Casey Overton became the new editor, bringing their depth of insight and expertise to every issue.
Molly Bolton became the new weekly liturgist. Their poetic abilities bring an added layer of beauty to the order of worship.
Thanks to a new digital platform, we’re now able to offer subscribers the whole collection of resources which include four years of the lectionary cycle.
trans faith internship
Moments for Common Nourishment
24 more issues in the books! Each month, our bi-monthly column features a guest writer and our theologian-in-residence, anna blaedel. Offering honest and insightful spiritual reflections to nourish those striving to live in the directions of collective liberation.
By Layton E. Williams Recently, in announcing a summer sabbatical for her team, Brené Brown referenced a quote from British actress, director, and screenwriter Michaela Coel that says, “Do not be afraid to disappear, from it, from us, for a while, and see what comes...
“The higher goal of spiritual living,” writes Rabbi Abraham Heschel,” is not to amass a wealth of information, but to face sacred moments.” Our study, our practice, our rituals, our beliefs–all of little ultimate value if the knowing and doing is not enfleshed in our...
By Holden Cession The arrival of Spring signals to us an end to hibernation, a time of rebirth, and a season of action. While I love seeing the flowers bloom and feeling the shift in weather, I find myself still longing for the slowed pace of Winter. We’re less than...
More than 500 people joined us in a lenten practice reflecting on “pathways to collective flourishing.” Each day, the community received a single word for reflection and was invited to write three simple lines of poetry in reflective response on a padlet like the one shown below. It was a delight to journey through this season and practice together.
behind the scenes
Just a few of the things we’re always up to behind the scenes:
- writing custom liturgies for special occasions like ordinations, home rituals, unique worship services and other contexts where liturgies that strike the right tone are hard to come by
- writing liturgies to add to our free liturgy library
- teaching, podcasts, consulting, and workshops – highlights this year include a class with queer clergy on “befriending eros and the desire of god,” various trans-inclusion trainings for those working in the medical field, and participating in “Trans Friday” – a special Good Friday service hosted by TTYLN (Theology Talks You Like…Or Not!) with Rev. DaSaint.
- creating our annual contemplative wall calendars – this year features the theme “practice makes possible.“
- being an ongoing partner with others like Showing Up For Racial Justice’s “The Word is Resistance” podcast, Faith In Harm Reduction leadership, and board member cassidy hall producing “contemplating now” podcast.
- curating near daily bite size bits of spiritual nourishment on social media (connect with us on facebook, twitter, or instagram)
enfleshed simply would not be without the support and contributions of so many different people. enfleshed is the web its contributors and partners weave. writers. artists. board members. those who support financially, who help spread the word about our resources, who encourage and challenge us. we could not be more grateful for every person who makes this collective work possible.
if you have found enfleshed meaningful or our resources have companioned you or your community through this year, please consider making a one time contribution or becoming a monthly supporter of enfleshed. there is so much more we hope to bring into being in 2022.