Storytell

The Rare Gift of Being a Kid Again (An Everyday Story by Krissy Kludt)

On Sunday, Krissy Kludt shared an Everyday Story about learning to become a kid again.

Going to the cabin is like being transported back in time. My grandparents bought the little red house in 1972 and have come up every summer since.  I haven’t been here in six years, and yet everything is the same – the same games, the same 1969 rambler speed boat, the same shelf full of expired sunscreen. Even the same menu: fried fish, Cole slaw, and grandma’s cornbread casserole for dinner; root beer floats for dessert.  Walking in the door four days ago, I was transported back twenty years.
Even I am the same here. Suddenly I’m a girl again, despite my two-and-a–half-year-old son and the baby in my belly. Last night I caught five rock bass on a kiddie pole because there weren’t enough grown-up poles to go around, and this week I’m the youngest grown up. I still sit in the middle of the boat, still fish over Grandpa’s right shoulder.
But there is one difference that has hit me this week: it is a rare gift for my soul to be a kid again.

Listen to the full audio above or read the rest here at Krissy's blog!

Entering the Threshold

[Thresholds] constitute the connective tissue that helps bind or separative activities and segue from one space to the next…Thresholds and Transitions mark changes in mood, tempo, and subject matter as people move from space to space. (Scott Doorley & Scott Witthof in Make Space (40).

Look! I’m standing at the door and knocking. If any hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to be with them, and will have dinner with them, and they will have dinner with me. (Revelation 3:20, Jesus speaking to the Laodicean church)

This summer is a threshold season for Open Door. June marked the beginning of this threshold with a season of sending. This summer we’ll continue to journey through the threshold. 

While Open Door moves through this threshold, you're probably experiencing a threshold of your own (maybe more than one!). Job transitions, moving, navigating relationships, saying hellos, saying goodbyes. Sometimes it can be helpful to name transitions and thresholds out loud: 

"Hi, my name is Dave, and I'm in the middle of _____. It's something of a threshold I'm moving through."

At Open Door, we care and devote ourselves to the cultivation and formation of followers of Jesus. As each of us, individually, is constantly in formation, so our community, the Open Door family, is in constant formation. As we explored during The Immigrants’ Journey, movement and change is intertwined with life - we follow and are formed by a God who moves!

Just as a seed’s journey is one of small and microscopic transformation before life-giving blossoming and fruitfulness, so we seek constant transformation, individually and collectively, into the image of Christ. 

Our name - Open Door - points to the reality that what we do together is navigate life’s thresholds. I’m grateful and excited to navigate these thresholds with you all as we seek to receive and extend the unfolding story of God’s good news in our lives and in all the places we live, work and play!

dave 

The Instant Between (A Poem About Falling)

The Instant Between by Krissy Kludt 
Originally posted here.

I.

I cling to the rock
gripping with all my strength
the tiny holds – cracks and ledges just
wide enough for a finger tip
Aware
only of the rock
and the air
behind, above, below.
Time passes – moments,
or eons, perhaps –
and then there is nothing but air rushing
by my falling body.
Silence.
Heavily weightless, nothing moves but the threads
of my hair, winding and unwinding around
one another in the wind,
a graceful dance.
Splash!
I plunge down deep, feet first
into the warm green water,
silence broken by the cavalcade of bubbles
babbling about me.
Suspended in the instant between
moving down and moving up
I taste the salt, feel it
kiss my lips, sting my eyes.
Then, in a rush, I surge to the surface
and suddenly it is sun, not water, that kisses my face.
I smile
and float,
held by the water, warmed by the sun
on the surface of a vast ocean.

II.

I wake in darkness.
I smell the rich, damp smell of earth
so close to my nose I can hardly breathe.
I can’t move enough to open my eyes.
I hear footsteps
muffled just enough
that I cannot tell if they are distant
or just above my head.
A moment passes –
or eons, maybe –
and I can feel a new warmth
stroking my hair.
I am suddenly aware of my arms
and the power to move them.
I push upward
feeling the damp, rich soil
move through my fingertips.
One by one, my ten fingers reach the surface –
there is no hurry here.
And then I discover my legs –
a slow flexing, a memory of movement –
I have done this before.
My legs push down
toes digging deeper into the soil
surrendering to its rich, fragrant darkness.
Time passes
in the in between
and then gradually
or suddenly –
which, I truly cannot say –
I feel the sunlight on my face:
a second awakening.
I blink the soil from my eyes
too accustomed to darkness
to take in all that light.

III.

I cling to the rock.
Or the ladder, rather,
there so long the rock has grown around it.
The waves batter my back
again
and again.
For many moments I can’t breathe
I cough the salt from my lungs,
blink it from my eyes –
the ocean has eclipsed all possibility of tears.
I brace myself for another wave –
just time enough to remember how to breathe
and adjust my grip on the cold, ridged metal
between each onslaught.
How long am I here?  I cannot say.
Time passes.
And then someone is behind me.
He is familiar, yet I’m not certain I
have seen him before.
He wraps his strength around me,
clinging to the ladder for me
pressing my body to safety
holding it with his own.
“I will hold you to this rock,” he whispers,
and in that moment I know his voice.
Time passes.  Moments.  Eons.
Gently, he pulls me from the ladder on the rock.
We float backward
He holds me in the swell
as my hands remember how to relax their grip.
“It’s okay,” he says, and I look around.
As he fades into the ocean,
the thought comes to me:
I have been here before.

The Extras Purge and the Great Material Continuum

20150218_the_lent_project_bannerKrissy wrote this last year while living in Hollywood. It resurfaced for her this week as she's been processing through #TheLentProject Extras Purge this week with Open Door. The Great Material Continuum (Krissy Kludt)

When I was younger, I bought few clothes, and I kept them forever. I still had clothes in college that I had worn in middle school. I had a closet full of things at my parents’ house that I never wore, but kept just in case they would come back into style. Sometimes things do: in high school, Nikki and I gave my dad the hardest time about his too-tight jeans, begging him to get something looser; ten years later, jeans got skinny again. As my dad put it, delighted, “I lapped myself!”

When we moved to Hollywood, I found a new system for clothing. Trends change more quickly here, and thrift stores have an abundance of (almost) current fashions. In Wisconsin, Goodwill has mostly XXL T-shirts; in LA, it’s full of Forever 21, H&M, and Urban Outfitters. Angelenos acquire more often, and they get rid of things more often. I found myself inheriting clothes from friends all the time, many days wearing entire outfits that were cast-offs of Abby’s or Bethany’s. Rather than “keep forever, never buy,” my new motto was “hold all things loosely.” I, too, acquired things more often – at yard sales or thrift stores or from friends – and I got rid of things I stopped wearing, trusting that I wouldn’t regret it.

Dave and I have our geeky moments, and in one of them a couple of years ago, we watched a whole lot of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. If you are less geeky and therefore less familiar with Star Trek, you may not know about the Ferengi aliens and their pseudo-religious belief in economics. The closest they have to a god is their belief in the Great Material Continuum. They call it the “Great River,” believing that all places have too much of one resource and not enough of another, but that all material things flow in the “Great River,” eventually ending up where they are needed. (Ideally, of course these material things flow through the Ferengi and provide them with plenty of cash along the way.)

I have started to believe in the Great Material Continuum. I cannot tell you how many times I have needed something, asked for it (or not asked for it), and waited until it came to me. I needed clipboards for school, but not badly enough to go out and buy any. (This was in our early Fuller days when we lived and paid for Dave’s school on my new teacher’s salary, and cash did not feel particularly abundant.) One day we helped some friends move, and they were throwing out a box of clipboards. I’d wanted an old wooden chest for years, and one day one appeared at a yard sale next door to HomeState. Dave needed more pants, and one day he found a pair of H&M jeans on the sidewalk in his size. It happens to us all the time. I am starting to believe that what you need will come to you if you are willing to wait.

There is an economy in East Hollywood of which we were once completely unaware, but we began to observe it and participate in it. There is an economy beyond that of cash and credit cards, when you begin to look.

A few weeks ago there was a family sitting outside of Burger King across the street from us with several large suitcases. They had two small children with them. It is unusual to see homeless kids in our area, so I assumed they had some other story – ended up in our neighborhood off the metro, waiting for a ride from friends, something like that. It turns out they had just gotten off the Amtrak from West Virginia, and were waiting until Monday (this was Saturday) for the homeless shelters to open for intake.

I brought them diapers and a few groceries, sat on a suitcase and chatted with the mother. Their son wore the same sized diapers as Everett. My heart broke for this mother. Our instinct to take care of our children is so strong, and this family was struggling so much to do so. I prayed with them. While I sat with them, one man gave a few dollars to the little boy, a woman dropped off cereal and juice, and another man called the police for them, assuring them that the police department could probably get them into a shelter that night. These people were strangers here, and so alone, and yet their most basic needs were being met by the people walking by.

The next night we went to the Manna Room after our church gathering. The Manna Room is a food pantry that brings in and sorts almost-expired, dented and otherwise unsellable Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s food, and it opens for the church on Sunday nights. After Everett was born and I left my job, we were tighter on money than we had been in a long time, and we were grateful for this abundant provision. Some weeks we found more in the Manna Room than others; some weeks we needed more than others. On this week, we had bought groceries for several people besides ourselves. That night, the Manna Room was overflowing, full of things that were on my list for the grocery store, where I was headed afterward: pesto and goat cheese and diced tomatoes and fiber cereal for Everett. I was full to the brim with gratitude.

We live in an economy of grace. Somehow, our needs continue to be met, again and again, in the most unexpected ways. When I worry I’ve overspent our food budget for the month, the Manna Room happens to have everything we desire. Just when I think I don’t have energy left to make it another few hours until Dave gets home, Everett decides to take a three-hour nap. When my house is a disaster and I haven’t had a moment to think and Everett doesn’t seem to want to ever nap again, one of our housemates shows up and plays with him in our yard so I can do the dishes and sit down for a few minutes.

An economy of grace is an economy of abundance. When we live out of abundance, like the loaves and the fishes, what we have multiplies. We have enough time, enough food, enough money. We have more than enough love.

Am I the woman – the mother, wife, child, friend – I wish I were? Not even on my best days. But I live in an economy of grace, an economy of abundance, and in that economy, by owning my own insufficiency, I become enough. When I choose to live in the economy of grace, when I do the hard work it takes to believe in abundance, joy grows within me, sending roots down deep into gratitude. I have enough. Roots soak in nourishment from that fertile soil and send stems skyward. I have more than enough. Leaves unfold, open to the sky. By grace, I become enough. There will be space enough for growth. There will be room enough for love. There will be time enough for revelation.

One day I stopped to chat with a homeless woman named Amariah who lives in the park up the street. She told me she needed toenail clippers and a jacket, and asked if I had either to spare. She told me her story. Then she pulled me over to her pile of belongings and asked what I needed.

“I don’t need anything; I have enough,” I said.

“How about shampoo? Do you need shampoo? When I get it I pour it out into smaller bottles and give it to the other women in the park. I asked the salon over there if they needed it, but they said no. I gave it to them anyway.”

I smiled, “That’s ok, I really don’t need anything.”

She started rummaging through a suitcase. “Here,” she said. “Take these.” She handed me a pair of jean shorts.

“Really, you don’t have to. I don’t need anything.”

“Take them. They’re nice – they’re Lucky brand. If you have two, you’re supposed to give one away, so that’s what I’m doing.”

I didn’t tell her that I was walking back home from Goodwill, where I had tried on several pairs of shorts without finding any that fit.

“We’re neighbors, you know,” I said to Amariah as I hugged her goodbye.

“No,” she shook her head. “We’re sisters.”

Everyday Story: A Sweet Journey (Brook Dalrymple)

It has been a sweet journey and a highlight of our 4 month marriage so far joining Open Door. I really feel that the journey God has us on during this season aligns with what the Open Door community is about. everyday_storiesIt was a week before our wedding in July and we had just started moving boxes into our new place in Pleasant Hill. I emailed a family friend who lives in Martinez about what churches Justin and I should check out. She told me that I had to check out Open Door. So we went! We were warmly welcomed and had several people come up to us asking if we were new. However, what stood out the most for me though was right before Jer started teaching, he was expressing the grief he had in his heart over what was going on around the world at the time...the airplane that was mistakenly shot down that was caring the top AIDS researchers in the world, and Syria and Gaza were erupting...and we all prayed together for God's mercy. I turned to Justin and said, "is this for real?"

Both Justin and I have spent a lot of time overseas in Asia and the Middle East and God has really cultivated in us a heart for the world yet we came from a church that was nervous about making mention to anything outside the church walls. It was thrilling to have someone mention from the pulpit realities of what was going on in the world and then responding in prayer for God's mercy.

The one comical piece to this was that during this particular service, the sermon was more of a time of story and application from a previous series and we just so happened to not have opened the Bible. And so, I remember telling Justin that if they just open the Bible, I'm totally in. We have to go back. So, about month later, now married and settled into our place, we came back and we're welcomed again and people remembered us. And then... we opened our Bibles and I took this sigh of relief and said to Justin, "ok, I'm good." During that same service, we heard about the Orientation to ODC circle and agreed that this was are best next step in this process because we still knew very little about Open Door and wanted to get plugged in as soon as we could.

Taking a step back, a theme of the last 4-5 years of my life, and Justin's as well, has been understanding the Gospel in a deeper capacity that goes beyond my individual salvation. The greater picture has been the greater story of God restoring and redeeming creation and Jesus bringing the Kingdom of God on earth. So right now, we are in process of that restoration. I am being renewed and made more like-Christ, but so is the rest of the world. And I must be attentive to how God is allowing me to be apart of bringing that renewal to the world. So, what solidified things for Justin and I in the Orientation Circle was that Open Door is SO about this....this bigger picture of heaven being ushered in on earth. To us, that was extremely refreshing and authentic to here and matched what God has been sanctifying in us. This is a church that is attune to where there is brokenness happening and aware of posturing themselves to how God is restoring and building his Kingdom here on earth. The Orientation Circle also gave us an opportunity to get to know Jer and Dave better. When we were first looking at churches in the area, Justin kept saying that whoever the pastor is, he has to be someone that he would want to follow in how he imitates Christ...which is discipleship in it's simplest form. What's so cool is that already, we have literally followed Jer and Dave and walked alongside them, learning with them and practicing being peacemakers.

We are now finishing up the Black/White Race divide Circle. It's really difficult to try and formulate how meaningful and transformative this Circle has been and I am (and will continue to be) in process with it for a very long time. And it's pretty insane to think about how timely this Circle is to what is going on in America currently. And what's crazy, yet again, is how the Circle is aligned with understanding the position that the Gospel is about God's story of redeeming the world and slowly restoring creation, which is made possible through Jesus. If I am viewing the Gospel in this way, then racial divide in the East Bay matters. Ferguson matters. Eric Garner matters. Hearing the pain of people among the black community matters. One of the pastors who spoke in our circle said that we have to be about addressing the broken systems that are breaking people. I've learned to a greater degree about walking humbly...listening to pain that I won't ever fully understand, and asking hard, awkward, tense, uncomfortable questions that force me to confront how I look at the world around me. And not coming up with answers or rebuttals or defensiveness, but just humbly listening. And being in situations were I feel unsafe. And I realize how little I cared about justice before, because I never experienced injustice in the way I personally looked at the world. But God is a just God and so his restoration of the world involves justice...making the world right.

That's why on hard days, or really any day you read or watch the news, you sense this tension. The tension of what is and what should be. And that's where we are. Envisioning and moving toward what should be amongst what is. There are still so many other thoughts that are still being formulated, but I am very grateful to be processing all of this within a community of people who love Jesus and are learning with me about how we actually mourn and weep and bring peace in a way that is reflection of who Jesus is.

An Open Door Story: Caitlyn Littrell on the Tune Circle

circles_banner_mini My husband, Ryan, and I are new to Open Door, so we decided the best way to really figure this place out was to immerse ourselves. We did this by joining four of the five Fall Circles. We liked that each Circle had a beginning and an end date, and we were very intrigued by all of the topics. So we ditched our normal precedent of keeping our schedule as open as possible and signed up, starting with a four-week Circle called Tune led by Dave and Krissy Kludt.

In the weeks since the Circle concluded, Ryan and I have continued to process, discuss, and practicewhat we learned. We have started to incorporate rest, lament, celebration, and reconciliation into our daily lives based on what we explored with this group. I loved that we took all the discussion and learning from Tuesday nights and were encouraged to immediately start working that out in how we actually live. I was particularly excited for the Tune Circle, because it was all about worship. Singing worship music in church on Sundays is one of my favorite parts of my whole week, and I was looking forward to learning ways to expand my worship experience. Dave and Krissy opened their home every Tuesday night for four weeks, and we gathered on their patio to explore worship in various forms. Right away it was a transformative experience. The Kludts led us in different practices of worship using reading, meditation, writing, discussion, art, food, and—my favorite—a dance party. The group was full of amazing, authentic people and through their willingness to risk and experiment, my faith and understanding of worship deepened.

TUNE web bannerOne of the biggest changes we have made is to pursue rest in the form of taking a Sabbath. We are still working out how this will look, and some of our Sabbaths have been more successful than others, but it has been rewarding to see this practice as a way to worship Jesus. I will treasure the people I spent those four Tuesday nights with, and I will continue to see worship as the way I respond every day to Jesus and what he has done for me. I am thrilled to be on this Circle journey with Open Door.