"Seeking the good deeds that lead to obscurity." - T. S. Eliot
Jonalyn looked over her correspondence since speaking at a Christian high school this Fall. Twenty-four emails back and forth working out a painful situation voiced by a young woman—quiet, confidential work. Many emails hit us revealing souls struggling: "How can I be a woman?", "I cheated on my wife, how do I tell her and work through this?", "I'm always anxious" , "How do you see men and women wounding each other?", "What if I don't think God is good?"
This online work keeps fighting out dysfunction, teenage abortion, hypocrisy and disgust of God and his people. We're engaged in the work of casualty prevention.
Dale recently received an email from a college student; the subject line, "Am I a Christian?" This student, growing up in a Christian school and home, always heard he would lose his faith in college. He wrote, "Please help! I am looking for some kind of answer because if I have a faith I would like to keep it." We're engaged in work of giving people a second look at Jesus.
Each evening, if Dale can keep his eyes open, you'll find him typing into the glowing laptop while Jonalyn and Finn ready for bed. He's typing a memory book, a blog of his first year as a dad for Finn and for hundreds of readers who follow him online, reading what authentic, disappointing and delightful fathering looks like (firstyeardad.com). We are in the work of helping others become more appropriately human through the daily passage of life.
This Seasonal can be filled with many stories of the past year. Of recognition in the recent BIOLA magazine and radio interviews around the country. Of souls restored at our Soulation Retreats from grief and depression. Of Jonalyn's new blog filling a hunger for guidance in female friendships (letmebeme.org).
Since Soulation began nearly six years ago, we are still dedicated to reaching sensitive seekers, preventing casualties among students, helping the world give Jesus a second look, facilitating a space for Christians who want to grow more human. Our reach is growing and more people are drawing from our resources.
This Spring our speaking events range from a major men's retreat in Texas, a national simulcast to 40 venues for MOPS, high school retreats, working with teens engaged in social justice, apologetics training in Oxford, a city-wide open forum in Laguna Beach, and weekly appointments for one-on-one chat sessions.
Our plate is full. Are you ready to join us for the next chapter of our work?
Since you receive our Seasonals, then you already know how we are specially positioned to minister to individuals in an authentic way. We need your help to continue to expand the unique mission of Soulation. Would you choose to make a gift to Soulation before the end of this calendar year? Use the enclosed envelope or send us your gift online at soulation.org/donate.
If money feels tight at this year's end, would you consider pledging for 2011? Use the enclosed card and envelope to communicate with us.
Our ongoing needs to keep Soulation moving includes sponsorships to our Soulation Retreats; online YouTube videos answering more faith-stumbling questions like, "Would a Good God Send People to Hell?", podcasting and publishing fledges and free talks; maintaining our website.
Our current, urgent needs include our preparations to hire a team of voices to join us at Soulation. These new team members will reach different regions in the nation with speaking events and writing. This is not to mention our plans for a retreat in White Woods in the future. Your year-end gift, of any size, will be a tremendous help in us reaching our goals.
Let us leave you with a letter we received from a reader of Coffee Shop Conversations. Be encouraged that the church is changing and our kind King is transforming others to find more savvy ways to shine the light of the gospel.
I read Coffee Shop Conversations and I LOVE it. It gave me wonderful perspective and ideas for conversations with a grad school roommate. I noticed a big difference in how I approached conversations with my friend - I did not feel immediately "defensive" (always in the past I've felt guilt if I can't "convert" someone!). I could step back and remind myself to see her as human. I tried to listen and ask meaningful questions to understand what/who she was trying to worship, and I could see her trying to figure it out as she told me.
Last week, after some challenging days, we pulled T.S. Eliot's poem "The Rock" off the shelf. We found a line where a Jesus-figure explains the best way to live, "Seek the good deeds that lead to obscurity."
As we prepare to host a local Christmas event of "Cider and Stories" at our cabin, we think of how often goodness goes unnoticed. But, that is no bother, if friends become more appropriately human; that is the work that matters.
Dale and Jonalyn Fincher
Gifts can be made online at:
Or by mail:
A publication of Soulation | www.soulation.org
© 2009 Dale & Jonalyn Fincher. All Rights Reserved.