We are delighted to share with you our 2022 Annual Report! Click below and read on to find out what we learned and nurtured together as Storydwelling in 2022.
Hourly, part-time staff
5-10 hours per week
Storydwelling–a small but growing web of community in Bend, rooted in the liberation threads of Christianity–seeks a creative, organized and flexible person to support our logistics and communications work. The storykeeper will work with other staff–including the pastor/organizer and minister of sacred presence–to develop and maintain a meaningful digital presence for the community; work with our bookkeeper to track donations and expenditures; maintain contact lists; and keep the operations of this small nonprofit running smoothly. We know that clear communication and administration helps people feel cared for, so, ultimately, this is a caring role.
This person ideally:
Primary duties and responsibilities:
This role can be performed remotely and during flexible hours, though it will require, at times, collaborating directly, in real time, with other teammates. A desk in our shared office is available for this person to use during working hours.
The position is hourly at a starting rate of $25/hour, depending on experience. Start date is November 1, but applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the best fit is found. We estimate our storykeeper will work about 5-10 hours per week, depending on the season. This is a temporary, six-month position with the hope to extend it indefinitely depending on fit and budget.
To apply, email firstname.lastname@example.org with a resume, cover letter and two references. If applicable, please also send samples of social media or design work.
We know our community is richer when people of diverse backgrounds, identities and perspectives are in leadership. LGBTQIA+ people, BILAPOC, and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply.
To learn more about Storydwelling’s values and commitments, please visit our website: www.bendstorydwelling.org
sermon among the Storydwelling community on May 1, 2022 in Kiwanis Park, Bend
rooted in John 20:19-31
I have my own “doubting Thomas” at home–
a reputation he is proud of.
And doubting, critiquing is an important,
inherent part of this community’s DNA–
we spent a lot of heart and time and energy in my living room
in those early days giving honor to our doubt,
respecting it, as we sought to unlearn
some of the theologies we were offered,
some of which included the notion that it is not okay to doubt.
My hope is that we have blessed our doubt over the past couple of years,
called it good.
Cole Arthur Riley, the writer of Black Liturgies, invites people to:
“Release yourself from the tyranny of spiritual certainty.
Doubt is not a threat to faith;
it’s faith that has finally taken off its mask.”
We were tired, in those early days, of our intellects, our wonder,
being cause for breaks in relationship.
Somewhere, deep down inside,
my gutm which is Spirit’s sacred information for me,
tells me: my intellectual assent to a set of doctrine,
no matter how lovely that doctrine might be,
is not nearly as important as how I give my heart
in relationship to the people and things I love.
This is the difference in contemporary English sense of “belief”–
and the ancient Greek one. Pistevou–
which is less like belief and more like:
commitment, fidelity, giving one’s heart.
Which brings us back to Thomas. Because, we have to ask:
behind the locked doors where the disciples are gathered,
why was Thomas was not there? Where did he go?
Jesus goes on to tell them–
if you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven.
if you retain anyone’s sins, they are retained.
That’s just the truth, right?
If we trust that a faithful definition of sin is–
a break in relationship–
it is just true that communities and individuals have the power, the ability,
to hold on to brokenness, to fissures in relationship,
or to release brokenness,
to release whatever cracks in relationship that may grow.
I wonder if there is at first a fissure in
Thomas’ relationship with the community.
Because why is he not there?
It’s not a stretch to wonder if perhaps this whole story
is not about Thomas’ “right belief”
but is about Thomas moving out of
and then back into relationship with his community.
His community’s attempts, sometimes good sometimes bad,
to engage in reconciliation with him,
in healing, in welcome, in affirmation of who he is.
We don’t know why Thomas is not there,
but it sounds like it was dangerous out there, beyond the locked doors–too dangerous for him to be alone.
It was his community’s job to protect him.
Our call, which I think we’ve known from
the very first seeds of this community,
which we know in our guts as individuals, wherever we are–
in school, at home, with our children, in a session, on a work site
is not to operate within the paradigm of
whether someone is a believer or not a believer,
whether we can think our way into a particular doctrine,
but is to operate in the world of
giving our hearts in right relationship to people and things that we love:
which looks like accompaniment, reconciliation,
continual repair and healing.
For what it’s worth, this is for me what it looks like to “believe in Jesus.”
To give my heart to what I see that Jesus gave his heart to.
To be in a posture that always centers relationship.
That is what we do today, my friends–
as we steep ourselves in conversation around our value of
affirming and celebrating the beautiful variety of
sexual orientations and gender identities among us,
the beautiful variety of ways that Love expresses itself among us.
We’ll have a community conversation about making our “welcome”–
although it is and will be much more than a welcome–
explicit and bold and something
we can hold ourselves accountable to…
And it grieves me to say it: that we do this,
because it is joyful, because it is good and right and important, yes
and also because, somehow, it is still dangerous out there.
And it is community’s job to protect each of us,
to protect all, in right and loving relationship–
in how we give our hearts to what Jesus gave his heart to–
the work of belonging, healing, accompaniment, life together.
May it be so.
sermon among the Storydwelling community on April 17, 2022 in Kiwanis Park, Bend
rooted in Luke 24:1-12
We are here–in the cold, there was a blizzard yesterday–
because of our muscles.
Our muscle memories tell us:
we gather on Easter. We tell the story.
We make it special, gosh darn it,
and these kids are gonna have 200 Easter eggs to find and rip open.
My body tells me to do it.
Same for the women in this story–
whereas maybe the other disciples are tucked away, hiding, who knows,
the women’s muscles, their memories, compel them toward the body of their beloved.
What they are going to do–anoint his body with spices oil–
was just what people did back then. They have a muscle memory for this.
And just like the women, our memories drive us,
desperate for communion with other bodies.
This is the original state of being.
From one cell, in the very beginning of everything, we are now many,
and we find ourselves desperate for reunion ever since.
But what happens when our bodies are attacked by virus,
or by the fear of getting the virus,
or by the fear of being around other bodies.
When our bodies only know the numbness of screens and the numbing of another glass of wine,
and all of that starts to feel safe because our bodies are so scared.
Our bodies have been rewired over the past two years.
And I’m not sure we remember how to walk steadily
toward one another, toward our neighbors, toward bodies in need of care and tending.
My mind forgets what it is to let each minute, each day, each movement of my body
be oriented toward at-one-ment,
be filled up with love, with grace;
as if each person, flora, creature, day is pure gift,
bearer of god–
both fleshy and divine.
My mind forgets, so I am trusting that my body, my muscles, remember.
The women remember:
as they see the stone rolled away they recall their beloved teacher,
their beloved community of peaceful insurrectionists.
How for them each day was an opportunity to see the light in the body right in front of them.
This was their revolution: to reorient always toward love and tender care.
And the empty tomb is Jesus’ most defiant act of doing just that:
reorienting toward love, care and the capital T truth that life wants to live.
He lives on the minute those women decide to keep on living, too.
This is resurrection.
This is what I give my heart to–
what I pledge my fidelity to:
I am resurrected, over and over again,
in my reorientation toward love, care,
and living persistently even though death-dealing forces would have it any other way.
We are resurrected, beloveds.
Just like the women who were bursting with both confusion and fear and anticipation for what happens next.
Our bodies are resurrected,
our bodies are resurrecting–it never has to stop–
and that is a muscle memory as old as the big bang;
that is a muscle memory as old as your time in the womb.
A muscle memory shared by all life everywhere:
from the mycelium underground to the grass under our feet to the sparrows in the sky–
It is a collective memory that tells us to live. To care.
To break down any barriers to life that we encounter.
To be resurrected by the Spirit that moves in and among all things.
We are resurrecting now–
our creaky bones are starting to remember,
our muscles are starting to come alive;
these days in the tomb have been hard.
And it is not over.
But we are beginning to remember.
So it is okay to start small. Really small.
We don’t need to roll away huge boulders;
small stones are a good way to start.
And they are a good way to end, too, by the way–
maybe it is only ever about small stones.
Resurrection looks like relearning how to
call someone when you know they have had a tough week.
Or reaching out to someone to ask them to call you because you’ve had a tough week.
It looks like inviting a circle of people to your house to do crafts in your yard;
looks like holding someone’s baby or making a meal or making plans to take a walk.
It looks like figuring out my own capacity to be of use in the world–
by volunteering at the hospital; by setting aside money and energy for local organizing events;
looks like rumbling and being vulnerable with a colleague or a friend,
looks like inviting almost-strangers over to your house for dinner
because that’s how friendships get born.
It looks like sleeping; it looks like stopping.
It looks like saying “no” to anything that feels like death.
It looks literally a million ways
this learning we get to do, over and over, thanks be to God–this remembering how to be resurrected.
One day the mist will clear and the big boulders,
the huge mountains of systemic injustice and oppression
will be clear again, as they have been in the past–
they will be clear again, and our work, your workm will be crystal clear– maybe it already is for you.
And when that time comes our muscles will know how to move mountains,
how to roll away stones,
because we’ve been practicing, and practicing together–
THREE women came to the tomb, not just one, by the way–
one couldn’t have rolled the stone away by herself–
Our muscles will remember how to be resurrected,
and when my body forgets, yours will remind me–
and now is a time to be reminded:
your life wants to live;
your body is divine enfleshed;
you are resurrected,
and we are many.
Thanks be to God.
May it be so.
reflection among the Storydwelling community on Good Friday, April 15, 2022
rooted in John 18:1-19:42
We are tired, beloveds.
Hearing this story, hearing these stories,
Because we love, we grieve,
and grief is exhausting,
and so we are tired.
So maybe this is why we should not try and do theological gymnastics to try and find
something good in this Good Friday story.
Will we draw purpose and meaning out of this death?
Is God present there at the cross and here among us,
and in every place and time that bears witness to the crucifixion of bodies?
But the day was not good, and the cross is not good.
The late theologian Dr. James Cone writes that the cross can heal and hurt;
it can be empowering and liberating
but also enslaving and oppressive.
The cross is the first-century means of doing away with the bodies that unsettle;
the cross is the lynching tree, the execution chair;
the homeless camp sweeps, the gun in the hands of an enraged and prejudiced human.
It is frankly amazing that we steward this story at all;
it is hard to talk about with our children,
it is hard to make meaning of it for ourselves.
Though God knows millions of people for millenia have tried.
And I’m staying I know better than they do–
I’m saying that I feel that same impulse too:
to try and find the goodness here when perhaps there is none.
Tonight I am just tired,
I am just weary,
by the small wounds of my days
and by the big wounds I’ve been too tired to track:
I know there are wars, plural, raging;
I know things cannot remain the way they are in this country,
on this planet.
There is too much pain that has been unveiled in my life,
in our lives,
to keep going as if all is well and good.
The goodness was before:
the goodness was last night.
The eating together, the singing, the washing of our dusty, weary feet.
The goodness was in the life lived in love:
the One who went continually close to the pain,
who went always close up to the wounds–
so that the blind might see, the captives might be free–
and that life was just too good for Empire to allow it to live;
it was just so good that it was unsettling.
A life lived in love, a life that made room for others;
a life that lives in each of us–
the God three inches behind our belly buttons,
an impulse, a vocation, a special kind of heartburn
that, if we let, makes us pretty unsettling too.
You can be unsettling. Your goodness.
I can be unsettling. My goodness.
If I let it.
And maybe tomorrow, or the next day, I’ll let it;
but tonight, I’ve grown sleepy, I’ve grown weary,
and it is the best I can do to simply stay:
and allow the Love that lives in me to labor to give birth
to the grief that will honor my ancestor Jesus and my crucified siblings.
© 2023 Storydwelling