I am a big fan of John Green’s podcast, Anthropocene Reviewed. I keep his episode about Indianapolis downloaded on my phone and I listen to it repeatedly to remind me that home is before and I live in the after but that home is also something I am building, particularly for my youngest children who are very much products of this place. This is their home of fond nostalgic longing. This is their before.
I think memories of home are what we carry in our hearts and take with us as we go out into the world. We bond with others by taking out those pieces of our homes and sharing them. When we find someone who has similar aspects to their own bits of home and instantly we find our hearts warming and loneliness abated. It does not matter when or where I live, I carry that conceptualized idea of home with me.
This is especially important to me when I consider my faith. Our little mission has but few parishioners and I feel their loss greatly in this time of quarantine. I already grieve my broader family, some days more than others. The ways that I interact with others like myself fall into the usual categories of Facebook and Instagram and phone dates and thousands of texts riding cell signals to faraway Colorado. The particulars of my situation are distinct but the overall message is not. I think most of us live lives searching for connection in a world that has eschewed roots and friendships and God.
This makes the ministry of Ancient Faith so important. I produce content for them; I write and speak on the radio and at conferences. What I say sounds really self-serving and I know that but I am serious. When I sold my first book, I conducted my interactions over the internet and mail through emails and contracts and reviews of PDF proofs. It was sterile and efficient, or so I thought, until the first time I went to a conference and Tonya Maddox wrapped me in a hug. She treated me like a relative at a reunion and not just another author publishing her first book under the guiding eye of her husband, John Maddox. I have watched as others within the organization have done the same for me and for others. There is a lot of love here and it is all because they love Christ first and their home is in Him.
The way people who work with Ancient Faith interact with others is real. I have a friend who was going through a profoundly dark time in her life and listened to Chrissi Hart read children’s books for hours and hours on end. Her gentle and lilting voice soothing when nothing else was. The way that readers and listeners interact with us is just as real. When Chrissi’s husband was valiantly fighting cancer, this same friend prayed for hours and hours for the woman who had sat with her in her own darkest hour. This is real, very real. We have this because Ancient Faith is a new agora, a place where we meet to and share our Christian lives and in turn love each other as Christ loved us.
The quarantine has been hard in so many ways. We have been out of our churches. We have been shut away from our friends and family. We have turned our worlds inward. As we come out of quarantine, how will the landscape look? What will remain of the world that we left behind? Unless people donate to Ancient Faith, which is a non-profit, that landscape will have a gaping void in it. The agora that we built, you and I built together, where we come together to press the like sides of our little homes together, will no longer exist. No new books. No new conferences. It also means no more of the free materials like the radio or the podcasts or the videos. We will all have lost something real.
I have been paid for my books but not the emails or the phone calls or the hugs given in hallways. I pray for you. I keep a list of running prayer requests and I take this seriously. I don’t do this for money. I do this because I can see Christ in your heart and you can see Him in mine. No one who produces content for Ancient Faith is in it for the money. They are in it because that is where we find you and you are worth finding.
I hope that no matter what, you will pray for everyone involved at Ancient Faith. I hope that you will pray that this new agora will last. I hope that if you are able to give, you will. I hope to see you after this quarantine and when I do, I will show you my heart and you will show me yours and we will see our homes in both the before and the after.
You can click HERE to donate. I am on team HMS Swimmy with some of my favorite folks from Ancient Faith. You can pray at any time and anywhere and I hope you will. I am thinking of you. I hope you can feel it in your heart.