An Open Letter from John

January 1, 2005

December 2, 2004

An open letter to the Mosaic:Nashville Launch Team
and all the saints watching, praying, hoping, and cheering for us –

What an incredible time the last few months have been! Dizzying, exhausting, frightening, exhilarating, filled with uncertainty, hope, desperation, pain, joy, laughter, tears, sweat – I’ve never been on a journey like this. It is above me, it is beyond my own capacities – more and more I empathize with the psalmist who wrote, “I faint with longing for your salvation: but I have put my hope in your word. My eyes are straining to see your promises come true. When will you comfort me?” (Psalm 119:81-82).

And yet, is it really so hard? We’re not being tortured or beaten. We’re not starving. We have places to live, clothes to wear, food to eat. Our children are healthy and strong, our lives are self-paced, and we live in a country where we can express our faith openly and without fear of reprisal from our government.

I think the answer is no . . . and yes. We have chosen a path less traveled. We have traded upward for downward mobility. We have checked out of the modern American Dream of more and better, of prosperity and personal rights, we have relinquished our positions at the center of our universe and yielded to God’s higher purposes. By choosing to see life through spiritual eyes, our goals are different, our motives are different, and we are set apart from the world around us even as we must still function in everyday life. We’re dancing to a song in our head while those around us are dancing to the music from the band onstage – people stare and wonder, “what you’re thinking, are you crazy, can’t you hear the beat? You’re not dancing right!” We don’t quite fit.

Good. That’s exactly what God has in mind – that’s why He says “don’t conform, be transformed.” Jesus danced to a different tune, his Father’s song, and the melody and harmonies of faith, love, and hope caused his steps to go against the grain. He stepped on people’s toes, he whirled and twirled with fishermen, prostitutes, priests, beggars, politicians, the lame, thieves, terrorists, the blind, the uber-rich – he extended an invitation to dance a different dance to everyone who intersected his path. Some accepted and were transformed – they heard a new song. Some resisted and were swept along, trying to dance to two different beats, never quite succeeding and always wondering what was wrong. Some rejected his invitation, choosing the easier, uglier steps of self-serving, self-pleasing, self-destruction.

So here we are – a vagabond troupe of dancers, strangers in a strange land. We’ve found our places, we’ve begun to figure each other out, how we move, what motivates us. Now the curtain rises and our ballet enters into the danse de caractère, where our character, our mettle, our nerve, and our motives will be tested. God has provided us an opportunity to dance together right in the cultural epicenter of Nashville. 1525 McGavock Street is 6000 square feet of blank canvas and stage, a place where we can gather together the broken and fragmented people around us and invite them to dance to the song of God, to enter into the embrace of Jesus and begin life anew. A place where creativity has a home, where diversity is more than just an idea, where grace flows freely and easily and all are welcome. Thank you Lord, for you are good, and your love endures forever!

Fellow Insurrectionists, this is the hard part, the darkness before the dawn. We have signed a lease that requires faith, sacrifice, and the kindness of others outside of our band to honor for the next year. We have a lot of hard work to do to prepare this space, including being scroungers and innovators for resources. We have to resist the urges to return to the mindset that says, “now that we have a worship service, I don’t have to reach out anymore.” Now is the time to set our gaze firmly on why we are here. I like our chances, for we have learned that God is sufficient. We have seen Him at work changing lives around us in the absence of buildings, lights, music, and the other trappings of the modern church. We have worked with nothing but the Gospel, passion, and a couple of picnic tables, and we have marveled at His power in our midst. How much more amazing will the coming days be, as we augment rather than supplant our stripped-to-the-essence insurrectionist attitude with the arts, with a roof over our heads, with a gathering place. I’m giddy with excitement at the possibilities.

Here’s what you can do –

– Pray without ceasing. Pray for the people around you who need a new dance partner. Pray for the Lead Team, for the Launch Team, for those who come alongside and join us on this journey. Pray for resources, for gifts of money, furniture, sound gear, paint, anything we may need in the coming days. Tell Him thank you over and over again.

– Keep your eyes open to the spiritual things happening around you. Divine moments are swarming around us right now, waiting for us. What conversations can you begin, what questions can you ask, what blows can you strike against the darkness today? Who around you is just an invitation away from seizing her own divine moment?

– Make the saints you know aware of our need. Allow them the opportunity to support us however they can. We need $4000 by January 5, $2500 for each month following, and money and resources to prepare and use the building.

– Support the Space Team. Tym de Santo, Bryan Clark, and Elizabeth Shanklin are the brain trust charged with preparing our space for use. Any ideas you have, any time you have to give in preparing our space, let them know.

– Put on your scrounger hat. Don’t let a single sofa or chair escape without a hard look. Be on the lookout for rogue paint, building materials, cleaning supplies, sound gear.

– Let us know what you do. Do you paint, sew, play an instrument, sing, wrestle, dance, write, act, joke, build, clean – what do you do? Let us know.

We’re aiming for a Launch date of January 9th. Like I said, what exciting times! I’m so blessed to get to be a part of this team. I love being your pastor. God bless us, every one.

Pressing forward, always forward . . .


One comment

  1. This is an open letter from John Ferguson, a member of the launch team here in Nashville. I just wanted to take this comment space to clarify that and to do just what John asked in the letter and extend to anyone an opportunity to support us in anyway they can. We do need prayer, without that we are wasting our time. Pray for our relationships to be strengthened with one another and with those who are a part of our everyday lives. We need stuff: paint, building materials, cleaning supplies, sound gear. We need to pay our rent. Like John wrote in the letter, we have $4,000 due this month and $2500 every month following. We have a great space in an incredible location on the backside of Music Row. Nobody likes asking for money (execpt the guys in the parking lot outside of Fido coffeehouse), but that is also a great need. Thanks for your support, everybody. Your lives are dear to me.

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