What a gift to receive Joy Imbach’s reflections on SoulStream’s value: Authenticity in Community. Joy, your vulnerable honesty is so appreciated. Thank you for offering yourself to us, and in doing so, inviting us all to the freedom to be ourselves and to the goodness of having some fun along the way too!
Authenticity in Community
SoulStream places a strong emphasis on the call of God to be in community with others for the sake of remaining true to the way of Jesus and the task of working together for the healing of the world. This relationship is built on love, a growing process of being grounded in God, and a growing openness with regard to expressed emotions, thoughts, or concerns. Speaking the truth in love about God, faith, ourselves, and the wide diversity of human experiences is affirmed.
When Deb asked if I would write something on one of the SoulStream values, I must admit I felt an inner groan.
As I read the values over…this one seemed to be the one that fit for me to write something about, but it is also the one I struggle with – to be present and open in the community. I am a pretty hard core introvert, and I find it hard to share with larger groups and changing groups. I have always resisted this.
I really do believe in this value, even though it is a difficult one for me. The first time I experienced the value of this was in Calgary when I was brought to “Barnabas Christian Fellowship” by a friend after having tried many churches. I had been in a very lost and lonely place for a number of years. I was warmly welcomed immediately into a small group as was another person that came the same week. That made it easier for me to say “yes.” The small group I ended up in there “felt like balm for my soul.” It was the open space, with quiet reading, people feeling free to be themselves and able to say where they were at, and accepting me as I was. They were very supportive to me! We also had some great laughter and good fun. Which is a very important piece for me! This was my first experience of anything quite like it.
The founding partner group was another very special place for me. I didn’t feel that anything was expected of me other than to be who I am. I felt like I was there mostly as a support for Jeff. I did not see myself as a founder, nor do I now. However, I loved being in that group of people who were free to be themselves in the work as well as in fun times.
I appreciate SoulStream’s ongoing acceptance of me, and it encourages me to continue to be open to this community and its values.