“My mom is dying,” she told us.
We were in a small coffee shop outside of Chicago when we met her for the first time. She was quiet and unassuming. She looked down at her cup of coffee while she told us the devastating news, the thing that was closest to her heart.
She was a small blogger with a small following. Writing was her passion, but not her profession. She worked at a small university, the same university where she had graduated a few years earlier.
She was a normal twenty-something with an ordinary life.
Except for one thing.
Her mom was in a hospital a little over four hours away. And in her free time, she wasn’t wondering what she was going to do over the next decade. She wasn’t asking herself questions about career and calling. She was holding onto hope that her mom might make it another week, or month, or year.
Each day I get with her is a gift, she told us.
We left that first meeting with Bethany Suckrow different than when we came.
Since then, we’ve had that experience over and over again. We meet someone new, listen to their story, and walk away thinking to ourselves: that story needs to be told. In fact, we were so moved by stories just like Bethany’s, we became determined to create a community where those stories could be developed, shared and enjoyed.
That’s why we decided to start Prodigal.
When we took ownership of Prodigal Magazine one year ago, we didn’t have any idea how readers would respond. All we knew was that we wanted to help people, just like Bethany, tell their stories.
We wanted to create a space that was safe enough to be honest.
That’s why we regulate comments on this site. It’s why we’ve deleted comments (even by our own writers) and asked them to re-post. It’s why we don’t post how-to articles, doctrine, or theological arguments. We’re not interested in arguments. We’re interested in your stories.
We all have a story to tell.
Telling our story keeps us humble. Over the past year, as we’ve told our stories of abuse, fears, struggles, failures and victories, we’ve learned that there’s no way to stay arrogant while we’re telling our stories. Stories let people into our bedrooms and living rooms, the places where we cry ugly cries, or yell at our spouses, or sit around without make-up.
When we let people there, they see us for how we really are.
And when we listen to stories, really listen, judgement and anger tends to melt away. We’ve accepted the invitation, after all. We’ve taken off our shoes and walked inside and watched you, pray, struggle, scream, beg, and cry tears of desperation.
When you see someone on their knees, you can’t help but want to get down there with them. You can’t help but put your hand on their back and tell them everything is going to be okay. You’ve been there. You know what it feels like.
This is a not a place of either/or, but a place of both/and.
It’s a place where Pentecostals and Anglicans find common ground, a place where we are committed to discover, through our diversity, a fuller picture of the Kingdom of God.
That’s our commitment to you. We’re not determined to build the biggest platform; we’re just determined to share it with you. We’re committed to helping you discover your story, to develop in your ability to tell it, and to grow as you listen to stories of others like (and not like) you.
Welcome to our humble space. We can’t promise it will be the nicest place you’ve ever stayed, or that everything will be perfect all the time, but we can promise that you are welcome, you are valued, and you are safe.
It doesn’t matter where you’ve come from, what you’ve done, or what you believe.
Come on in.
Take your shoes off.
Make yourself at home.
What about you? What’s your story? What’s stopping you from telling it? Will you share it with us?
[photo: meiburgin, Creative Commons]