The Festival on Saturday was a success. Our non-profit was in the VIP tent, which was at the entrance, so everyone had to pass us first (also the place where volunteers checked in), giving us lots of attention. The prints we raffled off were popular (island motif by a well-known artist in the Virgin Islands), so we raised a good amount there, too. Oh! And two new people are going to come and observe our meeting on Thursday to see if we’re a group they want to join!
It was exhausting, but good fun and many friends I hadn’t seen in a while came by to say hello. Other people recognized me from my Moxie Matters appearance. I never realized what a big deal Jen Hatmaker is as a speaker.
Jen Hatmaker, however, has caused a stir in a different way: she has endured the full wave of conservative Christian outrage over her criticism of Trump and her support of the LGBTQ community. Her children were harassed and the family endured death threats. Some people burned her books and mailed them back to her.
She could have rightfully lashed out at her critics, calling out their un-Christian-like behavior. Instead, she kept talking to her followers, many of them white and generally conservative Christian women, about supporting gun control, Black Lives Matter and refugees.
I agree with most of what she says. The church I attend holds the same attitude. Many of the fundamentalist churches in our area have condemned us for being a “feel-good” church. I guess it’s terrible to say we should love ALL people, not just those who hold our viewpoints.
An aside: They also say our pastor doesn’t believe in hell. Well, not the hell most people think of, because that’s based on the King James Version, which was the Catholic version of translation, and it relied heavily on Dante’s description of hell in the Inferno. The Inferno, by the way, is where we get the idea of levels of hell. The religious leaders of the day had to stick with the notion that the earth was flat for that very reason, too.
The Bible does not mention hell. That was a word that was substituted for “gehenna” during translation. Gehenna IS a real place. It was located outside Jerusalem. It was a dump and where diseased bodies (unfit for burial) were burned. It was considered an awful place of much mourning and misery. Aside Over.
Hatmaker is an influential author of best-selling books, a top-rated podcast and a speaking tour that’s selling out to crowds of 3000+. (When I innocently asked Pepper (Jen’s husband, I think, not sure) if our church was a large venue for them, he said no, our turnout of 1500 was small. Ooopsie!)
So even though I didn’t know she was such a big deal at the time, I was grateful to get our non-profit’s message out there. I’m glad I did it. Yes, I’ve taken a lot of ribbing, but I have people coming out of the woodwork to talk to me about my story impacting them.
Example: My husband and I asked two ladies at the Festival if we could sit at their table to eat our lunch. They welcomed us and a bit later asked me if I’d been the guest speaker at the Moxie Matters conference. Then they asked if our non-profit served LGBTQ community.
I told her that my plans are to expand into two areas: seniors and the LGBTQ community. As we got to talking, I realized this woman was my connection to the very community I wanted to reach! She will e-mail me, so we’ll see how serious she is, but I believe it is all inter-connected: I spoke at a conference I didn’t want to attend and that has led to new volunteers, more donations and open doors.
I’m spending today catching my breath. It’s amazing how 6 hours of festival can take so much of of me, but its over with until next year. The BIG push now is the May 1st matching grant drive, which I’m all KINDS of excited over! A couple of people have asked for giving details. I should have websites/info soon and will leave you private notes. The website will NOT unlock until noon, May 1st, and locks again at noon, May 2nd.
Okay gotta go to the bank and get some $. I think I ordered Girl Scout cookies from 5 different kids. I’m not a fan of the cookies, but I love the kids selling them, so I’m an easy mark.
I still need to tell you about my son’s recent trip, too. Next entry, I guess…this one went longer than intended!