If you know my sister, you’ve noticed how she’s mostly rejected the norms of our culture. She takes a pretty different stance toward things related to healthcare, education and generally what constitutes living a good life. She now likes to rummage through the forest and brew concoctions. We went for brunch in Yellow Springs one time and I told her how I didn’t have any hemp to wear with her there. (She strongly replied that she doesn’t wear hemp. “Yet,” I responded.)

I told a friend that I liken my relationship to the Church to much the same as my sister. I love Her. My life includes so many elements and experiences because she exists – I never would have found them, otherwise. I cannot imagine what might occur that would bring separation, something so irreparable that we’d terminate the relationship. It’s just too valuable.

But much of what She does – well, we’ll just say I would do it differently. I take much of what she offers and find ways to integrate principles into my life, but few things I swallow whole. Maybe, sometimes, I cringe a little. But She always gives me something to think about.

I might tease a bit and poke a little fun. But, as is the rule with family, if you try to do the same I’ll punch you in the neck. She’s mine to tease and mine to protect. Back off, I love Her.

She informs and directs my way of life in both big and small ways. She encourages me to seek goodness in ways that don’t always blend in. The way She lives boldly in contrast to the patterns of the rest of the world inspires me and pulls me along.

She uses her role in The Family to absorb the world, parse it and teach it to her children. She’s raising them up to understand, question, ponder, appreciate and serve. Even if it’s not 100% perfect, I admire the efforts and respect the role.

For better and for worse, I love Her.

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