Last summer I attended an interfaith writing workshop at Kenyon College called “Beyond Walls.” Clergy, seminarians and spiritual directors gathered together with the purpose of growing their knowledge of how to use print and social media to share their faith beyond the walls of their institutions.
I will never forget my “first class.” The “luck of the draw” had me in Group H with Rabbi Rachel Barenblat as our teacher, advisor and mentor. Our first assignment: “Start a Blog, and write your introductory post by class time tomorrow.” Really? You have got to be kidding me!
Rabbi Rachel, who blogs under the name Velveteen Rabbi, was just the teacher I needed at the right time and at the right place. I had wanted to learn how to use social media to share my faith but had no idea how to go about it. With her help and encouragement, and with the support of everyone in our “Group from H,” I did manage to set up my first blog under the name everydayblessingsplus.wordpress.com.
I have continued to look to Rabbi Rachel for wisdom and inspiration. Her latest book, “Open My Lips: Prayers and Poems,” draws me ever deeper into my faith while sharing her own. We are truly “One in the Spirit” even though we come from different religious traditions. We share Wisdom Sophia which is at the heart of our faiths.
She reminds me that: “Every moment is a prayer I’m blessed to be able to recite.” (Open My Lips, p. 15). How great it is that we can recite the prayers that are within our hearts, especially through our writing of poems and prayers and even our blogs.
Rabbi Rachel also invites me and all of us to recall that we are made in God’s image. In her poem “Daily Miracles,” she writes: “Every morning you remake me in your image and free me to push back against my fears.” (Open My Lips, p. 8)
Certainly, my fear of starting a blog and of sharing my faith on social media was overcome by her witness that it could be done. It took a Velveteen Rabbi to free me from my personal and professional fears. Now I can say along with Rabbi Rachel: “God and I collaborate on revising the poem of myself.” (Open My Lips, p. 16)