An interview with a member of Forefront.
Q. Why did you join Forefront?
My spouse and I were on the verge of separating—we were at the end of our rope and out of options. Obviously we love each other, we’re together, it’s great, but at the time, when your back is against the wall, what are your options? It was like, I don’t know, maybe we should try church again (we were done with church for a really long time until Forefront). I needed to find someone else to stare at. [laughs]
Q. So how exactly did Forefront help your marriage?
It wasn’t so much the Jesus factor or God, although that underpins everything. It was being around other people who have been married and almost divorced, or people who can reflect back to us how they see us and each other. Because we could no longer see each other the way that we needed to. It’s helpful to interact with someone and see, “Oh maybe I’m not a jerk, so maybe I don’t need to be the jerk that I am to my husband.” It was the same for him.
Q. What makes you stay now?
The community. My best friends have come from here. I’m continuing to build that community—it happens all the time that somebody new shows up who is willing to dive in and be part of the community. There’s also the writing guild I lead here.
Also, Forefront’s quest for asking questions instead of necessarily answering them.
Q. What are questions that you’ve been able to explore here that you haven’t elsewhere?
I mean, [laughs] the existence of God, the existence of hell, the infallibility or not of this biblical text. I have a lot of issues with what I perceive to be the sexism of the Christian faith; I try to hold space for Christianity and my feminism. Because one way that I can look at Christianity is: A bunch of men were so intimidated by the power of a woman to give life that they created a religion which required you to be born a second time by putting your faith in a man.
When I attended Jonathan’s and Jubi’s small group when the church first started, Jonathan held space for questions like that. Other pastors have been quick to answer questions with scripture and answer questions with ”more faith.” Jonathan held space to not have answers to questions and to acknowledge that if someone is having a crisis of faith, maybe the answer shouldn’t be the very thing they are questioning.
I feel like that there is space here for having a period of time where I don’t believe anything at all and that’s okay — these crises of faith are no longer a “crisis” and just a natural part of being human. It’s exactly the right kind of place for me because I’m not sure about anything ever a hundred percent, and that just needs to be okay.