Today I'm thinking about relationships because some of my relationships are changing and I don't like it. But I'm afraid this is what community is about. True community must be a voluntary and uncoerced human union. On the positive side of this I promise incredible depth of intimacy and friendship. True loving relationships are formed, and it is a beautiful thing. On the negative side I promise that your heart will get broken. I've experienced this over and over again in the church and will continue to. I have encouraged and participated in forming strong relationships. But the possibility is that there will be disappointments and eventually heartbreak as these relationships are challenged and sometimes even broken. You'd think I'd learn and start practicing the traditional ministry model I was taught and have read about where the pastor keeps some emotional distance from the congregation. I've always held that notion as suspect and have gone the other way. Paul wrote, "We have not withheld our affection from you" (2 Cor. 6: 11,12). As a result, my heart knows what it is to love and be loved unconditionally, and in that is great joy. At the same time my heart is almost always being stretched, crushed and broken. But I've come to conclude that this is the only way. It isn't right to keep emotional distance from those you say you love. Neither is it right to obsessively toil at keeping a relationship intact. You love and perhaps taste joy as well as take the risk of incredible loss. The tattoo was created and applied by my friend Zara Leaf.