121: Coffee with April Blaine

Rev. April Blaine lives in Columbus, Ohio and is the Lead Pastor at Hilliard United Methodist Church. She went to Hendrix College and Methodist Theological School in Ohio. She is married with kiddos and is a passionate advocate for the enneagram.

Babes, blessings, and bathtubs – that’s what we’re talking about today with April. If you think we’re blessing babes in bathtubs … well, you’re not totally off the mark! I noticed a little pattern in April’s stories, she’s able to gain huge insights into our humanity through the lives of amazing young people in her midst. Those stories involve the full range of being human. This podcast episode is almost like watching the movie Inside Out where you, literally, get to name experiences like Joy and Anger. What we see, in its raw form in children (and college students), can help us be honest about all that is pretty and pretty ugly in us.

Coming to grips with our true selves has innumerable benefits. First, we experience our own liberation. We no longer have to lie to or pretend with ourselves or others. Then we can have more compassion and grace with others because we know we’re just as beautiful and just as ugly, just as wonderful and close-to-terrible as anyone else. April’s courage to know and share her journey demonstrates how this is happening with her.

Charlotte and her parents

What would you do with the claw-foot bathtub mysteriously chilling out in your church? Throw it away? Make an art project out of it? Paint it rainbow colors? Grow plants in it? Make a reading nook out of it? Fill it with holy water? Float things in it? Make it a float in a parade? I’ll tell you that, after hearing April’s bathtub story, I want to have a rainbow bathtub in any sanctuary I pastor in. Of course I’ll do full immersion baptisms in it. And, what’s more, every year I want to use it for blessings just like April did (hear episode) so that everyone knows God loves them just as they are and they are welcome just as they are because the Water is for them, just like the Bread of Life is for them.

As Christians we definitely want everyone to come to the table, any table. We want everyone to come find and know that they are loved, by God and by others. We want everyone to experience the fullest life possible and extend that space to others. If others don’t find their way to the table, a table, then God will find and make a way to them, just like April took the water to the parade, just like the water leapt from the parade route onto the crowd. There is a joyful responsibility upon each of us that we are not compelled to pick up but that many, fortunately, do. Thank you, April Blaine, for engaging a life of love so deeply. Thank you to Charlotte, Eugene, and Sarah for being inspiration in April’s life and, April, thank you for sharing the stories with us.

Links:

Sponsor: United Faith Leaders

The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile

Enneagram Institute

The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective by Richard Rohr and Andreas Ebert

Methodist Theological School in Ohio

Hendrix College

Ohio State University (OSU)

Hilliard United Methodist Church

Summit United Methodist Church

“God loves all of you!” -Sarah