Sunday, February 26, 2006

Food for the Needy

This started as a group blog for a women's leadership team. This post is by Susan:

I was kindly reminded today that I would be foolish to depend on others for my "spiritual feeding". Well, I've been thinking about that for a good seven months and I finally have to agree. I have the resources available to me. I have the Counselor. I have wise friends to help me understand. And ... I have a proactive spirit. So, yes. I agree it is my responsibility.

But the important thing, is that I've already had the "launch". You definitely need the launch to be able to recognize and mobilize the tools and resources available. So, let's not forget to be catalysts, launchpads for ourselves and others. What adventures we will have!

Friday, February 24, 2006

Holding it together

Was struck by what I read this morning. Here's a snippet:

From beginning to end he's there,
towering far above everything, everyone.
So spacious is he, so roomy,
that everything of God finds its proper place
in him without crowding.
Not only that,
but all the broken and dislocated pieces
of the universe--people and things, animals and atoms--
get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies,
all because of his death,
his blood that poured down from the cross.

Lingering over each idea in this small slice of Col. 1 (from the Message) I get something. A reassuring, comforting something that I needed. I find myself turning these phrases into a prayer for my children; then other people come to mind and there is a specific focus for each from the few deeply simple lines above. In Alanon they say, "Take what you need, and leave the rest." About these verses, I say, "Take what you need, and save the rest (for later.)" No further comments from me so that you can linger and get something you need.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

It happened!

Been stirred to gather some people to explore meeting for some God-time. I have so many thoughts swirling in my head about letting God do something creative and different. So last night 6 of us shared an unhurried dinner and got to know a little about each other's lives. Then we moved to the living room and talked about our last 3 months with God and what we're thinking about in that area. I began to try to put words to the longings I have for a multi-facted approach to experiencing God in a community setting. I suggested a few ways that could take shape. Those present felt strongly they wanted a group with just women at present. They already sensed an openness with each other that they want to continue to build on.

We scooted in around the coffee table, and in candlelight celebrated our common bond. We passed around the bread and cup of communion in the same fashion as has been done for centuries. We prayed, sang a little, received words of encouragement, and prayed a little more. There was an excitement about fresh possibilities in being part of each other's journey toward expanding relationsip with God.

I'm looking forward to next week. We may grow by 3 more people. Can't wait to see what the divine agenda has for us.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Slow God?

The Body of Christ could use some sleep (Or what the Church can learn from iTunes.) by Kester Brewin of London (graphic from Beginners Guide cited later)

A stimulating article I ran across that is worth the while it will take to read. And one of the excellent reflections found at Beginners Guide to the Emerging Church. I see a parallel between Brewin's thoughts and Steve Taylor's relating to the need for processing time to integrate change both personally and in our community. A point being that evolution is more sustainable than revolution. Some talk also about God being a slow God and recalling his work done in increments of 30, 40, 80 years, etc .

In reflection I can also see this idea of process, perhaps even long process, in play in prayer. How different would I be if things had happened instantly throughout my faith life?

Friday, February 03, 2006

New kind of huddle?

Over the last couple of days I've thought about some things Ryan Bolger has talked about in his blog. He teaches a class on the emerging church. Some people are giving serious full-time thought to what church looks like in a post-Christendom world. His assessment:

Emerging Churches are those who take the life of Jesus as a model way to live (one), who transform the secular realm (two), as they live highly communal lives (three). Because of these three activities, they welcome those who are outside (four), they share generously (five), they participate (six), create (seven), they lead without control (eight), and function together in spiritual activities (nine).

How this is done, to me, is the key factor in how radically different the expression and experience of church could be from more traditional forms and formats--even from those which are into culture and relevance. Does he have his finger on the pulse of the new movement (which actually began about 20 years ago with GenX services?) Other voices in the U.S. and even more abroad are speaking and writing much about emerging church and missional thinking. We live in an exciting time of transition. I look forward to changes that foster more communal and creative living.

What do some of us have to unlearn? I don't want to be reacting to the dysfunction I've seen and been affected by. I do want to learn from everything I've been through in my faith journey of 35 years. I want to be a help to others to keep them from going down a painful, fruitless, or destructive path. It's essential that I am open to letting go of tradition that does not serve what God is doing and building right now. I hope unlearning will be joyful.

Bolger goes on to describe Greg Russinger of Bridge Communities in Ventura, CA, a visiting speaker to his class:
Greg is one of the few, but the number is growing, leaders of emerging churches who did not need to unlearn many practices of church in the process of creating their faith community. More typical are emerging churches that begin with leaders who have seriously begun to question what it is church is about. It might take a few years, but there is a period of disillusionment with church-as-it-is before the creation of a community that is no longer reacting, but creating something fresh and new. With Greg, he intuits emerging church. Hospitality pervades all they do -- it is urban, it is artistic, it is communal, it is prayerful, it is everyday, and it is in the world. Greg and his community do not expend energy on how to do things in a way that is different than they knew before -- this is their primary understanding of 'church'.

Let us hope for a successful re-entry into this type of atmosphere--as God leads! I believe those of us who have been around for a while can have a significant role in the new thing. God has invested a lot in us and the challenge is to give out and release it in a way that profits others--and to keep learning.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

I want a new. . .

I want a New Drug. Remember that song by Huey Lewis? Can we change drug to church? And you to You?

I want a new drug
One that won’t make me sick
One that won’t make me crash my car
Or make me feel three feet thick
I want a new drug
One that won’t hurt my head
One that won’t make my mouth too dry
Or make my eyes too red
One that won’t make me nervous
Wondering what to do
One that makes me feel like I feel when I’m with you
When I’m alone with you
I want a new drug
One that won’t spill
One that don’t cost too much
Or come in a pill
I want a new drug
One that won’t go away
One that won’t keep me up all night
One that won’t make me sleep all day
One that won’t make me nervous
Wondering what to do
One that makes me feel like I feel when I’m with you
When I’m alone with you
I’m alone with you baby
I want a new drug
One that does what it should
One that won’t make me feel too bad
One that won’t make me feel too good
I want a new drug
One with no doubt
One that won’t make me talk too much
Or make my face break out
One that won’t make me nervous
Wondering what to do
One that makes me feel like I feel when I’m with you
When I’m alone with you

Is anyone else interested in doing church differently (than what we've seen)?? There's some pretty interesting stuff happening in England, Australia, and New Zealand. Plleeeeease... I don't have that much bus fare.