Archive for January, 2018

Bringing Caring Into The World

Wednesday, January 31st, 2018

Our role, largely, is as conduits, bringing caring into the world.  That role entails a journey to the margins where need exists.  AND in journeying to those margins,  creating a new center there.

So the journey of caring is not a journey out to the margins and then a retreat back to the center.  It is instead a pilgrimage.  A journey of discovery.  A journey to a new home.  That I believe is largely the lived message of Christianity.

And Emanuel Swedenborg was emphatically clear … we ignore this journey, as churches, to our own detriment.

The end of a church comes when there is no faith because there is no caring.

The journey to the margins around an axis of caring takes many forms.  But all those varied forms share a constant … caregiving.

The margins, the call to caregiving, in truth, are never far from us.

The Challenge Over Fundamentalism

Tuesday, January 30th, 2018

Fundamentalism can come to infect any faith.  From a recent book….

Jonathan Sacks, chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, defines fundamentalism “as the attempt to impose a single truth on a plural world.” In Karen Armstrong’s bestselling book, “The Battle for God,” she defines fundamentalism as “militant piety” with “no time for democracy, pluralism, religious tolerance, peacekeeping, free speech, or the separation of church and state.”

And therein lies a deep danger imbedded in fundamentalism.  That type of fundamentalist faith, that “militant piety”, can come to destroy the very thing it seeks to promote.

Faith in order to grow, paradoxically, takes faith.  It takes a faith in the form of trusting one another, a movement away from iron-clad certainty, a wiling openness to many perspectives, a faith that God speaks not in one voice but in one song with many parts. 

Our role?  To sing our part well.  And to listen.

Who Am I?

Tuesday, January 9th, 2018

Most of us I imagine struggle with the concept of identity, struggle with the pressing question of “Who Am I?”

Do we have times where we are sure of identity, firmly planted in a life-giving sense of who we are?  Absolutely.

And yet for many those moments are fleeting, giving way to worry and painful uncertainty.

Deitrich Bonoeffer spoke to those sentiments from a Gestapo prison in Nazi Germany.  And found relief.

Who am I? This or the Other?
Am I one person today and tomorrow another?
Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others,
And before myself a contemptible woebegone weakling?
Or is something within me still like a beaten army
Fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved?

Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.
Whoever I am, Thou knowest, O God, I am thine!


Committing to “One More Place At The Table”

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018

Thinking towards commitment this year and this commitment is one that strikes me as so important to live into…

There will always be one more place the table.

Starting this coming Sunday at 10:30 AM, that will be our first series for NewChurch LIVE of 2018.  And maybe it should hold a primary spot in our hearts as well.

It means a simple revolution, one in which we remember people are not interruptions.

From Father Gregory Boyle….

Gratitude keeps you anchored in the present moment, and we’re saved in the present moment, so I think that’s an essential place to be situated all the time. In being eternally grateful. Delighting…is kind of the flip side of that. That’s the action verb.

It’s being attentive to who’s in front of you.

Somehow transforming interruptions into great adventures. This place [Homeboy Industries] is packed with interruptions. If you can correctly consider them then suddenly they become adventures that are delightful as opposed to things that pull you from your tasks.

So who are we going to gratefully welcome to the table in 2018?  What interruptions can we open to?

There is nothing easy in this per se.  But what joy!

That space is my commitment for 2018.

And imagine, my dear friends, a church where new people feel as soon as they enter … “It was like they were waiting for me all along”, a space where there was always one more place at the table.