Posts Tagged ‘NewChurch LIVE’

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.

So it is True?

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

We live in an age where the concept of “truth” is increasingly questioned in ways unimaginable a few decades go.  We truly are entering/ have entered a “post truth” era.

There are costs when all perspectives, however far fetched, are held as legitimate simply because someone holds them.  When all sources of news, of information become somehow equally valid.  When revelation, as it were, becomes a completely privatized, relativized affair.

For me, I enjoy my opinions frankly and I know enough to know I am often wrong, and therefore desperately need sources of truth outside of those cherished opinions.

For some things there are obviously many sides, many perspectives, many competing claims of truth as we see with the beautiful multitude of faith perspectives in the world.  For other arenas, like global warming, there are no legitimate counter facts.  Global warming is a fact, a truth.  How we handle it?  That is where a multitude of informed opinions can be brought to bear.

A cleaner division between truth and opinion remains worthy of deep human consideration.

Humility before the truth remains crucial to the human soul.


Letting Go

Friday, August 31st, 2012

There are few more powerful spiritual tools than “repentance.”  Going back to the Greek word “metanoia”, it means essentially to turn around, to change one’s mind.  That turning entails a candid self appraisal – “rigorous honesty” as it is phrased in 12 Step Circles – that then opens to a humble willingness to turn over to God those things that keep us from His more immediate presence.

That “letting go” is cathartic.  It includes letting go of enthrallment with physical pleasure, as well as “emotions and factual knowledge.”  (Heavenly Secret, 1412)   Understand, we are not talking here of embracing an ascetic lifestyle, devoid of pleasure, emotions, and knowledge.  We are talking of an engaged lifestyle devoid of enslaving attachment to pleasure, emotions, and knowledge.  It is life placed in an open field.

Yesterday, a friend shared how tiresome her daughter’s attachment to drama had become.  That is exactly what the above is talking about!   Give up the binding attachment to the emotion of being “wounded”, give up the binding attachment to the  ”knowledge” of what motivated the supposed transgressor, and an “open field” appears.  But that is hard work. Who wants to give that up?  Before you know we will actually find ourselves forgiving others!

And the fact is we can’t give up those attachments through an act of heroic self will.  What we can do is prayerfully offer our best intention to God and let Him do His work.  And we will blessedly “turn.” Our mind will change as we let go.

Kony 2012

Monday, March 12th, 2012

Very striking watching the video “Kony 2012.”   There is a piece of humanity, a part deeply embedded in our souls that responds to causes like this – that simply knows.

The phrase “What would Jesus do?” is often misapplied.  Christ’s concern is not about many of things we believe it to be.  Justice, Mercy – those strike closest to His heart and closest to our mission on the planet.

The video and the organization that produced it received criticisms from various quarters.  And it is not for me to weigh in on the validity of those critiques, many of which center around finances.  It is important to note that none of that criticism appears to center around a defense of Kony’s alleged crimes.  As the ICC indictment reads ….

“The 33 criminal counts against Joseph Kony include 12 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including murder, rape, enslavement, sexual enslavement, and inhumane acts of inflicting serious bodily injuries and suffering, and 21 counts of war crimes, including murder, cruel treatment of civilians, intentionally directing an attack against a civilian population, pillaging, inducing rape and forced enlistment of children…”

Kony’s acts are clearly barbarous.  The video appeals to a different side of our humanity – the better angels of our nature.  That is why it went viral.  It tells a simple moral lesson, and tells it well.

We only can pray for what we have experienced

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Here is a unique thought around prayer:

“God seems to plant within us the desire  to pray for what God already wants to give us, and even better, God has already begun to give to us!  We are always just seconding the motion, but the first motion is always and forever God’s.  The fact that you prayed a all means God just started giving to you a second ago.”

I read these words after an early morning walk east down Arch street in Philadelphia.  Looking at the buildings and the city starting to awaken, the words of a theologian whose name escapes me rang true.  ”If God could have saved man without Creation, He would never have made Creation.”   I think the same holds true for our lives – our individual lives are the ONLY means of salvation, of creating a new person.  Discovering that creation is one of the utmost joys of lifes and one of life’s most difficult journeys.

For me, over this past week, much of that struggle has been around how do I pray for NewChurch LIVE, for this church?  To pray to be Andy Stanley and North Point – peerless preaching, huge numbers, immense energy – appears egotistical and self serving.  To not pray is patently a cop out.  So what does one pray for especially when it is something so important?

The prayer then ends up being one of wishing God’s blessing on this endeavor – that we reach and serve countless folks.  Hopefully in saying it I do not limit God to numbers – a capitalist habit of answering “how many?” that often does not belong as central to conversations around mission.   But I do believe the intention to humbly serve behind a prayer for growth is maybe the best spirit of prayer, right now, that I can offer.

And if Richard Rohr’s words cited above are right, that prayer is God’s prayer, AND we have actually started to experience it.  How else would we know what we are praying for?  That does not mean we will inevitably hit our objectives and goals.  There no doubt will be many, many necessary failures leading this group in unanticipated directions.  But can we surrender up our view of how things must play out and allow God to do His work?  Knowing that our prayers, at their best are his prayers too?  Knowing that the only way there is this journey, as it is, right now, here today?