Tag Archives: community

Collaboration with God?

Here’s the video I promised a few days back. I really appreciate John’s work and his leadership at the Table. I know that we will see some from fruits from this work, not just at the Table, but in some other communities. John has a tremendous vision for collaboration with God and with neighbors that might give a lot of us who belong to a church a new sense of direction in our work to make a difference in the world. I hope you enjoy some of the questions and ideas raised in our short conversation.

And note – the audio isn’t the best in the world, though I worked with it as best as I could. We’ll definitely use a different space to record our conversation next time.

If you have questions for John or me, ask away in the comments below. Does your vision of God allow room for collaboration and co-creation?


Hey, listening is important.

Listening

Unfair Park has a nice blog post up, recapping how the whole Winfrey Point saga started. I find it an interesting read, though of course, it’s heavily opinionated. The key point is that City Hall has its decision making process out of order. They hire consultants, come up with some plans, and then present it to the community. Why not go to the community first?

The battle over building a parking lot for the Dallas Arboretum at Winfrey Point is absolutely parallel and of a fabric with recent battles over community gardens and neighborhood farmers markets. All anybody at City Hall ever had to do was just walk out of City Hall one time, one day, just go outdoors, and they would have seen an overwhelming cultural trend in favor of safe food, community gardens and farmers markets, not to mention a reverence for open park land not sullied by concrete.

I found it fascinating because I think lots of faith communities do it like this too. We look around and find out what is popular at other churches and think – hey, we should do that too. Then, we train people, buy stuff, and setup some marketing… and never at any point actually go out in the community and see if people need it. Then we wonder why lots of folks don’t ever make it to church.

I loved a recent Think conversation that I caught a few days back. Author, Tom Kelley, talked about the process of innovation. He pointed out how the first step in good innovation, creating a product or service that would improve people’s lives, is anthropology, getting out and observing people and their processes. When you discover a problem or a need, then you begin to come up with solutions and see what you can do to make a difference in someone’s life.

I dig it.

In fact, next week, I am going to try to setup a video conversation with one of our members, John Ogren, on his missional church research project about starting new faith communities with input at the very beginning from neighbors. Stay tuned for that.

The key for the church (and City Hall… and anybody) – listen first.


Hypnotic

Hypnotic Donuts is rad

It’s Holy Week, so I like to image things that might fill in the spaces between Jesus’ journey and work around Jerusalem. Maybe he was excited to head to Jerusalem because he planned on dropping by a favorite bread maker to get that special baked good for the big dinner on Thursday night. Heck, he might have even needed to wait in line, but it was all worth it. The (unleavened) bread was that just that good.

Fast forward to the present, I think Jesus would  have to drop by Hypnotic Donuts on his way through town. It’s that good. It’s worth waiting in line for, and their business model and vibe is fun and pleasant. If they were open on Easter, I’ve contemplated bringing in an assortment of donuts to kick start our resurrection celebration. Nothing says Easter like bacon topped donuts. (They aren’t open, by the way. Good for them!) Maybe this week, if you haven’t already tried it, go break bread with these cool people.

I’ve only been in Dallas a little over 3 years now, but even in that short time, the excitement and energy building in some of our neighborhoods has been tremendous. Over here by White Rock Lake, good restaurants are popping up. Greenville Ave is doing well too, and places like the Taco Joint, Bryan Street Tavern, and Pizza Lounge hold the fort down around the church. It’s a good time to be in Dallas.

One of my personal hopes of any community I am a part of is that we do our part to support the local in our neighborhoods. Our pub ministry does just that, especially on a night that is usually not so busy for lots of businesses. We get our usual Sunday donuts from SK Donuts, owned by a caring, joyful family of Korean immigrants. We want to do more with our neighborhood artists. We want to be present at our neighborhood festivals. We don’t want to stay behind our walls.

During this Holy Week then, get out and bless someone. Eat somewhere good. Enjoy the neighborhood in the midst of this sacred week.


Looking to Easter

Jesus Built Tables, Not Walls

Easter is not here yet, but I am extending an invite to all my friends, fellow bloggers, and seekers to come join us for the Table this Sunday.

Many of our neighbors will get a invite card that looks like the image above. If you are wanting to return to church or discover a community that practices God’s hospitality, I hope you check us out. Our gathering takes place at 9:30 AM in the Community Room (below the sanctuary) at East Dallas Christian Church (629 N. Peak St., Dallas, TX). Park in the parking lot and follow the Table signs. Grab a donut and some coffee on the way in at our little breakfast bar. Say hello to some of our regulars. We begin worship with music and continue with a mixture of prayer, conversation, and communion. It’s relaxed and informal – dress as you feel comfortable. If you’ve got kids, you can check them in to our nursery or one of our Sunday School classes where they will have a good time. (My daughter and son can attest to that!)

The Table is a great community – our people are such a blessing, so generous and thoughtful and fun. I believe that comes from the fact that we celebrate and honor Jesus’ generosity and hospitality first shared with us. Wherever you are in your theology or life, come check us out!

For more information about us, check out our various Find Your Place pages, like a map on our location page, what our worship is like, more info about our activities for children and youth, and a convenient contact us form. In addition to worship, we are rapidly expanding our small group options. We have members who participate in our church’s bell choir, our pub ministry, and a Wednesday bible study. In April, we are launching more groups – stay tuned for info on those!

I hope to see you this Easter!


Jesus built tables?

Tonight, as we gathered around a big table, sharing pizza and conversation at our regular pub night, I wondered again how many tables Jesus built in his life. Now I know, it’s never stated explicitly in the Gospel stories that Jesus was a carpenter. We assume so because most kids followed in the footsteps of their parents when choosing a line of work. If Joseph was a carpenter, Jesus at least had some experience and skills by helping his father for a good chunk of his life.

However, even if we talk in a more metaphorical and not literal sense, we recognize that Jesus was all about tables.

Eating with sinners. Engaging in dialogue in public and private places. Celebrating the holy feasts of his tradition.

Tables were a tool for his ministry, a way to share his message, a place to connect with others and extend God’s word of love and redemption.

To be more blunt about it, borrowing the words of a genius Latino pastor who spoke at a General Assembly a few years back (as told by my friend and regional minister of the Rocky Mountain region, Jose Morales), “Our Lord didn’t build walls – our Lord built tables.”

Our little community, the Table, is all about this idea. When we gather around God’s table, we recognize Christ’s presence with us and the boundaries between us becoming a little thinner. Sure, they may remain for quite a long time – boundaries of class, race, culture, finances, and education. But it is something mysterious and beautiful when, as we share the bread and the cup, we are drawn closer together by God’s doing, not by our own. It’s healing – it’s reminding us that, even though we are different, we are one. In that moment, we know that there is a little less brokenness and fragmentation in the world.

The world needs a little more unity right now.

May we all have the courage to follow after Christ, tearing down walls and building tables, casting out fear and living into wholeness, one meal at a time.


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