My newest blog post on DMergent is up. I’ve been working on this one for a few weeks. The ideas started coming up around the end of April with a congregational workshop on family systems theory, looking at the teachings of Edwin Friedman. The other pieces continued to snowball from other experiences here and there. Plus, mashing this up with Goonies was a no brainer. That movie is both awful and fantastic, in its own ways.
Adventure is a tricky concept to define, so I didn’t try to define it. What can be exciting and daring for one community or person might not be for another. But the idea that Friedman seems to tackle is that if you don’t escape a negative cycle with something radical, nothing will change. You could even tie this in with many people who struggle with addiction – unless they really hit bottom or break away from the world that has been supporting their addiction, they will stay trapped.
Shane Claiborne, in his work for nonviolence and peace, often gets asked what he would do if a mob of angry men with machetes ran toward him. He thinks the question itself is crazy, so he says he would start flapping his arms like a chicken, pecking at the ground, and making silly noises. Don’t succumb to the system – don’t respond to violence with more violence. What then will change?
We all need adventure. Don’t be afraid to take the first step. Yes, it’s supposed to be a little scary at first, but adventures are how the world gets changed.
Rachel Held Evans speaks the Table’s language in an excerpt from a new book, Letters to a Future Church:
According to the statistics, we are a people of relative prosperity and relative generosity. We control most of the world’s wealth and we give much of it away. Though we struggle with materialism, we value charity. While we want to make the world more just, we don’t always know how to start.
But are we people of the kingdom?
That is the question at the heart of this crisis, and as we struggle together to answer it, I am convinced that we don’t need bigger buildings or fancier sound equipment, better pastors or more parishioners, newer ministries or deeper pockets.
What we need are bigger banquet tables.
Let it be, Lord. Let it be.
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.
I mentioned in our conversation time Sunday about the sermon I found from Henry Nouwen, the late well known author and priest who for many years lived in community with people who had disabilities. He has written and shared a lot about that experience, how he discovered much about himself and about God by caring for people with many needs but tremendous spirits. I wanted to link to that sermon since it is a beautiful, simple, and profound read. If you need to be encouraged or just get a renewed sense of what the Christian story is about, this is it:
Jesus heard that voice. He heard that voice when He came out of the Jordan River. I want you to hear that voice, too. It is a very important voice that says, “You are my beloved son; you are my beloved daughter. I love you with an everlasting love. I have molded you together in the depths of the earth. I have knitted you in your mother’s womb. I’ve written your name in the palm of my hand and I hold you safe in the shade of my embrace. I hold you. You belong to Me and I belong to you. You are safe where I am. Don’t be afraid. Trust that you are the beloved. That is who you truly are.”
I want you to hear that voice. It is not a very loud voice because it is an intimate voice. It comes from a very deep place. It is soft and gentle. I want you to gradually hear that voice. We both have to hear that voice and to claim for ourselves that that voice speaks the truth, our truth. It tells us who we are. That is where the spiritual life starts — by claiming the voice that calls us the beloved.
Read the full sermon here.
May you remember who you are and claim that this day. Have a blessed Monday!