(Spirit) Taste of Jubilee

We are excited to share the following invitation from our friends and partners at the Prairie Jubilee Programme:

Post: Jubilee

Come Get a Taste of Jubilee!

April 27, 7:00 to 8:30 pm
47 Bronstone Blvd., Winnipeg MB
We’ll be gathering to share stories and insights about Jubilee. The focus will be to provide information to anyone interested in the program. The next two-year cycle starts September 15, 2016.
You will hear from leaders, alumni and current students, with lots of time at the end for one-on-one discussions.

For more details on the program please visit http://prairiejubilee.ca/course-outline/
RSVP tracy@prairiejubilee.ca

(Blog) A Deacon’s Musing|3S + 1R

Ultimate Self-care

Ultimate Self-care
Image: Celestine Chua

I love alliteration … I also had not anticipated blogging with 3S & 1R: Spiritual, Sabbath, Self-Care & Religious. In fact, I had thought I would be adding a new addition to the Serial Story Feather’s Fall (thanks for the recent inquiries about an update: next week … I hope J )! But then a great twitter conversation occurred about Sabbath and Self-care, which then moved onto the ongoing faith discussion about a person being spiritual but not religious … and thus a blog was born!

My take away from this twitter conversation is that we – as church – have done a rather poor job of translating our words into a context – the secular – that pretty much is longing for them. So (for instance) in this 24/7 economy, in which temporary and part-time jobs mean less financial security, there is often little time for family or self. As a result, the idea of self-care is gaining in importance.

Now in church-ese we call that Sabbath. This rich and nuanced word contains rich history of social and economic justice, which is tied to the earth and agriculture (Creation in church-speak). And we know from multiple studies, these church values are shared by the secular context that talks about self-care. Problem though – here’s the rub – is we’re not even in the conversation (often). Self-care often is individualistic and self-focused. In fact, it mirrors the consumer culture in which we live and is often approached as a product in and of itself. And – since we are not in the conversation – we have little space to connect that the church language of Sabbath carries another shared value: community and corporate well-being!

Snoopy's Theology

Snoopy’s Theology
Image: Charles Schultz (1976)

From Sabbath and Self-Care, the conversation that inspired this blog then moved on to discuss the phrase/movement of spiritual but not religious. A phrase that often irks those in the church and too often gets dismissed and/or judged. And I think this is unfortunate.

Since we are often not in the conversation or find ourselves only speaking to one another (within our context) and not those who are seeking (the spiritual part), we have done a poor job to address this reality: spiritual seeking itself has been turned into a commodity and leaves it to the individual to put together a system of ritual, practice and discipline: in essence people are creating their own religions (often individual in focus). And – often – without an anchored tradition, sometimes such religious formation leaves a spirituality that is unable to weather some of life’s very real and traumatic realities. I do not claim that formal or institutional religion always does this well – but the communal tradition leaves space for support individualism cannot (in my experience).

As this twitter chat came to an end, I was excited both by the trust being shared and the public nature. For those who aren’t familiar with Twitter, this is all public. Currently the Presbytery has a reach of 1200+ Followers and the person with whom I was exploring these great ideas and appropriate challenges has many as well! Public discussion of faith is great!

And here’s the final take away: if we are currently not in the conversation, need alone participating publicly (Church-ese might go as far as calling this Evangelism) then not only do we need to ask whether we are relevant, but do we have any moral or ethical stance on which to judge? I think that reality is we do tend to judge – and I’d challenge that’s easy to do when you aren’t in the game, need alone even on the sidelines …

Blog links:

 Twitter: Winnipeg Presbytery
 Wikipedia: Evangelism
Wikipedia: Sabbath
Wikipedia: Spiritual but not religious

(Blog) A Deacon’s Musing|Hate

This blog was originally published February 2, 2012
by The United Church in Meadowood
& was entitled
A Deacon’s Musing: ‘hate is all the world has ever seen lately’

There I am on my morning 10k run. Boomer at my side – enduring my slow, plodding bipedal gate – surrounded by the beauty of hoar frost embracing any and every surface upon which moisture might cling and above a brilliant robin’s blue sky pushing out the morning fog, when suddenly the lyric, “‘Cause hate is all the world has ever seen lately,” jarred me out of the longed-for-runner’s-high!

For me, my daily run is the time I set aside to try to reflect on the day that has been, what might lie before me and where I might be called to reflect. In essence, this is one of my spiritual disciplines … and with any ritual or practice, there’s always the potential that you get stopped in your tracks … this was one of those times …

Now I know this may not be a surprise to you, really it is not as such to me either – at least from a head space perspective. But something, today, was shocking … shocking because – I guess upon reflection – I was surrounded by beauty. And this lyric cut through all of that beyond my intellect into my body and my heart and there was this ‘duh aha’ moment.

Gallery: ADM (2012)

What Would Jesus not do?

It’s unequivocally true … lately likely being the entire course of human history is pocked, marked, scarred with hate. Have you read any of our Hebrew Scriptures lately? Not exactly a lot of egalitarian love going on in there – in fact quite the opposite: people rationalising murder, mayhem, genocide all in the name of ‘God.’ After all, we all know God is on our side, right? Well at least insofar as those who get to write the story are able to shift the narrative from hate to God’s preference, from oppression to protection, from selfishness to self-preservation, from offence to defence …

I have blogged – loosely – about this during Advent in A Deacon’s Musing: Advent & the Rattling of Swords, but there is more than simply being in a culture of war that I have not explored. A constant message of hate, which is so easy to internalise and with which then to paint everyone whom we meet, is insidious. It becomes a pattern that we repeat without knowing … in a text based environment, one of the revelations has been that ‘more offence is taken than is ever intended.’ This insight is born from the reality that most communication is non-verbal – so the words we use do not often necessarily mean what we are actually saying!

What’s the point? In a culture inundated with various media that do not require interacting with another human being, it has become easier to ASSUME what people actually say before we even meet them. This race is like this, that person does that, their culture always responds this way, is a recording that becomes part of our ASSUMPTIONS when we finally meet someone new …

And, of course, into the fray comes Jesus – the one whom Christians use as a guide, gauge, mentor, teacher – that not only challenges those whom we have come to call the Disciples, but those of us who continue to endeavour to share his message! And, as is evident in the discomfort when you start to listen to him, hate is really not part of his vocabulary. A recent image from facebook seems to sum this up by using examples of what Jesus would NOT do:

• Harass Single Moms
• Beat Homosexuals
• Picket Their Funerals
• Shoot Doctors
• Shoot Anyone
• Join A Militia
• Run A Network
• Own A Weapon
• Run For President
• Burn A Cross
• Hate His Enemies
• Attack The Poor
• Side With The Rich
• Put His Name On Merchandise

Hate – it’s insidious! Until we confront how we ourselves are affected by it, it is likely we will be defensive when we are told we hate so & so or such & such … but if we take Jesus’ ministry seriously, if we aspire to be LOVE in the world, maybe we need to be jarred out of our assumptions. When we hear the challenge that ‘all the world has ever seen lately’ is hate, maybe we need to Take a Look Around. In turn, we might have to reflect on how we might be something different …

Blog links: