Posts Tagged ‘Jubilee’

Jubilee: Release of the Captives

// May 9th, 2013 // No Comments » // Church in The Cliff

Mother’s Day at Church in the Cliff
Ordination Thanks

This week, I am living the story of too much: Polishing off last minute dissertation edits and sending it off to the library system, completing annoying exit forms and surveys for institutional liability purposes, consulting with a suddenly booming list of people with complex counseling needs, picking up graduation regalia, writing thank–you notes to mentors and colleagues, and celebrieving the closing of a really important chapter of my life.  Graduation is Saturday.  6 years of creating a weird and wonderful hybrid professional identity that falls somewhere between counselor, pastor, and ecological activist are coming to a bittersweet close. Honestly, I am kind of relieved to be so busy, because in the moments when I’m not, I’m a little scared and sad to be moving out beyond the relative safety of studenthood.

Wednesday night at dinner and at other little moments throughout this week, you all have helped me remember the importance of “enough.” Cameron has reminded me to say no to people and to ask for help, because I am not good at that.  Scott took on book study after I’d already said I’d do it.  Jen is organizing things for my graduation fiesta so I don’t have to answer phone calls and try to make things pretty.  Mikal spoke up for the importance of leaning into abundance in our lives.  Sara sent me home with leftover stuffed bell peppers that made my lunchtime today glorious.  Maybe most importantly, when I said that I thought I needed to go home and prepare for the class I’m helping with at Brite next week, the table full of Wednesday eaters piped up with a “Go home and take care of yourself!” sentiment.

It is hard to change the hurting parts of ourselves and the world when we are trying to be and do everything.  I wonder sometimes if this is one of the reasons why the idea of grace is so important in the Christian story.  This Sunday, I’m hoping for some conversation and ritual space about reaching out and letting go: reaching out to each other with love and honesty, reaching out to the Mystery we call God, and letting go of the different fears and insecurities we have about not being enough.  I’m looking forward to being there with you.

Please join us this Sunday, 11am at Kidd Springs Rec Center as we talk about freedom from the fear of not having enough to make up for our fear of not being enough and, instead, rest in the nurturing providence of the kin-dom of God.

Grace and Peace,
Genny

Mother’s Day at Church in the Cliff

Apparently, Mother’s Day is the third most attended church service of the year behind Easter and Christmas.  I have never noticed a surge in attendance at CitC, probably because we don’t usually do much for Mother’s Day.  This is not an accident.  Because we strive to be inclusive of all genders, sexual orientations, and family choices, singling out mothers for special recognition misses the mark.  (If you would like to understand more about this choice there are many, many, many people talking about it, which is great.)  However, part of including people is celebrating and grieving the wide range of choices and experiences that people have and, because we are a church, framing that in a theological context.  The way we choose to do that this year is to celebrate the nurturing, providing aspects of God and the kin-dom of God.  This is the Jubilee: nurturing and supporting one another as God nurtures and supports us, living into abundant life for all.

Ordination Thanks

I want to thank everyone at Church in the Cliff who has nurtured me over the last five years.  If you asked me five years ago what I would doing now, this is absolutely the last thing I would have said.  I couldn’t be happier.  It is a joy to be a part of a church that let’s me risk being myself, that celebrates the gifts that I can bring to ministry.  The church voted last Sunday to ordain me, an honor that I do not take lightly.  Wherever I go and whatever I do, I will carry the beauty and joy and complexity of Church in the Cliff with me.  The service will be 11am Sunday, May 19th at Kidd Springs.

Scott

Jubilee: Gwyneth and her goop

// May 4th, 2013 // 1 Comment » // Church in The Cliff

I was watching Bill Maher this week in tiny increments between paper writing as I nibbled on a sandwich.  One of his guests was Jimmy Kimmel, who I, if I may speak openly, do not care for too much.  Normally, Bill’s guests are asked questions about pressing issues of the day, but Kimmel was asked about television industry decisions and celebrity news.  In particular, Kimmel was asked about Gwyneth Paltrow and her more-fabulous-than-thou shopping blog, goop.  It seems that every week, Gwyneth tells her fans what to buy and make and do that will make their lives into hers – minus Chris Martin’s soothing, melancholy, triumphant piano ballads.  That costs extra.  I was not really aware of this fount of wisdom.  I knew that people loved to hate her, but I wasn’t entirely sure why.  So I’m looking at goop now and, I have to say, I do want her life.  I mean, I don’t have a lot of use for a grey (British spelling!  So sophisticated!) Corsica bikini or an exclusive eisha (I don’t know what that word means!  So sophisticated!)  kids romper and I am heartbroken that the extra large nest bowl in wasabi is out of stock, but I pop over to the recipe section my life feels back on track.  I now know what I should cook: parmesan polenta and grilled radicchio wedge, plus some lentil “meatballs” for Dixon.  I might be joking, but I’m not really.  Her life does seem fabulous.  And I love stuff.  I love my Dyson DC-17 Animal vacuum cleaner, bought with my first poker tournament winnings.  But now I see they have a DC41 Animal Complete, which sounds so much better and now I’m sad.  🙁  I love the Vitamix blender that Lisa bought despite my skepticism about green smoothies, which turn out to be delicious!  The Vitamix makes all the sauces that y’all devour on Wednesday nights, but I would make even if you weren’t there because it is so easy to throw food in the Vitamix and blend.  Stuff makes my life better.  It really does.  I’m sure of it.  Definitely sure.

So it is with some trepidation that I come into this week of Jubilee.  At the heart of the Jubilee ethic is a theology of enough, a trust that God has provided enough.  And it is only when we trust in God’s provision that we have the courage to share and ensure that everyone will have enough.  As I consistently demonstrate, that is easier said than done.

A couple of weeks ago, we considered what kind of people our economic system forms us into.  This week, we will come from the other side and think about who we are in our relationship with money and consumption and, well, stuff.  What is it that drives us to want?  Who do we think we will become when we acquire?  And what are the consequences?  What systems are created out of our fears, doubts, and desires?

Please join us this Sunday, 11am at Kidd Springs Rec Center as we discuss the role of personal sin – fears, doubts, and desires – in systems of power.

Grace & Peace,
Scott

Jubilee: Sabbath for the Land

// April 26th, 2013 // No Comments » // Church in The Cliff

Vote on Ordination
Jubilee

Sallie McFague is one of my personal saints. She’s a theological scholar who manages to jump out of every box people put around her, and is a strong voice for ecological and gender justice. She writes in ways compelling both to theological academics and to justice-minded church-goers alike; her work is on the ground and relevant to the cultural moments we’re living.  I’m sure you’re shocked that a practically-minded ecofeminist person like me would be drawn to her! This week, I’m hoping we can use two of her excellent metaphors from her book Super, Natural Christians: How We Should Love Nature to frame our conversation about Sabbath practices for the land (and why these matter to people).  McFague draws on Jesus’ Sermon on the mount, describing our cultural distance from the land and the need to “subdue” it with the metaphor of “The Arrogant Eye.”  If we look at the world as an object we are entitled – some even say commanded – to use, then we are free to demand as much from the natural world as possible.  We can follow our cultural messages that tell us to get as much as we can for ourselves, no matter the consequences – though this has a real cost to our sense of self-in-relationship, to our economically marginalized neighbors around the world, and to nature’s economy, which does not match the pace of consumerism.

McFague counters the Arrogant Eye with “The Loving Eye.” In a direct challenge to societal norms that advocate the objectification of people and planet through consumerism and wealth accumulation, McFague takes us back to Jesus’ words, “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light.” For McFague, the whole world is God’s body, and we are always in relationship to it – everything we grow, eat, breath, touch and throw away is part of God’s self-expression.  This is a pretty serious challenge to our culture, and resonates strongly with the concept of Jubilee.

Join us Sunday, 11am at Kidd Springs Rec Center, to be together and talk about these kinds of things.  We’d love to have your voice in the conversation.

Genny

Vote on Ordination

On Wednesday, April 10, and Sunday, April 20, Scott answered questions related to ordination.  Now, there is a vote underway.  If you would like to vote in favor of ordaining Scott to ministry in Church in the Cliff, please email your vote to board@churchinthecliff.org or show up at the community meeting at 10am on May 5.

Jubilee

We are still taking contributions for Occupy Wall Street’s Rolling Jubilee.  Our unofficial count stands at $1837.  $2k would be a nice, pretty, round number.  Or, be an anarchist and shatter preconceived notions of what beauty is.  We will love you anyway.  Okay, we will love you especially.

The Promised Land

// April 20th, 2013 // No Comments » // Church in The Cliff

The Week’s Events
Jubilee
Ordination Candidate Forum

About a month ago, a few of us went to hear Kathryn Tanner speak on the ways that finance intersects with our Christian commitments.  This was not your average stewardship discussion.  While I disagreed with some of her premises, the questions she was asking were fascinating.  It just so happens that they intertwine with our Eastertide consideration of Jubilee.  Primarily, Dr. Tanner was asking: what kind of people we become when we participate in the finance system?  And what kind of people do our Christian commitments call us to be?  What kind of economic system might we design that would allow us to answer that call?  Perhaps Jubilee offers some possibilities.

Last week we discussed how the idea of Sabbath arose from the Hebrew narratives of creation and liberation.  God created the world, the land, the people, and the law so that life might flourish.  Sabbath is a way of reconnecting to and reviving ourselves in that dream.  But it requires more than rest; it requires thought and action, courage and wit.

Specifically, Jubilee calls us to an alternate social possibility. Living in slavery, the Hebrews were obviously quite critical of the social, political, and economic arrangements in which they found themselves.  They cried out and God heard them.  God called them to a land flowing with milk and honey, a land where all could prosper.  The Hebrews set out from Egypt determined to live into this alternate social possibility in the land of Canaan.  In their liturgy, in their politics, and in their law they enshrined the hope that everyone would have plenty if they just cared for one another.

Please join us this Sunday, 11am at Kidd Springs Rec Center, as we talk about the social, political, and economic realities of our world and how we might imagine an alternative that forms us into people of God.

Grace and Peace,
Scott

The Week’s Events

Obviously, it has been a terrible week.  It seems like every time I check Facebook, someone is offering prayers for another city hit by tragedy.  I scramble to find out happened and I almost wish I hadn’t.  Our prayers go out to all the people of Boston, that they might find peace and that someone will make peace in our world and in our hearts.  But the tragedy that hits closest to home is that in nearby West, Texas.  I’m not sure I’ve met a Texan that hasn’t stopped at the Czech Stop in West at some point while traveling between Dallas and Austin.  If you’d like to help, Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery is collecting money and needed items for the people of West.  Please give as you can.

Jubilee

Thanks to all those who came out last Sunday for Jubilee!  Thanks to our musicians for their lovely accompaniment, to the cooks for delicious food, and to the Kittos’ for hosting.  Most of all, thanks to all those who contributed to the Rolling Jubilee!  We collected $1467, which will pay off about $15,000 in medical debt for a person in need.  We will continue to collect a special offering throughout Eastertide, so please consider what you can give.  What if we could get to $2000?

Ordination Candidate Forum

I met on April 10th with members of the church to talk about ordination.  There were great questions.  It was good to articulate some of what ordination means to me.  We will have a second session this Sunday morning, April 21st, at 10am.  This will allow full two weeks for people to consider before the vote scheduled for the May 5th community meeting.  I look forward to your questions as we discern ordination together.

Images of Jubilee

// April 13th, 2013 // No Comments » // Church in The Cliff

Growing up in a fundamentalistish church, I learned to read Scripture in a particular way.  It was understood as a monolithic text with a cohesive narrative arc, one story with a beginning, a middle, and an end.  This story conveyed information and our task was to receive it.  In particular, this story was the story of God’s action in the world for salvation.  He (it was definitely He) tried a state of blissful nature and it didn’t work.  He tried the law and we broke it.  He sent the prophets came and we killed them.  Finally, He came to the world as Jesus and died to save us.  Sort of.  For some reason, Jesus still has to come back again; I’m not sure why.  In any case, when he does, things will finally be fixed.  And somehow, it matters that we believe this to be the case.  I’m sure this will come as a shock, but I don’t read Scripture that way anymore.  I think that I love Scripture more now than I ever did then because it is now to me a fugue, a repeating pattern with variation and expansion, a pattern in which we live and breathe.  Our Eastertide theme of Jubilee is just such a pattern.  Perhaps it is the pattern of the Christian story.

As we read last week, Leviticus 25 contains the clearest expression of Jubilee.  However, that text has ancestors and descendents that touch virtually every aspect of human life: agriculture, the environment, empire, economics, systems of power, the human soul.  The image of Jubilee is repurposed to suit the needs of the people to whom it is proclaimed.  In all cases, it is a calling to human thriving in a just society.  As this series unfolds, we will look at the various ways in which the image of Jubilee is used and what that call might look like.  What are we free from?  What are we free for?  What holds us and the world captive?  How do we affect release?

Please join us this Sunday, 11am at Kidd Springs Park, as we proclaim the Jubilee, the year of God’s favor.  Note that we will not be in the rec center this week.  We will meet on the lawn by the garden between the parking lots off Canty.  Please bring blankets or folding chairs and you might want to wear a hat.  If possible, you may want to ride a bike or walk because the event that has displaced us might make parking limited.  It should be a beautiful day tomorrow and it will do us good to encounter God in the sunshine.

Also, remember that we will be putting the Jubilee proclamation into action in the afternoon.  Starting at 4pm at Sara Kitto’s house, 310 S. Montclair, we will have a potluck, hootenanny, and telethon to raise money for Occupy Wall Street’s Rolling Jubilee, which buys toxic debt and forgives it, just like Jesus.  There will be plenty of food.  If you play an instrument, bring it and join in the pickin’.  And bring money.  We want to contribute as much as we can to release people from debt.  Hope to see you Sunday!

Grace & Peace,
Scott

Ordination Candidate Forum

I met on Wednesday with members of the church to talk about ordination.  There were great questions.  It was good to articulate some of what ordination means to me.  We had planned to have a second session this Sunday morning, but decided to push it one week because we are meeting outside and we will be working hard in the afternoon for Jubilee.  So, the new date and time are April 21st at 10am.  This will still allow a full two weeks for people to consider before the vote scheduled for the May 5th community meeting.