I have to admit, I’ve been nervous about this week ever since we decided to do this series. Talking about oneness is hard. John is very clear that being one with God and one with each other is the task of being a Christian. Much of Paul’s writings show a similar concern. And so it should not be surprising that there has always been a strong mystical thread in the Christian tradition. However, mysticism is often misunderstood, so, while I’m not yet sure what I will say on Sunday, I am certain about what I won’t say.
First, one could interpret John’s talk of oneness as simple unity of purpose or direction. I think this is too easy and not representative of what goes on in any church, especially Church in the Cliff. We have all come here from different places and we’re not entirely sure where our journeys will end. If love and friendship are ongoing mutual self-giving and self-revelation, it’s hard to say where that will take each of us. While it is reasonable to assume some commonality between us, there must be something more going on.
Second, it is easy for mysticism to disintegrate into some vague kind of empathy. We let it float into the clouds and, as a result, the meaning of being a Christian is pushed off into the indefinite future. In heaven, we will know God. But that defies one of John’s central concerns: that the world will know who God is. Such a soft understanding makes no claim on us at all. Again, there must be something more going on.
Grace and Peace,
Community Meeting, July 1
At the last community meeting, we decided to have regular monthly meetings to help us move forward. They will be the first Sunday of each month at 10am wherever we are meeting for services.
I say “wherever we are meeting for services” because one of the agenda items for the July 1 meeting is to discuss moving back to Kidd Springs Rec Center. We would like to vote at this meeting because Edwin has requested 60 days notice, which would keep us committed until the beginning of September if we make a decision July 1. If you cannot attend, please email your vote to email@example.com.
Sarah Kitto, Valen Chavez, and I visited the rec center on Monday and the renovations are great. The kitchen was overhauled. The troublesome sliding doors were replaced with a glass wall and sets of double doors, which should help with noise from the hallway. There is also a meeting room added on that would be perfect for meetings or Sunday School, if there is interest. It may cost extra, but not much. Otherwise, the rent is the same as before and roughly equal to what we pay for the Kessler. On a personal note, I have to say that walking into that sunlit room with life dancing by outside, it felt like home. While I appreciate what Edwin and the Kessler have done for us and I’ve enjoyed our time there, I will be voting to move.
Another item to be discussed is membership. We have not had membership at Church in the Cliff for several years. As I understand it, the feeling was that it made church into a club with insiders and outsiders. However, some of us wonder if we lose something by not having a way for people to claim a commitment to what we’re doing. We’ll talk through it and see if we can come up with something that fits who we are as a church.
Finally, we will discuss our budget. The budget that went into effect in January was based on assumptions about our income that probably are no longer valid. Also, it was predicated on the idea that teams would be responsible for deciding how the money allocated to them would be spent. Many of those teams did not emerge and, as a result, that money was not spent. We need to look at our current income and at what teams are active and have financial needs. From there, we can make a new budget.
The details of running a church are rarely fun, but I hope people will attend the monthly meetings and share their ideas. The best way to have a church we want to be a part of is by building it together.