Posts Tagged ‘Pentecost’

The Strangeness of Church

// May 23rd, 2015 // No Comments » // Church in The Cliff

Last Sunday we celebrated Jesus’ ascension into heaven.  It’s a typically Lukan scene of strangeness, a man being carried up into the sky until he disappears into the clouds.  Things get weirder this week.  It’s Pentecost.

You’re probably familiar with the story.  Jesus’ followers are hanging out, trying to figure out their next move when, suddenly, a wind starts blowing from inside the house.  Little flames jump around and light on their heads.  They speak in languages they have never known.  Everyone is astonished.

Maybe we’re too familiar with the story.  Maybe we dismiss it because we see it as “mere” myth.  Taken as literal-factual truth, it defies understanding just as it did for the people in Jerusalem.  But imagine it as a summer blockbuster in the hands of Peter Jackson and it becomes something else.  Movies have become the mythos of our culture.  It’s why we quote movie scenes to one another in routine conversation.  They become the language and imagery of our lives.  They say something about who we imagine ourselves to be.  Luke and Acts were for the Early Church that defining mythos.  They tell the Church who it hopes to be.

In that strange and fantastic moment, the Church was born.  Yet, we have lost that sense of strangeness.  Church is, for many, for all of us at some point, an abstraction, a habit, a duty, a chore, a culture.  Too often, for too many, it is the defender of the norm.  It is rarely a radically transformational moment of magic and mystery.

Please join us this Sunday, 11am at Church in the Cliff, as we discuss the strangeness of the Church, what we’ve lost and what we might regain if we acknowledge the presence of the Spirit of God in our lives.  Be forewarned: there might be preaching.

Grace & Peace,

The Spirit is Moving

// June 7th, 2014 // No Comments » // Church in The Cliff

This Sunday is Pentecost, the birth of the Church.  It is characterized as a magical, mysterious event where the Spirit of God comes upon the people with wind and fire.  We often consider it unique, something that happened (or maybe didn’t) long ago.  We commemorate it each year as a memory that is not our own.  But my experience is different; I hope yours is, too.  There may not be wind and fire, but I see the Spirit of God present in the people of Church in the Cliff all the time.

I see the Spirit in the commitments of those who provide coffee and breakfast on Sunday mornings.  I hear the Spirit in the voices of those who sing and play.  I feel it at Wednesday dinners when we share meals and talk about our lives.  I see it in the faces of the beautiful, brilliant, creative children that have grown up in Church in the Cliff.  I see it in a board that dares to take on the mundane tasks of running the church.  I hear it in the rich conversations that we have on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights and whenever we gather.  I see it in the concern we have for one another and the lives we choose to share.  And I see it in the great tradition of ministers and lay leaders that came before us, that built and sustained a place that we can now call home.

Most recently, I saw the Spirit moving at our church planning retreat.  We come from many different worlds and find ourselves in different places on the Way.  Yet, out of our different interests and different ways of speaking, we understood one another and came to a common vision.  A common voice emerged out of a humility and vulnerability in listening to one another, in finding the common ground of concern for one another’s well-being, and in a passion for moving the church a little bit farther down the Path.  Like those present at the first Pentecost, I’m not sure what it all means or what precisely will happen next, but I am assured that all will be well.

The Spirit of God is always present.  Our task is to open ourselves to its movement, to allow ourselves to be moved, to dream dreams and have visions and speak prophetically to a world that longs for justice.  Our task is to breathe the breath of life and light the fire that enlightens the world.

Pentecost is the day that the Church is formed and reformed, birthed and rebirthed, every year.  We will dream dreams together and see visions together and speak prophetically to a world that longs for justice.  We will be constantly born into that life, so that, little by little, all the world will be saved to a life of peace and justice.

If that sounds like something you would like to be a part of, we would love to have you.  We would love to dream with you and add your voice to our chorus.  Please join us this Sunday, 11am at Kidd Springs Rec Center, as we see the future of Church in the Cliff together.

Grace & Peace,


// May 17th, 2013 // No Comments » // Church in The Cliff

I will be brief.  This Sunday, Pentecost, Church in the Cliff will gather to ordain me as a Baptist minister.  It is thrilling.  I have worked toward this for the past four years and it is a delight and an honor to be affirmed by a group of people that I love so much.  It is also terrifying.  You must be crazy to ordain me.  There must be some mistake.  I must have made a horrible error in judgment to have chosen to walk this path.  But that is the beauty of it: to be who I truly am and still be chosen by this community, to risk loving and being loved.  It is a gift that I can never live up to.  So thank you to all those who have supported me and challenged me along the way.  I look forward to the visions and dreams that lie ahead.

Please join us this Sunday, 11am at Kidd Springs Rec Center as we celebrate the beginning of the Church and the beginning of a life of service to those I am blessed to call friends.

Grace & Peace,


// May 26th, 2012 // No Comments » // Church in The Cliff

At Pentecost, it is easy to focus on the drama and weirdness, the wind and fire, speaking in tongues.  It’s exciting!  Unfortunately, it sets up the kinds of questions that dominate conversations about faith in this day and age:  Is it really true?  Did it really happen?  Did it happen this way, with miracles and strange supernatural events?  Those questions really narrow the field.  Instead, perhaps we should ask why this matters at all.  What do these signs signify?  What kind of world are these signs a sign of?  What kind of world do they construct?  These questions aren’t answered by test or logic; these questions are answered by living.

This is exactly what the early Christians did.  After the rush of wind died down and the tongues of fire ceased, they were left with the very ordinary task of living together.  But somehow, the ordinary had now become extraordinary.  The coming of the Spirit meant that their lives were different.  In fact, they themselves were different.  Now a meal was a sacrament.  Wealth was a way to help others in need.  Now their prayers were answered in the way they treated one another, with gratitude and grace.

Please join us this Sunday, 11am at the Kessler, as we try to live into this inspiring story.

Grace and Peace,

Potluck Picnic in the Park

This Wednesday, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra is performing for free in Kidd Springs Park.  The music begins at 8pm, but there is a pre-concert festival starting at 6pm.  Bring blankets, bug spray and some picnicky food to share.  I’ll have tater salad.  There are rumors of sno-cones, but we’ll see.  Hope to see you there!