The inspiration for this summer series was in part the twelve to fourteen spiritual disciplines central to the Christian life– things like prayer, study, service, worship. While not all of the disciplines are claimed by everyone (fasting, and confession perhaps the most controversial) I am drawn to them as a beautiful example of the wisdom of our tradition. These disciplines are things that people on the Way of Jesus have done for hundreds of years as a means of cultivating a more intimate relationship with the Divine. In designing the Centering Summer series we hope to ground these ancient disciplines within the specific resources and practices of our community.
There is also another stream to our thought as an “ecu-mergent” congregation, and that is the Emergent Conversation. For those of you who are new to emergent vocabulary, I invite you to spend some time exploring Emergent Village. (I particularly like the Post-Conference Reflection with Phyllis Tickle — she was my intro to emergent at the conference in Memphis this past fall). Anyway, in emergent circles, relationality is very important. Relationality is one of those great words which I am convinced is made up in graduate school (sister words include historicity and religiosity). Relationality is the art of cultivating relationships. While it may be those on the emergent spectrum that really give voice to relationality and friendship as a spiritual practice, people on the Way have been doing it since the beginning of the Church –and have also have been humbled by the task.
We humans are a prickly bunch. We are sensitive about the things we hold sacred. Ironically, this can make building relationships hard to do in the very place where we need them the most, with our fellow sojourners in our community of faith. Please join us this week as we ask what does it mean to be church together? To love each other? To listen deeply to stories of longing for truth, for beauty, for God, for wholeness?
Tonight we hope to cultivate good conversation as we eat some fancy pizza at Scott and Lisa’s (221 S. Edgefield Ave., 6:30pm). New folks and old friends are warmly invited to come and to worship with us Sunday morning as we explore the ancient craft of relationality.
En paz, In Peace
Relationships is something I hold sacred. I try to be a good steward of my relationships. To maintain and nourish them isn’t always easy, especially when you feel like your are the only one trying. When I am cultivating new relationships, I want to know everything about the other party/parties so that I can relate to the person/people. I want to know if we share anything in common. If not, my interest is heightened and I want to know learn more about what makes us different…I go in with an open mind and hope to leave enriched with new understanding. I believe relationships are about meeting people where they are at. I know not everyone feels this way. Our society has a way of dividing people into categories, groups, cliques. We are supposed to distrust and hate each other. I believe there is undiscovered middle road if we human beings just talk—not debate, argue, or bully—but have a real conversation. But where do we start, what would be the ground rules, what would be the expected outcomes?