Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday Update

Highlight(s) of the week: James and I spent a few hours with Lee and Jessica, for which occasion I made a stellar meatloaf. Adam came to stay with us at the end of last week, so we all got to spend some nice down time, eat nice meals, pray the Office - all the good stuff.

Ministry update: I finalized my end-of-year report, and after due consultation with my students and fellow pastors, created an outline for next year for the Community of the Resurrection at Georgetown College. Worship, meals, prayer. Love people well. Not really complicated, but the challenge always seems to be sticking with those things. I've had a great time keeping in touch with some of the students via the telephone device, but for the most part I've been trying to take it easy and spend my time on prayer, penance, and writing.

Stuff at work: I've been tinkering with my research guides, and preparing to give a small faculty demonstration on electronic research tools.

Book(s) I'm Reading: Sexual Authenticity, by Melinda Selmys (Publisher); Spirit of the Disciplines, by Dallas Willard (for Schola - Publisher / Library).

Media I'm Enjoying: True Blood and Malcolm in the Middle. Yah, I know.

Something that blew my mind: Presumption.

Something I've been chewing on: How do I talk to people about their sins against others when they're decades older than me?

Looking Forward To: Having a few people over this weekend to formally welcome James to our household with a house blessing and a party.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Monday Brief: 07/20/09

Highlight(s) of the week: Jeff Asher joined us for our Schola (Saint Patrick's ministry reading group) to discuss a book on Ritual studies and early Christianity. We were joined by Lee and two Adams, and intermittent visits from James. Also, I spent part of the day Saturday shoveling compost with Amy for the garden, and had the Looses and McLeods for grilling and bad horror films (what else?) for the evening.

Ministry update: I've been trying to spend most of my extra-curricular energies on formation this summer, so ministry work has been limited to a few lunches and coffees with students, and some reading. I've been chatting with the other Catechists, my students, and the Religious Life folks at the College about my plans for the Fall. Like Jesus and the Cylons, I do have a plan...

Stuff at work: Media inventory. 'Nuff said.

Book(s) I'm Reading: I just finished Tribes by Seth Godin, The New Testament in its Ritual World by Richard DeMaris, and The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene.

Media I'm Enjoying: Our household started watching HBO's True Blood. I'm not really into vampirism (outside of the Mass, of course) but I knew anything by Alan Ball would be worthwhile. And it is.

Something that blew my mind: I was really surprised at the relative lack of obfuscation in the Episcopalians' legislation at GenCon09 last week.

Something I've been chewing on: I'm thinking about going to library school in a year.

Looking Forward To: A week with very few plans. We have a new housemate, so we're all being purposeful about building up the home monastery.

I stole this format from Dean and Alex.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

How to Live in an Intentional Christian Community

I’ve spent the last five years living in and among what are often called “intentional Christian communities.” The use of this phrase typically implies that a group of people share their lives together in a number of structured ways with the common goal of greater personal and corporate faithfulness to Jesus Christ. These communities have been:
This involvement hasn’t often been exclusive; some of the communities overlap (St Patrick and St Columba) and my time in some of them has overlapped as well (VBCC, hOME, St Patrick). While there was some diversity in the particular practices of these communities, this is what they all had in common:

Learning to Pray. We came together to pray to the Lord for ourselves, one another, and the world he’s teaching us to love. We prayed our hopes. We prayed our doubts. We prayed our joys, our pains, our fear, and our despair. We learned to do this by praying the Psalms, and reading the Scripture together.

We learned to do this by sitting down together, and not running away. We didn’t learn to do this from the latest awesome book on the religion bestseller list. We learned to say to God, “I’m sorry.” “Thank you.” “Yes.”

Learning to Love. We ate meals together. We learned to fight, and not run away. We learned to say to one another, “Thank you.” “I’m sorry.” “I forgive you.” “Let’s do this together.” In learning to say these things, I became the kind of person who can say these things, and mean it.

Living in this way didn’t necessarily make the Christian life easier – in fact, it showed me quite a bit about how difficult it is. What this way of life did was show me what it looked like to really love God, and to know what it is to be loved by God. It broadened my imagination to see and know and feel what it’s like to be a forgiving person. This life teaches me that I can suffer with and for people around me without running away. Belonging with a people like this, and living life in this way has taught me that people really can become like Jesus, and that it’s possible to live our lives without trying to protect ourselves from the people we’d like to love us.

By all means, embrace “community.” But I’m always going to ask you these questions:
  • Do you eat?
  • Do you pray?
  • Do you hold your own feet to the ground?
If you can – if you will – it will make all the difference.