Wednesday, January 26, 2005


you are witnessing a miracle akin to raising poor lazarus from the dead. i am in a public space on a laptop, connected to the web, blogging. hold your breath. yes, it is true.

i attended the communality 101 session last night that sherry and maria led. they did a great job. thinking about miracles this morning (remember: public, laptop, connected, blogging), i was struck by the miraculous journey of this community, and any intentional communtiy for that matter. they led through the categories: what we have learned, who we are, and where we are going. we have learned that it will always be harder and uglier than we could expect. But (and this is a big but) somehow, daily, there are things so beautiful that you don't know if you should cry or laugh.

we also talked about being a grounded, missional, intentional community. this is who we are and what we do. i am in mission every day at a locally owned bicycle shop. we are students, activists, artists, compassion workers, social workers, refugee resettlers, faces behind counters, theologians, philosophers, community builders, and pastors. and the amazing thing is that we can be one, or several of those things. we have room for change, for the different seasons of our lives.

and, where we are going. well, i don't want to ruin any surprises for those of you who plan to attend saturday. we are going places as a community: physically, spiritually, emotionally(is there a difference?). we are a group of people on a trajectory towards christ, and for that i am thankful.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

branding the product, naming it and claiming it

Steve has offered the following as a way to navigate the various expressions of the emerging church....
If I were to sketch a range of distinct emergent tribes, I would note...
Evangelicalism with a navel piercing - This tribe gathers to sing and preach. The theology seems familiar, even when done with candles, a trendy piercing, loud bass beat or bleached hair.
Art collective – tends to be visible monthly, around highly creative worship. The use of video, contemporary music and hip graphics ensure a service of the cool. Followed by the requisite pub visit.
Nu monastic – a recent innovation. It needs a place, whether cafĂ©, tea rooms, free wi-fi or art gallery. From an incarnational location, emerges a life that embraces regular prayer ritual, committed relationships and creativity. Can be very expensive.
House church – very difficult to see publicly. More often found in a lounge, over food, desperately seeking community. Structure and leadership are dirty words that are replaced by vulnerability, relationship and the Kingdom of God.

where do we fit? (do we need to fit?) It seems to me we are a mixed bag depending on when/where one encounters us....high st., 3rd st, Jessamine Co., magees, tolly-ho, moveable feast, refugee settlement, phoenix park, rand, golf view....

Monday, January 24, 2005

Communality 101

We're gathering this week to experience the first 'communality 101' teach-in/seminar/forum. So that everyone has the best chance of going there will be two presentations of the same material - Tuesday Jan. 24th (7pm-9pm) and Saturday Jan. 29th (10am-noon). We'll meet at the High Street House both times.

The objective of this gathering is to create a space for us to study and discuss some of the core assumptions about our life together in mission.

We hope the conversation will spill out into our fellowship, discipleship, informal, and other gatherings.....AND onto this blog. Please contact me if you would like to chime in and need some instructions about signing up as a contributor to 'the ashram'.

on the road with JFK

JFK just returned from his trip to Philly and Camden to visit the Simples and the crew at the Camden House. He says he had a great time. I noticed today that Steve Bush had blogged about receiving a visit from a crowd of folks including John.....check it out here. Thanks for being our ambassador JFK.

This is probably a good time to remind people the family reunion in Philly will be happening Feb. 18-20. It would be wonderful if we can again have a presence at the gathering. Here are some details....

an experiment in fidelity

Will posted this Walter Brueggemann quote recently .

"We all have a hunger for certitude, and the problem is that the Gospel is not about certitude, it's about fidelity. So what we all want to do if we can is immediately transpose fidelity into certitude, because fidelity is a relational category and certitude is flat, mechanical category. So we have to acknowledge our thirst for certitude and then recognize that if you had all the certitudes in the world it would not make the quality of your life any better because what we must have is fidelity."

It has caused me to think a lot about our life together and how remarkably faithful this collection of people (we call Communality) are. I'm encouraged and emboldened by Gandhi's 'experiments in truth' and it might be fair to say that our life together in grounded, missional community is a similar experiment - perhaps it's an 'experiment in fidelity.' no easy experiment in this world of infinite alternatives and quick fix/instant gratification/have now pay later solutions. i hope (and i have good reason to be hope-full) we can learn to usher in a new age of patience coupled with a gentle urgency to see the Kingdom come. The majesty of such an experiment is this: we taste the shalom-sweetness of covenant community and at the same time we are offering this peace and grace to people we serve and love in our neighborhoods and city. Bosch calls this the ‘double movement’ of mission. we have placed ourselves in streets, neighborhoods, and realtionships that make this experiement all the more fragile...but we are unashamedly living our way into the scriptural narrative in the ways of Jesus and, most importantly, we are doing it together.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Winslow Homer. The Fog Warning. 1885.

A lot to think about here...themes of work, being alone, danger, the mother ship. Where are the the eyes looking? Posted by Hello

Sunday, January 02, 2005

the necessary discipline

I came across this excerpt today as I was reading a published journal of a novelist and poet. It struck me because it included a phrase that some of us hold to in our community. I’m reminded of it often by Billy as a word of encouragement and a call to persevere in the true stuff of the spiritual discipline of a life in mission – that is, “the discipline of the work.” For me this quote communicated a redemptive truth about being human. In her reflection on solitude, May Sarton writes:

“I have said elsewhere that we have to make myths of our lives, the point being that if we do, then every grief or inexplicable seizure by weather, woe, or work can – if we discipline ourselves and think hard enough – be turned to account, be made to yield further insight into what it is to be alive, to be a human being, what the hazards are of a fairly usual, everyday kind. We go up to Heaven and down to Hell a dozen times a day – at least I do. And the discipline of work provides an exercise bar, so that the wild, irrational motions of the soul become formal and creative. It literally keeps one from falling on one’s face.”
I consider this to be a good word as we stand at the beginning of a new year.