Thursday, December 28, 2006

christmas eve pics

the samson's hosted us for the communality christmas eve gathering. here are some of the pics i snapped (you can see some more by clicking on any of the images.)

communality advent wreath




Miller-Maze Meetup

There will be a meetup for Jonathan Miller and Irv Maze this Friday at their Lexington HQ. Jonathan is a Democratic candidate for Governor and the author of perhaps the best book on faith and politics in some time, The Compassionate Community.

I would recommend dropping by if you can. I have met Jonathan and, while I am not prepared to endorse him yet, I think very highly of him. Just like our involvement in council races in 2006, this is another great chance for our community to connect our future and the future of our area together.

Here are the details:

Date: Friday, December 29th
Time: 4:00-6:00 PM
Place: 575 West Main St., Lexington, KY 40507

Here is a googlemap, in case you need directions. The HQ is right across the street from the Mary Todd Lincoln House.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

nourishment from Leunig

michael leunig is a regular source of poetic comfort and challenge to me. here are a couple of prayers from him for this season.

Dear God, it is timely that we give thanks for the lives of all prophets, teachers, healers and revolutionaries, living and dead, acclaimed or obscure, who have rebelled, worked and suffered for the cause of love and joy.
We also celebrate that part of us, that part within ourselves, which has rebelled, worked and suffered for the cause of love and joy.
We give thanks and we celebrate.

Love is born
With a dark and troubled face
When hope is dead
And in the most unlikely place
Love is born:
Love is always born.

Monday, December 18, 2006

JCLF...In a Manger?

Last night, JCLF all came together out at Eloheh village so as to experience part of the Christmas story in an entirely different way. As we all arrived, we piled into the house and prepared to see what Mary, Joseph, and baby (8lbs 7oz) Jesus might have experienced amongst the animals, hay, and nice April evening air. Piling out of the house, one could see the familiar Eloheh Village sitings - chickens, cats, those two huge white dogs, sheep, Little Dot, and of course, the goats, for it was into their home that we would go and read Scripture and experience what a manger may have really been like. To tell you the truth, I was a little more caught up in the goats, the smell of hay and goat poop, and this little baby goat named Chocolate than I was in the actual reading of Scripture, but instead of hearing the Scripture, I felt like I was experiencing it. I mean, really, the smells, the goats nudging us and trying to get attention (they probably thought we were there to feed to them), and imagining infant Jesus laying in a manger. I had never thought of this before, but if Jesus was laying in a type of animal trough, do you realize that he was at the same height as the "waste escape mechanism" of the animals? Yeah, I know that's gross, but it kind of brings the whole story (that I heard over and over and nauseum...growing up) that much closer to reality. Like Greg said, "When you can see it, smell it, and touch it, it really kind of brings it home." So, thanks Randy, Edith, Skye, Young, and Redbird for letting us come out and experience the nativity in an entirely different way!!

Advent: Conceiving

Various individuals within our community help us to conceive of the transformation which Advent brings. These folks infuse our community with the imagination of the divine, and help us to bring the "just within reach" Kingdom of God into contact with our grasping fingertips.

Here on this blog, Dan Lowe has brought us several word-images in recent months which give creative expression to some of the complexities of the Kingdom breaking through the seemingly forsaken spaces.

In the traditional church (a context in which many of us have lost all imagination of hope), we look to John and Katheryn as they continue to draw out urban-missional engagement through their lives of service.

I also think of Todd Paul's eagerness to tackle nearly any endeavour, using God-given talents (and sometimes some brash entreprenuerism!) to jump into anything from economics to roofing.

Advent calls us to such imaginitive conceptions.

(Read on...)Central to the themes of the Gospel is our willingness to faithfully stand where we would not have set foot apart from the leading of God's Spirit. The Scriptures resound with the tales of God's people enfleshing the dreams of God, persistantly holding fast to the inbreaking reality of God's goodness.... precisely in the midst of injustice and injury. It is just this kind of faith-filled imagination which prepares the way for the Kingdom.

From the sights and sounds and spirituality of the city, to the pulse of the church's lifeblood of ministry, to the million-and-one odd jobs which make up our days.... we call one another into the conceptulization of realities of redemption.

Take some time to peruse last year's reflection, and put some flesh on your own Spirit-embedded imagination.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

carols and chili at the Brown's

a great night at the Brown's for the 4th annual carolling and chili cook-off.
click on the photo or here to see more pics.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Advent: Being Patient

Be patient, be patient,
    don't be in such a hurry;
When you get impatient -
    you only start to worry.

Remember, remember,
    that God is patient, too;
And think of all the times
    when others have to wait for you!

So reverberates the song from my childhood.... but what happens when that patience stretches to Peter's analogy and a thousand years is like a day? The waiting for the redemption of advent is anything but easy.

(Read on)In reflecting on patience, several folks within our community come to mind. Ask Greg and (especially!) Mary about the waiting process which lies behind the work of a Ph.D. and energy and efforts within a fledgeling faith community. Speak with Sherry and hear of the waiting process of growth within the soil of a garden, as well as of the kingdom imagery and work which this evokes. Share with Robbie and Melissa in the recent birth of thier child, or with Jodie in her present expectancy, and discover a theme of waiting with which our community has been well familiarized of late.

The Kingdom is coming, and the Kingdom is right at hand.... and yet, even in the glimpses of it, we wait expectantly for it. We particiapte in the waiting with each other as we encourage one another in patience and perserverance.

Take a look at last year's reflections, and pass along the patient yet active expectation.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

serve god, save the planet

last night a group of us had the great pleasure of eating with matthew and nancy sleeth. you might remember this post about matthew's book, "Serve God, Save the Planet" - it is a brilliant call to action for Christians to practice love for God's creation by living sustainably.

anyway, back to dinner last night. greg and mary set up a beautiful table in the 'dining room' of the High St House. we had a wonderful meal and heard about the journey the sleeth's have been on. i was deeply moved and inspired to hear their radical choices to practice what they are now preaching. the sleeths are truly authentic witnesses to living justly. they are also delightful people and we experienced that particular joy of meeting strangers who turn out ot be kindred spirits. we are thrilled they now live locally and we recognize we have much to learn from them as we seek the welfare of our city, state, nation, and planet. we (communality peeps) also spent some time sharing about our various experiences with local environmental organizations...we shared about mountain top removal, justice groups, and city initiatives to make Lexington 'green.' (also...see the local newspaper article here)

hopefully we can all continue to help our local christian family find the language and motivation to become involved in living out the good news of jesus in relation to the environment. if you live locally and have some influence at your church we would encourage you to have dr. sleeth come and speak. please contact me or follow this link to directly connect with the sleeths.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

isaiah's advent prayer

sherry, maria, mary, and lisa have taken off to chicago this weekend for the school for conversion . so isaac and i are having a lads weekend which means plenty of loud music (at breakfast time!)...we share a love for johnny cash and u2 and isaac's favorite track right now is "the saints are coming" (a u2/greenday collaboration). my favorite tune (for this week) is the new u2 single, "window in the skies." it is a great advent/christmas tune - see the lyrics here.
at this time of the year i love to read Isaiah and get excited (along with the writer) about another possible world. so, this advent, i am praying with Isaiah:
"O that you would tear open the heavens and come down..." (64:1)

some good advice at 3rd st coffee


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Heavenly and Not-So Heavenly Host

In wilderness I am surrounded by company I cannot lay eye upon;
I am a living stone often with the feeling of being alone,
yet I am set near the corner somewhere
in a foundation that stretches farther than I can see.
The mortar of men is shattering and crumbling,
dust blows in the winds of revolution
and reformation whispers from places where being alone
is a dark reality.
Winds will blow and waters cover like a flood,
destroying modern marvels, and bursting ballooning levies;
though now it creeps and crawls as it turns,
the paradigm will shift; realities will crash,
yet the foundation will remain;
loneliness will then be a non-entity;
then I will be your priest and you will be mine and she will be his,
and we will all be surrounded by a company we can finally see.

Pregnant with God

spotted this beautiful quote over at Simon Holt's blog (it is a fantastic site for reflections about all things divine-in-the-ordinary).

"Standing at the threshold of another Advent we begin our season of growth and expectation - a time to secret ourselves with Mary, to join our hearts with hers, and to grow pregnant with God together. God invites us to a quiet place of reflection and bounty. This Advent, choose some time for silence. Make space within yourself to grow large with the abundance of God’s favor. Make this a time to fill your lungs deeply with God so that you can breathe Christ into the world."

Thomas Hoffman, A Child in Winter, Sheed & Ward, 2000.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Advent: Welcoming

Would you invite someone you met living on the downtown streets who was struggling with mental illness to become a part of your household? If you were that person drifting from place to place on those streets, would you give up your autonomy to link yourself to the lives of others, despite the personal costs involved?

Would you travel across state lines for the sake of embedding yourself into a community of faith, even if it meant transplanting a family and then sharing your new home with friends and strangers, both invited and uninvited? Would you be willing to be "dragged along" in such a move and to rediscover yourself in a new environment?

Would you be willing to head to the other side of the globe for the sake of service and ministry, crossing cultures to live out the message of the gospel? Would you be willing to "get real" enough with people even in that service to share your own woundedness and struggle?

Advent welcomes such change in our lives.

(read on)In reflecting on this week's theme of "Welcome", I think of folks like Billy and Maria and JFK, the Samson family, and Pete and Lori. The Welcome of Advent involves us taking our Awakening to the need of salvation and bringing the implications of that to a place of acceptance. The welcome of the change to which the coming of Messiah invites us is brought through the messy and painful process of repentance, and from it springs the willingness to allow the transformation which God works in us.

The divine welcome which is extended in the Incarnation is at once both affirming of our humanity and challenging in pressing us into Christlike imaging of it. As we are welcomed, so we are changed; and as we are changed, so we welcome others. I appreciate our community's challenge of "welcoming" beyond the boundaries of culture, race, gender, sexual orientation, and social status, and I'm thankful for the ways it has been imaged both by the folks mentioned above as well as others in our fellowship.

My encouragement then, is that we continue to welcome the transformation to which the gospel calls us.... and that we share that welcome with each other.

You can read some specific suggestions for reflective-actions at last year's post.

books. we love 'em

i jotted these notes a while back in an effort to justify my (our) love for books.

...because books are very important to us - they have become companions for the journey. these odd companions talk to us, pose difficult questions and even, occasionally, say something that changes our life (all)together.

we are determined to apply narrative theology to our life in communal-mission. this means becoming better story-tellers and better story-listeners. we read fiction and non-fiction with equal passion and anticipation for something real to leap out at us.

ultimately, we hope to share some of the realities with which we are confronted, afflicted, and comforted .

this is important. so is
this and