Thursday, February 26, 2009

ash wednesday

ash wed 09

last night maria led us in a beautiful ash wednesday gathering.  she had decorated the high st house in burlap and set a table (our alter is an old trunk previously used by a missionary to india) with ashes, candles, and tree debris from the ice storm.  the place around us was rich with symbolism as we followed a liturgy that reminded us of our mortality and our limits as god-made creatures.  we now embark on the wilderness walk of lent, offering up our fasting as a sign of our sincere desire to walk in the ways of Jesus.

ash wed 09

ash wed 09

Monday, February 23, 2009

divine normal

simon holt has a beautiful post at his blog.  i have clipped a quote he uses from kathleen morris.  truly inspiring.

"We want life to have meaning, we want fulfillment, healing and even ecstasy, but the human paradox is that we find these things by starting where we are, not where we wish we were.  We must look for blessings to come from unlikely, everyday places—out of Galilee, as it were—and not in spectacular events."

"I have come to believe that the true mystics of the quotidian [the commonplace] are not those who contemplate holiness in isolation, reaching godlike illumination in serene silence, but those who manage to find God in a life filled with noise, the demands of other people and relentless daily duties that can consume the self."

Friday, February 20, 2009

World Social Forum Presentation

Just wanted to post a quick reminder that this Sunday, February 22 we will be doing a presentation about our recent trip to the World Social Forum in Belem, Brazil at our weekly fellowship meeting. The meeting begins at 5pm at the High Street House (112 West High Street) and will be followed by our regular community meal at 6pm-dinner is provided. The presentation will include pictures, video, and oral presentation and discussion. Everyone is invited to attend and is welcome (even if you do not identify with the Christian faith perspective). I think that it will be a good opportunity to learn about and discuss issues relating to peace, justice and the environment on a global scale. Thanks......

Thursday, February 12, 2009

i love mountains day

this from Will Samson

Hey Everyone,
Just a reminder that next Tuesday is I Love Mountains Day. Mountaintop removal has destroyed at least 1,400 miles of streams in Kentucky alone. For this year's rally, KFTC is trying to get 1,400 people to Frankfort to create a visual demonstration of the enormity of this devastation.

It would be great if we could have some folks from our
community there. There will be great speakers, great music and a chance to play a small part in helping to get a stream saver bill passed in Kentucky.

For more information about the event, check this out:


Friday, February 06, 2009

more from mark sayers


mark has posted two excellent reflections over the last couple of days.  the most recent one picks up in a major theme in his book...the perpetual discontentment our culture fuels.  this ties in with the challenge of "belonging to a place" as a key discipline in missional-incarnational living.  one cannot simultaneously have the proper affection required for mission and entertain all the other options (a good analog for this is marriage).


the second most recent post is a brilliant riff on the problems associated with making an idol of missional community.  rather than summarize it here i'll just encourage you to read it....



Wednesday, February 04, 2009

the trouble with paris

just read this fantastic book from aussie missionary Mark Sayers.  Mark writes of our enslavement in 'hyperreality' where "everything has become shopping" (p.51).  as supershoppers we are always looking out for a better deal and end up unable and unwilling to commit - to relationships, homes, places, gods.  why commit when there might be a better deal around the corner?

Mark writes with a very gracious style.  he is never shrill or self righteous....easy ways to be when critiquing our consumer culture.  after identifying the tyranny of hyperreality Mark offers a way out.  the path towards God's reality is marked by honesty, commitment, missional spirituality, countercultural community, redemptive living, and, last but not least, Jesus.  in short, mark suggests that the remedy for the everyday distractions of hyperreality is an intentional care for everyday christian ethics.  these six keys form a matrix in which everyday faithfulness is possible and sustainable.

i recommend this book very highly as a creative and piercing description of the mess we have made with our faith in the west.  his brief discussion of folk religion should peak the interest of anyone interested in a missiology for pluralistic western cultures. 

i was delighted to find a copy of this book at the public will be returned and up for grabs as of tomorrow :)

on a side note, i have met mark a couple of times and heard him speak in australia on numerous occasions.  he is a most kind and passionate communicator and he is one of the sharpest missional thinkers going around at the moment...and best of all, his insights are drawn from and rooted in the streets and life of his city and community.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Arithmetic, Population and Energy

this is an amazing presentation.  highly recommended if you can download the podcast or listen/watch on your computer.  deals with the emerging energy and population crisis.  it is nearly 5 years old but more and more relevant.  wow.

click here

the long now - GB09

greenbelt has been a kind of mecca for me since my first visit as a chubby australian country kid of just 12 (1986).  the people that have cultivated greenbelt over the years repeatedly come up with the most beautiful and timely art and ideas.  the theme for greenbelt 09 is no exception.

see this wonderful, short piece of writing from festival trustee martin wroe.

here's a taster:

'The Long Now'. The phrase was coined by the musician, producer and all-round interesting thinker Brian Eno.  And a good way to capture what it alludes to is with a legend about the C14th founders of New College, Oxford. The story goes that the dining hall of New College was built with a series of huge oak beams. About half a millennium later, at the end of the C19th,  the beams needed replacing. Being a wealthy institution the College owned some land and wondered if there were any oak trees on it. 'Ah...' said one of the tenants who farmed their land, 'We wondered when you'd be in touch.'

Turned out the farmers had a tradition that back in the C14th a new grove of oaks had been planted to make up for those cut down to provide the dining hall beams. The story was passed through the generations, one farmer to another: these oaks were protected, set aside for New College. Through the generations, the farmers were waiting, for century after century. For half a millennia.

Monday, February 02, 2009

World Social Forum Update

I just wanted to give everyone back home an update about our time at the World Social Forum in Belem, Brazil. The Forum Social Mundial concluded yesterday and Greg and I will be leaving for Manaus today where we will be until Wednesday due to complications with our airline itinerary. Anyhow, we had a productive time at the forum and have a lot to process about the things that we've experienced over the last six days. Though painfully disorganized at points and hard in many respects to access, the forum has (ultimately) proved to be a great opportunity to learn more about what is happening in Latin America and the wider world. And, most importantly, it has been a good opportunity to meet new people and network with other groups. I must confess that it has been disheartening to see how the media's attention has been riveted upon the World Economic Forum in Davos with very little popular attention paid to the WSF (more on that later). It is clear that no one group at the moment has any clear cut answers to the current global crisis. Our time here at the forum, and our concomitant following of events at Davos, has provided further confirmation of that fact. However, there are droves of people with great passion and vision, in all the various centers of global society, who have much to contribute, much to share. This is why constructive dialogue is so necessary, so desperately needed at this time. This is a problem of global proportions and it is going to take a response of global proportions to begin to address it. In that vein our time here has given us a lot of hope for the potential of the global Christian movement (the largest single community in the world) to play its part in this process. This invovlement is what we're eager to continue pursuing with other Christians and people of faith and conscience around the world. I will end this brief update by saying that the greatest revelation for me has been the relationship that Greg and I have been building with our interpreter/guide Diego. We have spent an intensive amount of time with him over the last week and in that time have grown to really love each other and share a lot of hopes, questions, and laughs. It will be very difficult to leave him today. Diego has shared with us that he thinks this week has been one of the most significant weeks of his life; and I would say that our time with him has been a similar experience for me. So, I would end by saying that, as always, the last, greatest and only hope for this world and for the work of God is people sharing with each other, learning how to love and embrace the common identity and purpose that is our birthright as human beings made in the image of the community that is God. Look forward to seeing all of you soon......oum otro mundo es possivil....another world is possible!