Friday, April 30, 2010

gardening and god

a wonderful post from christine sine.


…and here’s a taste:

Is This a Move of God?

Saturday I facilitated a Spirituality of Gardening seminar at the Mustard Seed House.  A small but extremely enthusiastic group gathered to discuss basics of organic gardening and how we encounter God in the garden.  Towards the end of the day we talked about the current move towards faith based community gardens that are springing up literally all over the world as churches discover they can not only produce food for their congregations but also help feed those at the margins.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

christian community

jonathan talks about community in this 5min WOTP video…i’m honored to have my photos incorporated into this piece so if your a communality peep look out for your shining face.

Christian Community w/Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrve from The Work Of The People on Vimeo.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

From hostility to hospitality

In the light of Geoff's post from yesterday, and the boiling controversy over immigration in America, I thought I would share yet another thought from Henri Nouwen's "Reaching Out." This book is really helping me to better understand the path we've been upon in this community for many years, as well as helping illumine the tougher (and more glorious) path that lie ahead. Throughout the book I have continued to be reminded of Jesus' cosmically perplexing words on the cross, "'Father, forgive these people, because they don't know what they are doing.' And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice (Luke 23:34)." Why did Jesus say such a thing? I continue to contemplate these words as I wrestle with what it means to live a "spiritual life," and as the governments of our world (with our proxy, whether it be explicit or implicit) place their "bets" and "gamble" with human lives with the decisions they make and the policies they employ. Here are Nouwen's words (written in 1975):

"The first characteristic of the spiritual life is the continuing movement from loneliness to solitude. Its second equally important characteristic is the movement by which our hostilities can be converted into hospitality. It is there that our changing relationship to ourself can be brought to fruition in an ever-changing relationship to our fellow human beings. It is there that our reaching out to our innnermost being can lead to a reaching out to the many strangers whom we meet on our way through life. In our world full of strangers, estranged from their own past, culture and country, from their neighbors, friends and family, from their deepest self and their God, we witness a painful search for a hospitable place where life can be lived without fear and where community can be found. Although many, we might even say most, strangers in this world become easily the victim of a fearful hostility, it is possible for men and women and obligatory for Christians to offer an open and hospitable space where strangers can cast off their strangeness and become our fellow human beings. The movement from hostility to hospitality is hard and full of difficulties. Our society seems to be increasingly full of fearful, defensive, aggressive people anxiously clinging to their property and inclined to look at their surrounding world with suspicion, always expecting an enemy to suddenly appear, intrude and do harm. But still-that is our vocation: to convert the hostis into a hospes, the enemy into a guest and to create the free and fearless space where brotherhood and sisterhood can be formed and fully experienced (p.65)."

a half-born condition

if i’m reading something other than fiction, it is usually because geoff has convinced me with a fair amount of cajoling that a book is worth my time.  i didn’t need any form of convincing to start into jonathan wilson-hartgrove’s new book “the wisdom of stability.”

just from the first chapter alone, i feel like his gentle words (which read just like the sound of the slow drawl of his southern accent) resonate with a place in me that is still unresolved yet full of hope about the stability that can come from life in community.  in one passage, jonathan quotes a saint of christian community, clarence jordan of the interracial community called koinonia farm in my home state of georgia.  about the rising and falling tides of their life together, jordan claims, “this is what always baffles me.  koinonia is forever dying and forever living.  we should have conked out long ago, but somehow others came in the nick of time.  this half-born condition is agonizing, and i could wish it otherwise, but there it is.”


jonathan goes on to reflect, “stability in community is always a half-born condition.  we are suspended between heaven and earth on a ladder that promises communion with god but is also planted firmly on the ground…stability is a commitment to trust god not in an ideal world, but in the battered and bruised world we know.  if real life with god can happen anywhere at all, then it can happen here among the people whose troubles are already evident to us…community is always a risk.  we cannot know beforehand who will stay and who will leave.  but each decision to stay – every prayer lifted up from our half-born condition – can be seen as an act of faith that our god will give us what we need, as clarence jordan said, ‘in the nick of time.’”

while reading this, i couldn’t help but recall the rich and mysterious observations of wendell berry in his “unsettling of america” in which he depicts this same kind of half-born condition from the lens of the condition of soil, “if healthy soil is full of death it is also full of life…nothing that dies is dead for very long. within this powerful economy, it seems that death occurs only for the good of life.”  these things seep in slowly for me and help recast my sense of the last decade of life in this place with these people of communality, those still here, those long gone.  i certainly receive the paradox and greyness of it all far better than a few years ago.  i’m glad jonathan’s book about stability will give company, comfort and weight to this journey.


Monday, April 26, 2010

the stranger

there is a storm brewing out west. recent legislation adopted by AZ threatens to unearth our fear and hate a scape-goating inclinations.  while the law of the land is important we are always challenged to affirm our ultimate obligation to the reign of God.  our story tells us (without qualification)

“when an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien.  The alien who resides with you shall be ot you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I an the Lord you God.” (my emphasis…Leviticus 19:33-34).

i know it is a complicated issue and i know there are qualifications to be made but this passage (and many like it) must be our touchstone…along with careful reflection on the way Jesus positioned himself in the public sphere where stones were cupped in white-knuckled hands.

this group is doing some good work to help frame a christian response…check it out.  they say:

· We believe all people, regardless of national origin or citizenship status, are made in the "image of God" and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect (Genesis 1:26-27, 9:6).

· We believe there is an undeniable responsibility to love and show compassion for the stranger among us (Deuteronomy 10:18-19, Leviticus 19:33-34, Matthew 25:31-46).

· We believe that immigrants are our neighbors, both literally and figuratively, and we are to love our neighbors as ourselves and show mercy to neighbors in need (Leviticus 19:18, Mark 12:31, Luke 10:25-37).

· We believe in the rule of law, but we also believe that we are to oppose unjust laws and systems that harm and oppress people made in God's image, especially the vulnerable (Isaiah 10:1-4, Jeremiah 7:1-7, Acts 5:29, Romans 13:1-7).

We recognize that the current U.S. immigration system is broken and reform is necessary.

The biblical princples above compel us to support immigration reform legislation that includes the following elements:

· Enforcement initiatives that are consistent with humanitarian values;

· Reforms in our family-based immigration system that reduce waiting times for separated families to be reunited;

· A process for all immigrant workers and their families already in the U.S. to earn citizenship upon satisfaction of specific criteria;

· An expansion of legal avenues for workers and families to enter our country and work in a safe and legal manner with their rights and due process fully protected;

· Examining solutions to address the root causes of migration, such as economic disparities between sending and receiving nations.

Friday, April 23, 2010


our friends, the samsons, have opened their tea shop. a beautiful downtown space with delicious tea (and coffee and scones, etc.).  i can highly recommend the earl grey with vanilla.  finally, a place where you can get (as my mum would say) a “proper cuppa”.

check them out:


From Loneliness to Solitude

I've been enjoying a great book recommended to me by a friend of Maria's named India. India came to our School for Conversion in February, and during a "side" conversation shared a thought from Henri Nouwen's book "Reaching Out" that has become one of the most timely and important things anyone has shared with me in a long time. I wanted to share a selection from the first part of the book entitled, "The First Movement (of the spiritual life): From Loneliness to Solitude."

"As his life grew in spiritual maturity, Merton came to see with penetrating clarity that solitude did not separate him from his contemporaries but instead brought him into a deep communion with them....He writes:

...'though "out of the world" we (monks) are in the same world as everybody else, the world of the bomb, the world of race hatred, the world of technology, the world of mass media, big business, revolution, and all the rest. We take a different attitude to all these things, for we belong to God. Yet so does everybody else belong to God.....This sense of liberation from an illusory difference was such a relief and such a joy to me that I almost laughed out loud. And I suppose my happiness could have taken form in these words: "Thank God, thank God that I AM like other men, that I am only a man among others."....It is a glorious destiny to be a member of the human race, though it is a race dedicated to many absurdities and one which makes many terrrible mistakes: yet with all that, God Himself glorified in becoming a member of the human race!....I have the immense joy of being man, a member of a race in which God Himself became incarnate......My solitude, however, is not my own, for I see now how much it belongs to them (to others)-and that I have a responsibility for it in their regard, not just my own. It is because I am one with them that I owe it to them to be alone, and when I am alone, they are not "they" but my own self. There are not strangers!"

His own personal experience taught Merton that solitude not only deepens our affection for others but also is the place where real community becomes possible....Without the solitude of heart, the intimacy of friendship, marriage and community life cannot be creative. Without the solitude of heart, our relationships with others easily become needy and greedy, sticky and clinging, dependent and sentimental, exploitative and parasitic, because without the solitude of heart we cannot experience the others as different from ourselves but only as people who can be used for the fulfillment of our own, often hidden, needs.....The mystery of love is that it protects and respects the aloneness of the other and creates the free space where he can convert his loneliness into a solitude that can be shared."

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bryan Moyer Suderman concert

check out bryan’s music here

great concert tonight at the high st house….





see more pics here

Monday, April 19, 2010

new creation!

a beautiful time to read the book of creation and remember that all things are being made new…as tom wright says, the new heaven and the new earth interlock and overlap…we can see evidence of this all around just now.

raven's run school trip

raven's run school trip

gratz park flowers

gratz park flowers

now what lexington?

it was a full weekend for some communality peeps….on saturday the Campus Community Partnerships for Sustainability Conference happened at BCTC as well as the creative cities gig follow-up downtown: now what lexington? put on by progresslex.  i wandered into one discussion to discover our very own dustin, david, jodie, and sherry scheming with a room full of other active and engaged citizens.


now what lexington unconference

now what lexington unconference

now what lexington unconference

Tuesday, April 13, 2010