Tag Archives: Community

A List to Live By

A fellow journeyer of life sent this to me and I loved it. Absolutely loved it. He was in a small town in Washington State named Troutlake. He said it was posted in a cafe in town. These are definitely some people I could get with!

In light of our recent economic crisis we’re all sharing in, it’s causing many of us to question life, our purpose and what really matters in life. Things like money, work, consumer goods, and fancy cars are being replaced with things like sharing, gardening, volunteering and community. Maybe crisis really is our friend afterall?

Nevertheless, I want to aspire to live by more of these. I need things like this to remind me of a direction and to keep me from just thinking about myself all the time. I think this is amazing and totally fitting in my world today.

My favorites are:

Learn from new and uncomfortable angles, Garden Together and Play Together.

The one I want to move most toward is “leave your house know your neighbors.”

Check out the list – what are your favorites? How is your life moving toward these?



Filed under Communities

Life Together

I’m hard-pressed to find story better than that of “Team Hoyt.” It’s not a new video, but it’s worth watching again and again.

I complain. I wish for better. I ask for change. And I look for more.

Then…I watch.

I watch the story of Team Hoyt and it all goes away. All my wants and desires leave and I become present, in the moment…complete.

What I appreciate about this video is how it brings life back into perspective, when it so easily gets away from us.

The story is one of a journey of life together. Our culture breeds individualism. We’re continually being separated from nature and one another. Life is so much more rich lived out together, but so much around us aids us to self-protect. Self-protection may be at the very core to all that separates.

I have a great friend that said, “I want to become less dependent on institutions and become more dependent on people.” I thought that was beautiful.

And I couldn’t agree more.

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Filed under Communities, Culture

Is Theology Important?

I think its important for us to realize that Theology and Doctrine are not the same thing.  With most of us having departed from the institutional church, it’s easy to have a slight fear to reluctancy to use some words or terms – and I think Theology is one of them.  The word seems so scholarly, so rigid, so pedantic, it seems maybe “unpractical” and maybe meant to be discussed exclusively by clergy or at least intellectuals.  And I don’t think those could be more wrong.  I do however think it’s completely normal for us to feel this way about the word – but also be good to become comfortable with the word again.  To me, Theology simply means – “thoughts on God.”  That’s it?  That’s it.  It’s your thoughts on God.  And the cool thing is, we all have them – even if we think we do or not.  We all have our thoughts and opinions on God based on the things we’ve been taught and the experiences we’ve had or not had.  Everything we’re taught and every experience shapes our “thoughts on God.”  “I believe God is a loving God because he rescued me from a horrible time in my life.”  Or, “I think God is an unloving God because he didn’t rescue me from a horrible time in my life.”  So, since we all realize we all have a Theology – it hopefully will become easier and more comfortable to share it with each other.  Most importantly – we need to realize: our different Theology doesn’t mean one of us is right and one of us is wrong.  We can’t be afraid to share with each other in fear that my thoughts don’t match up with your thoughts.  They’re just thoughts – you don’t have to cling on to them or be afraid of them.

For me, I’m realizing how valuable it is to write them down.  I think we tend to gloss over some of our thoughts or beliefs about God without REALLY thinking about what that means or why we think that way.  How many of you would be comfortable answering this question in front of the group: What does it mean to you that “we meet under the headship of Jesus Christ?”  How comfortable to would you be to answer that right now?  I think most of us would agree to that statement, but I don’t know how many would be comfortable answering it.  So, I think writing it down – makes you ACTUALLY think about what you think about.  You can’t just skip over a thought if you actually have to write it down.  It’s so easy to skip over thoughts and think – “well, I just know what that means…”

And for me – writing isn’t easy.  It’s not easy and I don’t like it.  But – I think there is value for us all to stretch ourselves and be able to write out our thoughts on God or Core Values.  I think it’s easy to maybe just fall on just believing what my husband believes or what this or that brother believes.  How incredible would it be for somebody to sit down to write down their core values …and really not know what to write down.  How exciting is that??  I think both – scary and exciting actually.  And that’s okay.  Normal and okay.  The greatest thing about seeing what everyone’s Theology and Core Values are…is that it will effect and shape my Theology.   This Christian life indeed continues to be a shared One…how incredible is that?

As far as Doctrine goes: Doctrine and Core Values could defined as being similar – both meaning “beliefs or positions.”  But the difference – and it’s a biggie – is that doctrine refers to a “principle of law.”  And I don’t believe this exercise that we’re doing has anything to do with Doctrine or putting law into effect.  There’s a huge difference between a belief you have versus a law that is mandatory.  One you self protect and the other you don’t.  One breeds Life and the other one breeds death.

So, let’s realize that we’re doing this exercise to find our Lord in together and not to find reasons to split or disagree.  Not meeting together because our beliefs are a little different from each has been done before…again…and again….and again.  We don’t all believe the exact same thing…hey, maybe that could be one of our core values… 🙂  Also, it’s important that visitors know what we believe.  We can’t depend on “personal one-one-one’s” to accomplish this everytime we have a visitor.  So – knowing what we believe is two fold!!  For us AND for visitors.

I’ll end with this:

We have to be okay with being wrong.  We have to be okay with not knowing everything.  We have to be okay with realizing that we don’t have God figured out.  We have to be okay with the fact that our “core values” may look different a week after we write them down.  We have to be okay with our Theologies looking different after talking with a fellow Brother or Sister.  And just because you write something down – doesn’t mean it’s right or wrong.  It just means that it was for you at that moment in time.  It is okay to be wrong.  Let’s agree that we’re going to look back on our lives five years from now and realize that we missed the boat on some things…and be okay with that.

It’s not about right or wrong – it’s about Christ.  And it’s about what it means “to be about Christ.”  It’s about God telling His story and us getting to be a part of it.  It’s about His life being lived out in each one of us while living in the tension between two realms.

Life could not be more exciting.


Filed under Theology

My life is being turned upside down…

I recently had lunch with Steve Kimes, pastor at Anawim Christian Community.  Anawim is Hebrew meaning “the poor people who are going to be blessed because they depend on God.”  They’re a community church of the homeless and mentally ill (not one of popular demographics for American Christians to hang out with).  To clarify – I don’t mean they give annual donations to the mentally ill…and I don’t mean they visit the homeless once a month…I mean they actually are a community made up of the homeless and mentally ill. They actually are homeless and mentally ill. What’s amazing is Steve Kimes looked for churches that would welcome these people – and he realized they’re…well, not really welcome.

Not welcome?  Not welcome at church?  Not really surprising I guess.  People without homes and unstable mental capabilities don’t really work in our “contemporary” church services.  Branding and service-flow has become so important – the truly needy don’t really fit in.

So Steve decided to create a church for and made up of the homeless and mentally ill.  The sad part he says…nobody else really comes.  I’m not sure what’s a bigger tragedy, the fact that nobody “normal” belongs to their community or the fact that the needy aren’t welcome anywhere else?

I went to lunch with Steve because my world’s being turned upside down.  His entire life looked different than mine.  I’ve been a “Christian” since I was 14…but my life really hasn’t looked that different than most everyone else’s.  Why is it that Jesus’ life look enormously different than the worlds…but modern (American) Christians lives really don’t?  Things aren’t adding up.  I’m too comfortable.  American Christianity is too easy – at least what I’ve known as Christianity.  A great test that I’ve recently asked myself is “If you turned the sound of your life off, would it look any different than everybody else’s?”  It’s the answer to this question that is causing my life to be turned upside down. 

Christ called us to be set apart from the world.  Not just on the inside…but on the outside too.  Every part of Christ’s life confounded everyone around Him.  His life looked extremely different than the worlds.  Why do we think our lives should be any different?   If my insides (spirit) has been transformed…how can it not effect my outside?

The Tension:  The inward must effect the outward.  You cannot have one without the other.


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Filed under Communities