from Rev. Robin Bartlett:
We know its our job to destroy hells so that we can help make a world worthy of our kids’ promise. But that job is hard, friends. It’s hard…
…Hell is all around us; even, I suspect, in the Metrowest suburbs of Massachusetts. Hell is in our separation from one another, our loneliness and isolation, our fear of losing our houses and jobs in the economic downturn, our credit card debt, our panic, our drug addictions, our shame, our secret alcoholism, our secret domestic violence, our SECRETS IN GENERAL, our cancer diagnoses, our mental illnesses, our need to consume, to buy more, to one-up and keep up with the Joneses. Hell is in our depression and our inauthentic relationships with the people we are trying so hard to impress. Hell is in our lack of trust of our neighbors; the way we cover up the bad things. Hell is here, and we live in it.
From Lori Stone Sirtosky:
I was asked to sit at a table and “be the church” in the neighborhood. I was given some money and food/clothing vouchers and a page full of guidelines and rules. The church ran a homeless shelter, but the shelter also had many rules and guidelines I was supposed to follow. My guidelines instructed that no family could stay in the shelter for more than 2 weeks. There were limitations on the amount of money I was supposed to give to any individual, and I was supposed to document in a ledger all the referrals to other agencies I made. …
We began by brainstorming the things we wanted to talk about. Patterns emerged, and from them, we were able to come up with break-out sessions where people interested in those topics could talk and share ideas. Notes:
Community as organizing tool
The HOW of sharing gifts
Build community with integrity
Relate to multigen
Also, uplifting the communities already present
Honor history + momentum
Gaps – Good idea/no participation + participation unwilling for new ideas
Spiritual practice to sustain mission
Big Mission – 3 Rs: relocation, redistribution, reconciliation – a Wabisabi kingdom
Living in intentional community
Networking as sustenance
Integrity within differences
Listening to difference with humility and compassion
Culture shift – missional in attractional. Influence. Both/and
The Church v A Church
Discernment – What is my/our mission and why? What about doubt/uncertainty/faith?
How? Now that I know the direction, resources, techniques, funding, etc.
Relationship – w/communities I serve, serve with; maintaining integrity of missional group, all gens. What about relationship when we are different?
Sustenance – spiritual practice, networking with other servants, types of fuel.
Institutional – tensions between past/future and stasis/momentum.
Meta-Mission – philosophy, theory, abstract ideas, theology
Black = forward energy
Integrity of process
Worthiness of service/servant
Yes. And ….
Process of co-creation
Trust/Acceptance of self
Ancestors – Humiliati
Growing in self-awareness
Stay on the path. Collect Communitas
KISS – Keep it Simple & Silly
You have a Tribe (PLAY!)
We amplify each other.
Red = Blocks
Wearing many hats/limited
Recall we are all human
Forget to listen.
Struggle to be who we claim
Let us go out ….
… and light up the dark
… bring joy to each heart
…. with indifference destroyed
… with joy!
This is the experience of our first Life On Fire Unconference, held in Oak Ridge, TN in September. We hope this story encourages you to continue to live *your* life according to your deepest faith, values, or inspirations, and challenge others to do so.
“The Church With Heart has a heart full of love for not only its members, but for the people outside its doors. Because this is what Unitarian Universalism is all about — it’s about having faith that love is infinite, undying, and there’s plenty to go around for all of us, so we need to love one another within the church, and then take that love outside the church because Lazarus is right outside our gate, starving for our crumbs, and even our crumbs are valuable because the Lazaruses outside our gate are starving for acceptance, for nourishing food for their minds and souls, for a listening ear, for relationship, for purpose.”
A defining characteristic of a church with a mission is that it adopts change as a spiritual practice. Congregations on a mission, that develop the communitas I discussed in my last post, understand themselves to be on a journey of faith together that by its nature implies risk and uncertainty. Instead of fearing this risk and uncertainty, missional congregations see it as the natural terrain for serving the needs of the world. Because missional communities adopt change as a spiritual practice, another benefit of the missional shift is the creation of a community with give, flexibility, and the ability to bounce back. Communitas is resilient. A spiritual practice is something done with depth, regularity and intentionality. When we understand that constant change, at least gradual constant change, is the spiritual playing field, we approach the challenges of change – such as dealing with loss and the sense of insecurity as well as new opportunities for growth and learning – as a deep, intentional, regular practice of what life in a faith community is all about. Developing change as a spiritual practice helps us bounce back when conflict or difficulties arise. Change as spiritual practice makes us resilient.
Red Pill Brethren Revs. Tony Lorenzen, Joanna Fontaine Crawford, Jake Morrill and Eric Posa explain missionalism and how you can love the hell out of the world at UU General Assembly 2013 in Louisville, KY.
(rough video - we often walk out of the shot, but I think you can hear us throughout.)