Leftovers

What do you not have enough of?    If you had enough, how much would that be?

When I was a working parent with young children I didn’t have enough sleep or time for myself.  I dreamt of being able to crawl into bed at 7pm and not worry about the dishes, the laundry and the bedtime routines.  At times I would lock myself in my bathroom and call it my “mommy time-out” just to get a few minutes by myself.  Now, that my children are older, I wish I had more time with them.

Then there is the issue of money.  I live in a well-to-do suburb in a beautiful home with overflowing closets and a stocked pantry, but I continue to wish for more.  Not because I need more, but because I have been shaped by a consumer culture that implicitly reminds me that I am not enough until I have more. I feel at times that I am held hostage by the lie that there is not enough of anything to go around, and it is my job to squirrel away as much as possible to ensure the security of my family.

But truly, is this what life is all about? Continue reading Leftovers

YOLO BABY!

About a year ago I was referred to a physical therapist for some right leg and hip pain. Basically the therapist told me that my right leg and hip area had fallen asleep and had lost much of its muscle capacity. I was dumbfounded since I had just finished my first sprint triathlon.

How could I have trained hard for 6 months with my right leg muscles asleep? The therapist told me that this is actually a common occurrence with many people who run. They don’t even know it until the pain sets in. So she set me on a path of healing through a series of exercises that got progressively more difficult with every week of therapy. I still do those exercises every time I run because I surely don’t want my leg muscles to fall asleep again!

As I was running the other day I thought about other places in my life where I have fallen asleep. You know what I am talking about — living my life on auto pilot. A day turns into a week that turns into a month and so on. Let’s face it, how many opportunities do we take throughout the week to intentionally wake up to life in all its glory — the good, the bad and the ugly? Continue reading YOLO BABY!

What is a House Church?

About 6 years ago two families who had been members of one of the churches that I had served as a pastor asked me to meet with them because their teenagers no longer wanted to attend church.  The parents, however, wanted to raise their children in the Christian faith and did not want to do it alone.

When I met with the families I asked each one to share how they connected with Spirit/God/ the Holy, and each one of them had different answers.  Here are some that I remember.

  • “I connect with God when I walk in the woods.”
  • “For me it is when I am making music.”
  • “I feel connected when I cook a meal and share it with others.”
  • “I like helping other people and feel like I am a part of something bigger when I volunteer.”
  • “I connect to God when I watch a movie that expands my vision.”
  • “I like to study scripture and talk about it.”
  • “I feel connected when I do yoga and meditate.”
  • “Reading poetry helps me to pause and know that I am connected to beauty and that for me is spirit.”

After listening to each other, we decided to experiment with a way of being a community of faith that honored all of these ways of connecting to God. We knew we wanted to learn more about God through sharing our passion for, and way of being with, the Holy.  Each one of us committed to take turns leading the group once a month.  I played the role of resource and support person so each leader did not feel alone as they planned an experience that helped us awaken to Grace.

Here are some of the things we have experienced together.

  • Hiked in Forest Park in the Fall while contemplating life transitions through poetry readings and walking meditation.
  • Cooked a meal together and talked about life. “Garlic and onions can be strong and bitter, but when sautéed  become soft and sweet.  What are some times in your life where your bitter moments have softened and become sweet with time?”
  • Volunteered at the local food bank and at a shelter for homeless teenagers.
  • Listened to our heart’s desire through guided meditation and then made vision boards  for the new year.
  • Watched movies and talked about them.
  • Celebrated Christ’s birth through sharing good food, reading the Christmas story, lighting the Advent candles and singing carols.
  • Studied the Bible together

Some folks might say, that’s not church.  But I beg to differ.  Churches in the New Testament were often small gatherings that met in homes and remained rather simple until the emperor Constantine changed Christianity from a persecuted movement to being the religion of the Roman empire.

For me, church in the best sense embraces 3 movements:

  • Connecting to each other
  • Connecting to God
  • Connecting to the larger community

The gift of being in a small community is that each group can flesh out how those movements get expressed in ways that are meaningful and appropriate to them.

Our house church was such a gift to all the families involved, helping to shape and form us in the ways of Christ.  Now many of those teenagers are in college and it is time to share the gift of that experience with others.

This is my call and passion — to help form communities that can grow together in the ways of love and peace one house church at a time. Will you join me?