Have you begun your Christmas shopping? I didn’t think so but I have an idea and I think it might work for you as well.
Joe and I have been trying to get away from the cultural Christmas for a long time
and we were experiencing some success until Will was born. Will is our oldest grandson who turned three in March. His cousin Noah is two and his little brother Sam will be one by Christmas. It has sparked a return to “Toys R Us” for Grams and Granddaddy along with a trip
to “Gap for Kids” and we find ourselves back in the game. And to be honest, we’ll probably do a bit of shopping at both stores in mid-December
but for the BIG gift for our grandchildren this year we are going to attend the
November conference LTM is sponsoring along with The Center for Action and Contemplation.
The title for the Friday (November 13th) conference is “The Emerging Church.” While I’m not sure anyone knows exactly what that means many of us are in conversation
with others trying to figure it out. The Holy Spirit is, as usual, out ahead of us on this one. But the tag or the by-line we used is a piece I do understand. “Something fresh and dynamic is emerging in the Christian community.” I not only identify with that, I am thrilled about it! From my position as a pastor’s wife in a mainline denomination I am clear that for
the sake of my children and certainly for my grandchildren something “fresh and
dynamic” is essential.
Recently I had the opportunity to speak to a group of spiritual directors, many of
whom had not ever heard me teach before. Early in the day I was trying to tell them something about who I am and I used an
old line that somewhat defined a part of me in the past, only to discover that
it doesn’t work anymore. “For those of you who don’t know me at all” I said, “I would describe myself as a
liberal-conservative.” Then I paused and said, “Wait a minute, I don’t even know what that means!” God has given me so much to read and think about in the past couple of years I was
caught in my own introduction and realized that previous descriptions of who
I am and how I think no longer fit.
Our advertising brochure states, “Across racial, denominational and generational
Emerging Church defies old labels like liberal and conservative.” I’m thankful for that because to tell you the truth I don’t really understand what
a liberal-conservative is anyway. What I do know is that this spontaneous coming together of God’s people that is sometimes
called “emergent Christianity” is focused on, at least in part, these four ideas.
1. A fresh, broad, ecumenical understanding of Jesus
I love Jesus!
2. Spirituality that links contemplation and action
I have given too many of my days to action and too few to contemplation.
3. Social justice and holistic mission
I pray daily that my children will, by their choices, teach my grandchildren to
care for the poor and to seek justice for all.
4. Authentic community
I believe the greatest hope for the churches I have known and loved for fifty-eight
years is a new understanding of and commitment to authentic community.
This list describes well what I want for my children and my grandchildren in the
future. And having heard Brian McLaren, Alexie Torres-Fleming and my dear friend Richard
Rohr speak to these ideas before I am inviting you to join me for this event.
On Saturday, November 14th, Fr. Rohr will spend the day with us teaching from his recently released book The Naked Now. Father Richard says, “People who make a positive difference in the world have one
thing in common; they have moved beyond either-or to both-and thinking.” He continues, “’right thinking’ makes us patient, forgiving, positive, and imaginative
people who are capable of creating alternatives, embracing the mysterious, the
negative, the hurtful, or the problematic.”
Will, Noah and Sam have lots of toys. They are always well dressed and they are deeply loved and well cared for by their
parents. They have had their share of Kid Meals, playgrounds, and water parks. What they need from Joe and me is a world to grow up in where creation is valued,
where people are good to one another, where there is time for doing and time
for “pondering” what to do, and where authentic community invites them to come
to life as they are. I want them to know Jesus and to know something about everything he said. This conference has the potential to help us make strides toward the legacy we seek. Hope to see you there.
To register, please click on the link below and follow the directions.