I never read the book, but the story looks like a redemptive story in the context of our post modern culture.
We love knowing something. Knowledge often catapults us higher than those who know little to nothing about the issues of the day. Yet, in our selfish quest for domineering advantage we play loose with the facts. I do it. We all do it. Thinking and gathering facts as Joe Friday used to say, "Just the facts Maam," requires painful diligence and often challenges our philosophical system. That hurts. I believe we as an American culture, need to understand our opponents, in particular those who mold cultural norms. This may only begin to happen when we take President Kennedy's advice, so compellingly issued at the Yale University commencement in 1962, to heart:
For the great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie—deliberate, contrived, and dishonest—but the myth—persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to the cliches of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.
I used to witness Kennedy's enemy at work in the church during my early years as a pastor. Many a good church youth group received the judgement of hell (angry zealots) for snubbing God's word and holding dances. Only problem, nowhere does the Bible condemn dancing. Cultural religion may-not Scripture. But, those who lived by myth, usually the sincere and flawed pronouncements of their social relations, affectively embraced a "prefabricated set of interpretations." This painful, exhausting need for discomforting thought, requires work not intended for the slothful or for the fainthearted. Laziness has tragically broken many a friendship and church for stupid reason at best. Perhaps the Apostle wisely offered this directive in context of the above:
but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; (IPeter 3:15 RSV)
Notice this act of preparedness suggests a needed prerequisite of sanctification. The idea carries with it separation from group-think and unconditional surrender to a different authority. The supremacy of Christ supersedes our own narcissistic need for power and attention. This supremacy offers patience, peace, and an integrity that cares about truth to the exclusion of easy mythology. Indeed, we're talking character here-Joe Friday, trudging, digging, discipline. Only the emotionally spiritually mature, discover the wherewithal to demythologize culture's fragile authority.
I read a mass of material every day. It makes for good reference points when someone seeks to pick my highly functional brain (haha). But, such an avalanche of information sends one's head spinning into orbit. The solution-a feed reader such as Feedly. Feed readers allow omnivorous readers to organize their favorites so that they can quickly scan the latest news from all their treasured sources, without searching too long. Remove Feedly from my highly charged reading program and I might turn into a computer scavenger. It's much like stacking a pile of junk on one's desk and not knowing where to begin. Feedly gets me started and to the source.
Richard Rohr walks with ancient Catholic tradition emersed in strong meditative paractices. A significant place continues to exist for such ministry. Here is a synopsis from the editors:
In Silent Compassion: Finding God in Contemplation, Rohr focuses on finding God in the depths of silence, and shares that the divine silence is more than the absence of noise. That silence has a life of its own, in which we are invited into its living presence, wholeness of being, and peace it brings. This silence can absorb paradoxes, contradictions, and the challenges of life, he says, connecting us with the great chain of being. Rohr adds that while different faiths use different languages and different words, all major religions have come at the mystery of God as a dynamic flow—God as communion, God as relationships. Silence then becomes that common place for all.
This book will inspire you and show that the peace of contemplation is not something just for monks, mystics, and those divorced from the worries of the world, but rather for all people who can quiet their own mind to listen in the silence.
Long time ago a church I pastored for 7 years enthusiastically requested I remind them of our vision from time to time. I learned a prized lesson that day, much like a pearl of great price. We live in a frantic, earth shaking world that seeks to steal our souls and knock us off a glorious course. It helps to pin a mission and vision before our eyes so that our internal compass keeps north. Therefore, with this principle in mind, I once again want to lift my pastoral vision before you.
This vision I believe represents something not tailor made for our church, but provides a birds eye view of God's purpose, until we can hit the ground on our own and see the details as we work them out together in ministry.
First, I must redundantly remind us of a couple of essential definitions. The Church Universal should adhere to the same mission-to make disciples of all people. Vision, when we together own it, becomes the road map for our church that directs us toward the Great Commission. Vision literally means, "to gaze at." What we gaze at, dream about, see in our imagination, can move us collectively toward the fulfilling of the mission.
With these truths in mind I suggest that our own vision consists of involving every member in celebration (worship), care (caring for one another), and calling (hearing and responding to God's call upon our lives top use our gifts for the purpose of advancing the Kingdom ). It's that simple.
There is an old saying that declares "if we can see it, we can have it." I see it. I hope you're beginning to see it to.