Saturday, February 28, 2009

To Be Like Jesus

News and the View from the LivingRoom Church at A Third Place Free Community Center, 6514 N. Peoria Ave. 794-4637 http://www.livingroomchurch.net/ (recently updated) and http://www.turleyok.blogspot.com/ "Doing small things with great love changes the world".

Sunday, Feb. 8, 9 to 10 am visiting and checking in with one another as we arrive and set up and begin our time together; 10 to 11 intergenerational relaxed spirited worship and holy conversation (Question Box Time this Sunday) and children's ministry; 11 to 12 cooking together; noonday prayer and common meal...more on these changes below. But come and invite others to come.

First a quote about why we do what we do and how we do it: From a book that meant a lot to me as I was thinking through all this a few years ago, from Emerging Churches by Ryan Bolger and Eddie Gibbs---"Emerging churches do not believe in evangelistic strategies other than the pursuit to be like Jesus in his interactions with others. They do not target people or have an agenda but rather seek to love all those whom God brings to them. They do not hope for a belief change for their conversation partners as much as a life change. Because of their high level of engagement with other cultures, the sacred/secular split is overcome as they practice the kingdom in their midst, in community."

To which Scot McKnight in his book, A Community Called Atonement, adds that this love, this praxis of healing as the kingdom of God is also called, occurs and comes as the church becomes itself by ever deepening 1. its commitment to fellowship or healing relationship one with another; 2. its commitment to justice or the healing of the world; and 3. its commitment to such a missional presence where others are drawn toward us for their own healing through the story of Jesus that comes through us.

All we do seeks to filter through one of those three gateways or portals. We do it imperfectly and we forget it, and we strive to do it more fully. Click on read more to see how...

There will be two lyrics taped up on the windows of the Center on Sunday, Feb. 8 as we move back to worship and meal gatherings on Sunday mornings at 10 am. Two sets of lyrics that signal what we are about. One set by Kris Kristofferson and one set known as part of the Third Song of Isaiah from the Morning Prayer rite in the Book of Common Prayer. As we find others, we will put them up too. See them below.

This is the Sunday we become "the church that's cooking", cooking with God, living into reality beloved community one meal at a time. Stay tuned as we find our way following the way of Jesus, but here is a rough time frame: visiting and checking in and fellowship informally from 9 up to 10 am when we will gather near the stage to center and re-orient ourselves for worship, the bringing in to our lives of that which we find ultimately worthy and call God. We will sing songs of peace and welcome to all. We will light candles for ourselves and others and the world and we will pray. We will tell a story. We will have our free and open communion. We will sing children off to their time of learning and exploring. We will have a time of "Holy Conversation". This time it will be the annual Question Box Sunday when I field your questions on life and spirit. Then we will have closing prayer and move into our time of shared cooking together the common meal that, like the plate and cup of the eucharist, the thanksgiving, of communion, reminds us of our bonds with one another, with the earth, with those without food and drink, and with God, reminds us to live simply so that others may simply live. We rotate the chef for the week; on MLK Sunday it was Chris and an Italian meal; this time it will be Bonnie and a Mexican style vegetarian enchildas plus other ingredients that people bring to put into enchildas or add a side dish to make. As we go forward we try to use as much local homegrown as possible, or from the Oklahoma Food Coop of which we are a member. We make enough for our meal, for some to take to the homebound, and some to stay in the Center for others. Speaking of the Coop, Thursday Feb. 12 is the deadline for orders this month. Go to http://www.oklahomafood.coop/ and then you can order through us and pick it up the following Thursday.

We will repeat it on Sunday, Feb. 15 (Susan B. Anthony's birthday), but some Sundays we will still meet and then travel to worship with others, reminding ourselves of our connections and identity with others trans-church-wise.

We have begun again the Weekly on Wednesday morning prayer from 9 to 9:30 am this time, and then bible conversation at 11 am followed by noonday prayer.

If the weather stays wonderful this Saturday Feb. 7 and you are so moved, give me a call at 691-3223 and we may take advantage of it by working some more on our transformation of the intersection of 66th and N. Lewis by O'Brien Park; come spread mulch and plant and clean; and we will try to do it again depending on weather on Saturday Feb. 14 at 10 am during our monthly Random Acts of Kindness and Beauty events.

We had a great productive community gardening meeting this week and you will be hearing much more about this in the coming days as social work students from OU will be canvassing our community door to door telling people about our Center and about possibilities of community gardens and soliciting leaders and helpers for them; we had a great time at the local Cherokee School making our partnership with them official, and we will be looking for ways to continue working with and for them; the no smoking class had no shows but we will try again :), and will be taking a different more holistic approach focusing on exercise and diet and stress reduction and oh by the way here is how to stop smoking; we had a great time at the two Martin Luther King walks and parade and services last month and have nice TV clips and coverage and front page newspaper stories too that feature our folks; the health clinic is looking better and growing and we have created a more open and welcoming space for them during our work party last Sunday; we will have a planning party for a Turley Parade on Tuesday Feb. 10 at 7 pm, and we have our Saving Pets of Turley gathering Sat. Feb. 21 at 2 pm and the Turley History Chats that day at 3 pm. We will have a volunteer training and education at noon Friday, Feb. 20 and an appreciation dinner and thank you that evening at 6:30 pm.

Looking ahead: Be a part of the Progressive Christian Revival put on at All Souls Unitarian Church by the Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship Thursday March 26 to Sunday, March 29. Just a dynamic rare opportunity in our area for this event, featuring Bishop Carlton Pearson and so much more. Go check it out and register at www.uuchristian.org/revival, tell others about it, and check back often because we have a lot of updates on workshops, etc. that will be going up. We are also looking for home hospitality for those coming in from around the continent, and for van drivers helping folks to and from the church and hotels. Great way to meet new friends. Check http://www.uuchristian.org/ for weekly meditations and whole lots more stuff too....Also looking for folks to join with me in Boston on Sunday, April 19 (well Weston, Mass. actually nearby) for the annual convocation of the Council of Christian Churches within the UU Association of which we are a member.

The two sets of lyrics that jumped out at me lately that seemed to sum up much of what we do: First from Kris Kristofferson, capturing much of the Turley landscape I would say, and why we seek to be a welcoming space for folks not only on Sunday morning, but now on that day too...

"Well I woke up Sunday morning,With no way to hold my head that didn't hurt. And the beer I had for breakfast wasn't bad, So I had one more for dessert. Then I fumbled through my closet for my clothes,And found my cleanest dirty shirt. An' I shaved my face and combed my hair, An' stumbled down the stairs to meet the day. I'd smoked my brain the night before, On cigarettes and songs I'd been pickin'. But I lit my first and watched a small kid, Cussin' at a can that he was kicking. Then I crossed the empty street, 'n caught the Sunday smell of someone fryin' chicken. And it took me back to somethin', That I'd lost somehow, somewhere along the way. On the Sunday morning sidewalk, Wishing, Lord, that I was stoned.'Cos there's something in a Sunday, Makes a body feel alone. And there's nothin' short of dyin', Half as lonesome as the sound, On the sleepin' city sidewalks: Sunday mornin' comin' down. In the park I saw a daddy, With a laughin' little girl who he was swingin'. And I stopped beside a Sunday school, And listened to the song they were singin'. Then I headed back for home, And somewhere far away a lonely bell was ringin'.And it echoed through the canyons, Like the disappearing dreams of yesterday. On the Sunday morning sidewalk, Wishing, Lord, that I was stoned. 'Cos there's something in a Sunday, Makes a body feel alone.And there's nothin' short of dyin', Half as lonesome as the sound, On the sleepin' city sidewalks: Sunday mornin' comin' down."

Then, finally, on retreat last week when it was just me and the Episcopal priest doing morning prayer together in the midst of a big busy camp of folks, when she read from the prayer book these words of Isaiah, I thought of home and Turley, of you all, of the LivingRoom Church at A Third Place:

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has dawned upon you. For behold, darkness covers the land; deep gloom enshrouds the peoples. But over you the Lord will rise, and his glory will appear upon you. Nations will stream to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawning. Your gates will always be open; by day or night they will never be shut. They will call you, The City of the Lord, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel. Violence will no more be heard in your land, ruin or destruction within your borders. You will call your walls, Salvation, and all your portals, Praise. The sun will no more be your light by day; by night you will not need the brightness of the moon.

Amen. Thanks. Blessings. More Soon,
RonType rest of the post here