Friday, May 08, 2009

Because, in our blessed messiness, we are here

Here is a recent report from our church/community center, and at the end a string of wonderful quotes that capture the philosophy behind our presence.

This Sunday (April 26), if weather permits, we will celebrate outdoors at O'Brien Park at 10 am with worship and holy conversation focused on Creation Spirituality and the Bible--so of course being outdoors makes sense--followed by cookout for community meal. Come be with us. If it is too rainy to enjoy, we will be in usual space in A Third Place Center, 6514 N. Peoria Ave. We also hope to weave in some community gardening and perhaps guerilla gardening again as part of our worship and service time Sunday.

Also, FYI, next major event: our sponsorship with Univ. of Oklahoma Tulsa of Neighborhood Life 2009, a chance for community residents to learn how to better be community leaders and organizers and build skills for improving their streets and areas. 11 am to 2 pm Saturday May 2 at A third Place Center on North Peoria, for all within our two mile service area radius of north Tulsa and Turley. Free Lunch included for participants. This is a followup program to Turley Talks 2008 which we coordinated last year. Spread the news and connect any interested residents with this great opportunity to resist burnout, find ways to make a difference and get resources needed out to where they actually live.

Because, even in our blessed messiness and terrible organizational details, et al, we are here....

...there will be a summer food program for lunch at the local school for anyone between ages one and eighteen years old. The schools around us have almost 100 percent subsidized breakfasts and lunches during the year, but without summer school in them for those weeks in the summer many can't make up the difference at their homes which can't budget for it. So we are coordinating a lunch program this summer that will be able to feed anyone in those age ranges whether they are in school or not, or what school they go to. Help us spread the word and if you want to help serve the lunches during the summer contact me asap, and we are going to use it as an opportunity to help pay some for the unemployed to be the servers, so helping not only those in need of food but also on a very limited basis helping others in need of job, funds, and something good to add to their resumes. It is the fruits of great working relationship with Cherokee School and we are also working to help start a similar program year round at O'Brien Park for those 60 years and older.

because in our blessed messiness, we are here...
....some animals will be fed and cared for; some public spots and community gardens are sprouting up in our area; some consciousness is going to be raised about all our abandoned property and rundown houses projects through a new powerpoint and advocacy; people are getting clothed; getting health care; getting to know that there is more than one way to follow Jesus and be a church; get help with job applications and social service applications through the computer center, meet others who are interested in the community life and bringing hope and truly living room into our common life.

REMEMBER this Fragments and Allow them to help re-member, or pull together, the fragments of your life and faith:
"Everywhere Jesus went there was a riot," but as one Bishop said, "Everywhere I go they make me cups of tea." Church has been too domesticated. Or as novelist Dorothy Sayers wrote: "If you mixed as much as I do with people to whom the Gospel story seems to be nothing but a pretty fairytale, you would know how much of their contemptuous indifference is due to one fact: that neveer for one moment have they seen it as a real thing, happening to a living people. Nor indeed, are they fully convinced that Christians believe in its reality."

"Those who are taken captive by Jesus see mission not merely as a practice preferred by God but as an aspect of his very character. He is mission." Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch in the new book ReJesus. (Don't let the masculine pronoun mask the importance of the church not having a mission but as being formed by and a reflection of God's mission.

All that we are engaged in here in our area is not new, but stands in a long line of people who have gone outside the stereotype and image of church, God, and Christ in order to bring God's healing presence to folks. The early church; the early monks; the folks at Koinonia and so many others. Like John Perkins, an African American in rural Mississippi who got out of there in the pre civil Rights era days and got away from God and church too, and then rediscovered faith and it led him right back to Mississippi. We try to also be guided by Perkins' 3 Rs: 1. Relocation. It matters where you live, and with whom, and how, and who you rub up against in everyday life, and who you learn from, and Jesus says to follow him it means going to the abandoned places. 2nd R: redistribution of resources. Fight against the materialism and consumerism and individualism that drives our being possessed by our things instead of us possessing them, helping people to learn how to give, to learn that they themselves are a gift of God which makes all the difference in how they will see themselves as givers and receivers with others. It is why all we do we do for free and give for free and promote common lending. 3rd R: Reconciliation. Trying to live as if all the divides are not as important as media and culture make them out to be, trying to provide common ground, a third place, for reconciliation between individuals, among groups, to happen. (ideas developed in the book The New Monasticism)

The bible isn't about or mostly about an individual's eternal salvation and a recipe for it; not about you but about y'all, about forming a people out of slavery, forming a people out of resurrection, about communities.

Celebration (ie parties, worship, laughter, gatherings of service and hospitality and sharing and learning) is our best tactic of resistance (says Jonathan Wilson-hartgrove in the new monasticism). It's what the church is, a place and a people for a different kind of celebration than you can do alone, or than the stodgy old stereotype of church wants you to do and be, or what the culture of me and my needs wants you to do and be.

Thanks and blessings and more soon,

We encourage folks as they are moved to donate to our presence here. Checks can be made out to either The Living Room Church or A Third Place Community Foundation and sent to Rev. Ron Robinson A Third Place 6514 N. Peoria Ave. Turley OK 74126.

Type rest of the post here