Thursday, May 14, 2009

Missional Renaissance and The Church

Hi all.
First, Reminders of our scheduled gatherings you are invited to join us at (remember that the unscheduled ones are ones we want to hear stories about too when we gather, those where we build relationships with one another and with those we don't know, guided by our Jesus community values of hospitality, lovingkindness, freedom; these happen all over the place and time):

Sunday, May 17, 10 am at A Third Place Center, worship, a DVD showing of the Bishop Carlton Pearson worship service at the Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship Revival in March at All Souls Church, and a common meal and holy conversation on our lives and service with others.

Thursday, May 21, 6 pm Turley History conversation at A Third Place Center.

Sunday, May 24, journey to the UU Congregation of Tahlequah for 11 am worship followed by lunch as I lead worship service and preach on "Ashes to Ashes, Life to Life". Call 794-4637 to arrange carpooling or caravanning.

Saturday, May 30, Tulsa Audubon Society's Make Every Home A Wildlife Habitat Garden Tour; Sunday, May 31 our worship gathering and holy conversation in the morning and Sunday afternoon join with me as I lead a discussion with the All Souls Cinema Society on a film we watch together. Call me at 691-3223 on Friday, May 29 to get film details.

We will be doing some more guerilla and community gardening the rest of this month as we get ready to be a part of the Tulsa Community Gardening Association first Garden Tour on Sunday, June 14. More info to come. Also feel free to come hang out at A Third Place Center; help provide hospitality during the health clinic times on Monday and Friday mornings; watch TV, help those who come in during the day; meet others in the community; just showing up makes everything else possible.

We have exciting gatherings coming up this summer and we will be getting out the news on those events and missions soon.

I hesitate sometimes even writing down the schedule of events because we slip so easily into the default mode of the programmed church, programmed lives, instead of cultivating a missional faith community and missional lives that is based on relationships, transforming lives, going deeper, serving with others, letting the Spirit guide us to more depth, all of which can be hindered as we fill out calendars and schedule our lives, especially our spiritual lives. Look for us to do our best to fight back against some of that cultural programming that feeds consumerism and individualism; I am sensing it will be one of our major shifts in the coming months as we keep our Spirits fresh amid all our community transforming work in the world.

How about some of these questions to guide our feet? They come, sometimes altered by me, from the wonderful new book Missional Renaissance by Reggie McNeal. If you want to "get" our way of church, "get" this book. You will see how everything changes when you quit thinking of "a" church, and start thinking of "the" church that has a variety of manifestations (mega to organic to monastic to etc.), but all committed in their own ways to moving people closer to God's mission especially as revealed in the Jesus way. The church can become visible many places, in many people; "a church" as a religious organization non-profit committed to programs is only one way.

Ponder these questions in your heart...

Are people better off for being a part of this church, or are they just tireder and poorer?...Is the church supposed to be the center of a person's spiritual experience? No it's not...[good thing since more and more people are not locating it there]...Instead of delivering spirit, God, learning, how are we helping people debrief their lives and find spirit, God, learning in life?....Instead of asking our children what they learned in Sunday school, the youth service, how are we doing engaging them in God conversations with us?...If church is a people, and not a place, how are we improving lives? are we helping people pray, connect with others, change a calendar for sacred time, use their finances instead of being used, orient all the spaces of people's lives toward God and not just worry about a space called worship and church, and engage with technology in a way that builds lives and not tears them down?...Are we helping people become self-aware, develop life skills, and grow relationally?...How often do people get to explore and share about 1. what they enjoy doing, 2. where they see God at work right now, 3. what they would like to see God doing in their lives over the next six months to a year?, 4. how would they like to serve other people and how can we help one another to do it?, 5. how can we bless them, pray for them.

Over the coming "Summer of Love" in Turley, 2009, let us let these conversations and questions be with us and invite others to engage with them too....we have a lot of relationship building and life and community transforming gatherings ahead of us. Some of it will be connected to our partnerships with others, and some of it will be connected to deepening our lives together in this missional faith community we call the LivingRoom Church at A Third Place Center.

For more keep checking back to the blog Planting God Communities as we chat more there about the book by Reggie McNeal, the author whose workshop in Tulsa in 2006 helped me to envision a new way for our group and to share that conversation with all of you. Lets create a conversation out of it not only in person at the Center but also through the blog. Also check out more of our community missional ideas and plans and events at

We have made a lot of great groundbreaking missional steps, and by falling back into my old default modes of church I've made a lot of missional missteps, and I think this summer will be a wonderful time for "vacating" these old tapes running in the back of our head and dreaming and doing together our mission of making Jesus visible in the world. thanks for all, blessings, and more/less soon,


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