A non-creedal missional community in a progressive ecumenical universalist christian way, 5920 N. Owasso Ave, Turley, OK 74126 918-691-3223, 794-4637, 430-1150. Service. Community. Discipleship. Worship. All are Welcome. See below or Write to firstname.lastname@example.org for the latest gatherings. We often worship with others on Sunday. We hope you respond to the call to service to and with others in an Abandoned Place of the American Dream Marketplace Empire.
First we looked at how the stories and values of the Hebrew scriptures presented competing visions of the people of God, between those who desired and abused power, and the prophetic voices who sought freedom and justice as the way to be in right relationship, or covenant, with God. Then we looked at the life and values and ministery of Jesus and how it contrasted with the life and values and power of Caeser and the Empire. Here we will look at the early church as a follower of Jesus against the lure and the domination of the Empire calling people to follow it. And how gradually the church sought the protection of the state instead of trusting in the power of God
and gained the world but lost its soul, except for minority of souls who continued to be a peculiar people embodying God's vision on the margins of the Empire, and refusing allegiance to the Empire even in the midst of the Empire.
Jesus as President: Politics For
Ordinary Radicals, part three: When the Empire got baptized…discussion based on
book by Shane Claiborne and Chris Haws
1.When those who followed the way of
Jesus were called atheists for not following the Roman Gods way and instead the
way of the gospel, when persecuted for not adhereing to the Empire way of life
and markets and military, when they didn’t believe the state was the savior.
2.They didn’t celebrate the festivals
of the state (what would that mean today? Like Black Friday coming up in
3.Baptism for jesus followers was a way
of conversion and dedicating their lives to the dangerous way of following the
God of Israel as shown in Jesus instead of the way of Caeser. It meant for many
having to change their jobs, how they made money, whether from the brothels or
from the government and the early church had to support those making that
4.They started living Jesus’ vision
now, not just waiting for him to come back and do it for them, not waiting to
do it in an after life….but how could they get food from the markets without
supporting the Empire? They had to get the mark of the Empire before they could
enter the agora; John in Revelations and others cry out against the Empire and
collaborating with it and that it is already fallen so need to find another way
of living by sharing, not only food but life: they lived near one another,
daily sharing of worship and friendship, and resources, and gradually effected
change and a small alternative society within the Empire, like leaven and
mustard seed. Image of the New Jerusalem: city of God come to earth, where
mourning is turned to dancing, death is no more, the gates are left open for
everyone, and the gardens take over the ghettos.
5.Who they were: from the fringes of
Empire, and from the middle of it: those who had been left behind in the
Imperial progress, without family, without health, without country, and those
who were converted from it. Both became “martyrs” which means witnesses. Rome
was not just violent and evil but it was alluring in its wealth, art, society,
roads, security. By contrast the early followers of Jesus were considered the
scum of the earth: from 1 Corinthians 4: We are fools for Christ, but you are
so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are
dishonored! 11 To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in
rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. 12 We work hard with
our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure
it; 13 when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the
scum of the earth, the garbage of the world—right up to this moment….and from 2
Corinthians 4 If you only
look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious
Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to
prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. As it is,
there’s not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we’re not much to
look at. We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized;
we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been
spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; Our lives are at constant
risk for Jesus’ sake, which makes Jesus’ life all the more evident in us. While
we’re going through the worst, you’re getting in on the best!
6.Constantine: before his military rise
to Emperor, the church had gradually become more mainstream, widespread and
populous, easy for it to be coopted by the rulers. It had lost much of its
Jewish roots by this time. 300 years after Jesus. Now it was influential on a
major level and could be “relevant” in the world. From baptizing all those
within the Empire, to resist the Empire, it instead baptized the Empire itself.
As if we felt we needed the state to do what God and church couldn’t….one
aspect of the Nicene Creed, making Jesus deemed same as God, was to make clear
that Caeser wasn’t.
7.Movement away from places of power to
the desert and abandoned places of Empire, in order to find self and faith and
God. Every 500 years or so a major movement of renewal…from Constantine to
Crusades to Conquistadors in Americas, the effort to take God to people and
control them instead of going to serve them and find God there.
8.Puritans City on A Hill vision;
American exceptionalism?; beware all efforts to see yourself as a special
people different from others, beware having God on your side; we are a
Christian nation insomuch as the USA looks like Christ….Shane’s Traitor
response from Iraq, p. 175….like Frederick Douglas’s depiction of difference of
Christianity of slave holding America and Christianity of Christ….but the
church is not just called to opposition to the American Empire, but also to the
dictatorships and power-over values of other nations as well
9.The Gospel of America and Beyond:
global reach of consumer values and also military presence, 700 stations in
more than 100 countries (Rome had peace but throughout its Empire years, its
legion out on the edges was not in war but only a few days; and the cost to the
Empire consumed half of its budget that could have gone to the poor)…What are
our idols? What would we kill for?...Who provides for our economy and cheap oil
and food and products? Who is exploited for our lifestyle? Wendell Berry’s
words calling us to a kingdom of God economy, not just distinction between
church and state, but between church and economy, how we live and make our
homes; in Rome people began dropping out and going to edges to farm and live
and not need the economy of war…Read America through the eyes of the Bible, not
the Bible through the eyes of America….The theology of power-over translated
into kinds of church today (Mark Driscoll’s words that drive the mega-church
world power church macho church today: “I cannot worship a guy I can beat up.”
So he presents Jesus as warrior prize-fighter Hollywood action hero….Replacing
flags and crosses that signify death and power with that of the “slaughtered
lamb of God.”…God bless the whole world: no exceptions.
10.What about Hitler? Example of Jesus telling
Peter to lay down his sword not to prevent Jesus’ death. Bonhoeffer and Hitler,
but he did it recognizing he was doing evil. And knowledge Hitler’s don’t come
from nowhere, but we are called to be active in stopping them before they get
power. Unintended consequences when we try to take God-like action; Hitler was
even more emboldened after assassination attempt, thought he was protected more
by God. Violence is not redemptive but damages the image of God within us. Evil
done in the name of Good….christians leaving the military or saying they will
go die for brothers and country but won’t kill for them anymore….the case of
Catholic air force captain George Zabelka who blessed the men who dropped the
atomic bomb on Nagasaki, including Catholic soldiers, and they later regretted
what they had done as the bomb landed on the cathedral in Nagasaki, the heart
of Catholicism in Japan. He said he didn’t preach to them the Sermon on the
Mount, to love their enemies; something for three hundred years the Church
preached and lived after Jesus even though during those three hundred years it
had been bearing the brunt of the Empire trying to wipe it out by killing.
Church needs to begin by confessing how it has not been the church, and needs
to wash feet of those it has wronged, and become the church as it does that,
not as it holds a sword and is capable of beating up evil-doers in the name of
God. People might pay attention to the church that does that.
Notes for discussion, Part Two from the book Jesus as President: Politics For Ordinary Radicals, by Shane Claiborne and Chris Haws, for Sunday, Oct. 14, 9:30 am at The Welcome Table conversation before communion and common meal.
Jesus As President: Politics For
Ordinary Radicals, part two: A Different Kind of Commander In Chief (A
Different Kind of Caeser)
“the construction of a set-apart
people into a living temple of blessing is going so-so. The solution: God puts
skin on to show the world what love looks like. But here’s the catch: the
Prince of Peace is born as a refugee in the middle of a genocide and is rescued
from the trash bin of imperial executions to stand at the pinnacle of this
peculiar people. A strange way to start a revolution…”
1.The dangerous radical story of
Christmas, of Jesus birth...turning the words of Empire on its head: lord,
gospel, faith, savior, kingdom, peace. But Jesus didn’t want to climb on Caeser’s
throne. He didn’t pray for the world for governments to become more religious,
but for people to be a peculiar people in the culture to show the way of God,
not just be a better version of the kingdoms of the world.
2.Politics of Jesus’ time: constant
uprisings, rebellions against Rome; the building of Sepphoris, taking land from
the peasants, next to Nazareth. Whole towns were destroyed as Jerusalem would
be in 66-70 war. Rebels were often violent too, as the Legion was. Some fled
and formed totally separate communities like Essenes. John the Baptist setting
up anti-Temple communities in the desert baptizing in the river as forgiveness
in opposition to the Temple’s rituals of forgiveness (like church and church
versions). Also non-violent protests, like the Israelites who protested the
introduction of Roman coins with Caeser’s image on them into Jerusalem.
Surrounded by soldiers they exposed their necks. The conflict back to time of
Alexander the Great’s Hellenistic conquering of the world. Herod the Great,
murdering to stay in power, collaborating with Rome. John the Baptist protest
against Herod, killed in response.
3.People flocked to the edges of wilderness, the
margins of Empire, to be with John and with Jesus to get Rome out of their
4.Jesus went to the desert for
preparation before he began his public ministry. A vision quest. Tempted to be
powerful and influential Power-Over in the world….Tempted to produce quick
miracles of stones to bread in a time of starvation, but he says we do not live
by bread alone (think of that lesson for our work with food). Rome would give
out food to calm the masses and distract them with circuses…He was tempted to
be in charge of others, to take back the power from Rome, but he knew the
stories of his people when Kings became corrupted. Instead serve God, he said,
and so Jesus decides to enter his people’s story, identifying with them, not
ruling over them, sharing their blood sweat tears and hunger….Tempted to be
spectacular, to throw himself off and let angels save him, but he knew God
works not through drawing attention to himself but through others.
5.Jesus would make for a bad candidate,
a bad president, a bad commander in chief, nevertheless he was political. He
returns from the desert and gives his commencement speech: Luke 4, wearing the
mantle of Isaiah: God’s kingdom in the poor, the prisoner, the blind, the
oppressed, the debtor. That was his campaign speech. His solution for the
people’s oppression by Rome: The sermon on the mount: an alternative economy: “folks
coming together, forming close-knit communities and meeting each other’s needs—no
kings, no major welfare systems, no presidents necessary. A practice for the
people of God, not suggestions for an Empire. Jesus takes his solution not just
for people of Israel but for all.
6.Jesus’ third way response to Empire
force, between aggression and passivity, creative response nonviolently: turn
the other cheek, give the shirt as well as coat, walk an extra mile (look them
in the eye and make them look you in the eye)….letting the wheat grow up the
weeds, hard to distinguish the good and the bad, might destroy good in
destroying evil…Is realistic about the continuing presence of Empire and its
affects, like parable of the sower: so many seeds lost: but “the blessing of
the world through the people of God is not like a quick violent revolution that
takes over power; it starts small, grows silently, faces setbacks, but
nevertheless permeates the world with love.” Oppose discouragement and
cynicism. Mustard seed and leaven kingdom.
7.To be born again is to be born again
into a new family, into a new kingdom, new spirit (moreso than an aspect of
personal only salvation). Not that his kingdom was not in this world just not
of it, but not out of it either, but differently, not apolitical but
differently political, in his kingdom we do not fight to maintain the kingdom.
There is a yoke to living in this kingdom, but there is a yoke to living in
Rome’s kingdom too; choose your yoke. Is your yoke suffering from the weight of
the American Dream?
8.Jesus’ campaign trail: the healing,
exorcisms, meals on the shore of the sea of Galilee. People resisted the
transformation, tried to trap him with questions like whether to pay taxes or
not: give to caeser what is caeser and to God what is God’s: first, equating
the two was radical revolutionary stance; second, what was God’s? All of
Creation. You weren’t supposed to have Caeser’s coins, and so he exposes the
hypocrisy of the questioners….He preaches to his followers also, the disciples,
always arguing over who is favorite, all about their needs; jesus says need to
serve, rule with a towel to wash people’s feet in hospitality not with a sword;
his last prayer, in John, pray for followers to continue being peculiar set
apart, not for the world but for those you have given me.
9.Jesus’ inauguration, not like Caeser’s
with pomp and circumstance and show of might and wealth and with displays of
religiousity and showing how God is in your side and not your enemies. Jesus’s
inauguration is the crucifixion which was written of in mock form to the
inauguration of a Caeser: the first evangelist as the Roman centurion in Mark,
just saw him at his most helpless, vulnerable, and says truly this is the son
of God. The cross is a completely different way of seeing the world. It is the
sign of the Empire, power-over; became the sign of God, forgive them, love
lasts not evil….The Temple as sign of power and collaboration is broken at time
of death, as it was destroyed by Rome soon; the new temple becomes the body,
the people, worship not in temples but in spirit and truth…The cross busted God
out of the temple, it reflects God as “the wildest being in existence” as
Wendell Berry described God.
10.Resurrection Appearances as
Inauguration Speech: even those who abandoned him are still his, now go do as
he did, share the story and the love and grow others like him too, be the new
family, new temple, new polis. Be the body of the Anointed and Jesus lives in
Morning Prayer and Communion: The
Welcome Table missional community
Invocation Today is the day which God has made:
Let us rejoice and be glad therein. What does the Eternal require of us?
To live justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God. (from the Psalms and
Covenant This is our covenant as we walk together in life in the ways of God known
and to be made known, following our mission to make Jesus visible in the world,
wherever we are, together or apart:
In the light of truth, and the loving and liberating spirit of Jesus, we gather
in freedom, to worship God, and serve all.
Response For The
Morning Hour of the Day:
The day is lit. Choose your course….My heart pounds in Your rhythm. Syncopate my life, O God….O Lord, let my soul rise up to meet you,as the day rises to meet the sun. The
sun is up, stopping and praying shapes the day instead of the day shaping us. Each day is Resurrection Day; there can be
an end to repetition. Bring forth the Song in you.
From Our Morning
Spirit of Life, Dona Nobis Pacem, Ubi Caritas, I Know This Rose Will Open,
Gathered Here, Morning Has Broken, Love Will Guide Us, Over My Head, Joyful
Joyful, Immortal, Invisible, Tis A Gift To Be Simple, O Life That Maketh All
Things New, Wake Now, My Senses, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, We’re Gonna
Sit At The Welcome Table, All Creatures of the Earth and Sky
For Your Life and For The People
O God, the sun has risen.
With it, lift up our hearts and prepare us for all that the day will bring. Be with us in our humble and deliberate
beginning of the day, in work as in prayer. O Come, let us sing to the Lord, let us make a joyful noise to the rock of
our salvation. Come into God’s presence with thanksgiving. Awake my soul. My heart pounds in Your rhythm.
Come Spirit, into our hearts. Into our thoughts. Into our work. Into this day. May God be
gracious to us and bless us and shine upon us.Enter now into a time of prayer and meditation:
Eternal Spirit, we come with hungry hearts, waiting to be
filled: Waiting to be filled with a sense of your presence; Waiting to be
filled with the touch of your spirit; Waiting to be filled with new energy for
service; We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts.
We have left undone those things which we ought to have done, and we have done
those things which we ought not to have done.
Loving Creator, we confess what seems always with us: broken
things within us that seem never to mend, empty places within us that seem
always to ache, things like buds within us that seem never to flower. God of
everlasting hope and forgiveness, help us to be open to your Presence within
us, mending and tending to our aching hearts and to our hurt and wounded land.
Help us to listen to others, and empower us to be your hands of action and
healing, sowing seeds of compassion and justice into our families and
communities and to support all those in need in our one world which you made
and called good.
Pastoral Prayer Let us pray for those who weep, and for those who cause their weeping. Hear our prayer, O God. For those who
are without food, clothes, and a place of shelter this day and everyday. Hear our prayer, O God. For those who live
without hope and meaning. Hear our prayer, O God. For those who live in
fear or sickness. Hear our prayer, O
God. For those who make gods of things and of themselves, Hear our prayer, O God. For those who
are working to serve others this day,
Hear our prayer, O God. For those travelling today, Hear our prayer, O God. For those in harm’s way, in homes and on
battlefields, Hear our prayer, O God. For
those who are finding their way again to love and laughter, Hear our prayer, O God. And for the great mission of God to bless
the poor, to pardon the imprisoned, to bring sight to the blind, to set free
the oppressed, to feed the hungry, to give drink to the thirsty, to provide
hospitality to the resident aliens, to clothe all, to visit the sick, and to
proclaim the year of the Lord and end all debts, Hear our prayer, O God.
Lift Up Names For
Eternal Spirit of Life and Love and Liberation, may we be
open to your presence in our lives, in all our joys and sorrows, fears and
faith, dreams and disappointments, hurts and hopes, those shared openly with
others, and those shared only with You.
Everlasting Hope that holds us up, so
that we may go hold others, we give thanks for all that has blessed us, and all
that has brought us to this day of Life’s Celebration.
continue to show us the way home to our own true hearts, our duties, and to the
service of creating a better world for all. Help us to see anew the sacredness
placed right before us, right beside us, right within us.
Deepest Source of All, may our prayers be
times of listening as well as speaking. May we be open to what Life yet speaks
to us of truth, joy, and goodness.
God beyond all human naming, yet as
close as our breath and beating hearts, we bring today these reflections of our
minds, these meditations of our hearts, these prayers of our souls. And as
Jesus taught to all those who would follow in his radical, inclusive,
compassionate and transforming way, feeling free to use the words you were
taught in the diverse faith traditions, or the words You have chosen for the
spirit of the prayer,we say
Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be
done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day, our daily bread, and
forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us
not into temptation. But deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the
power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.
From Our Songs of
Response: Find A Stillness, Amazing Grace, Glory Glory Halleluia, Precious
Lord, O God Our Help in Ages Past, There Is More Love Somewhere, We Shall
Overcome, Gonna Lay Down My Sword and Shield, I’ve Got Peace Like A River, Lean
on Me, There Is A Balm in Gilead
O God, in the loving and liberating spirit of
Jesus, we gather at this welcoming table open to all, remembering how Jesus gathered
people from all the walks of life, stranger and friend and enemies, gave thanks
to you, offered all the bread of life and the cup of blessing and proclaimed a
covenant of love for all in your name. We remember too the wonder of his life,
as we remember the wonder of all of Creation given unto us and how all are One.
We remember the agony of his death, and all the terrors and the tyrannies that
oppress people today. And we remember the power of resurrection, the mystery of
faith in the everlasting Spirit, the triumph over fear. Help us to remember to
practice resurrection everyday, as we remember all those who have given Love
the ultimate trust and the last word and who have worked to create the beloved
community of renewed and abundant life. Help us to remember with this meal
especially all those who are hungry, and may we treat all our meals as sacred
and to be shared. Take us, bless us, so that even in and with our brokenness we
may serve others. Amen.
Jesus said I was hungry and you gave me food.
I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I
was naked and you clothed me. I was sick and you visited me. I was in prison
and you came to me. And they said, Lord, when did we do this? And he said, You
did this for me when you did it for the least of these.
Here is the bread of life, food for the spirit. Let all
who hunger come and eat. Here is the fruit of the vine pressed and poured out
for us. Let all who thirst now come and drink. We come to make peace. We come
to be restored in the love of God. We come to be made new as an instrument of
that love. All are worthy. All are welcome. (from Singing the Living Tradition
hymnal, Rob Eller-Isaacs)
“Let Us Break Bread
Passing the Bread of
Life and the Cup of Hope
From Our Songs of
Commitment: I’m on My Way, We’ll Build A Land, Woyaya, Guide My Feet, Shall We
Gather At The River
Let us go out into the highways and byways.
Let us give the people something of our new vision.
We may possess a small light, but may we uncover it, and let it shine.
May we use it to bring more light and understanding
to the hearts and minds of men and women.
May we give them not hell, but hope and courage.
May we preach the kindness and everlasting love of God.
Notes for Sunday's conversation at 9:30 am, the first of four weeks of discussion, in light of the political campaign year, from the book Jesus as President by new onastics Shane Claiborne and Chris Haws.
Jesus As President: Politics For
Ordinary Radicals, by Claiborne and Haws
Oct. 7: Introduction and Section One
1.Why Jesus as President Is A
Contradiction; why Jesus wouldn’t and couldn’t be President, no more than he would
or could have been Caeser
2.What do we mean by politics? Use the
word to mean Civics, Citizen, Civil Engagement with Others In and For The World…being
committed citizens to country party community but not giving them ultimate
allegiance so able to challenge and question while following.
3.Are we ordinary radicals? They are
people who do extraordinary things on a daily basis in ordinary life, away from
positions of great wealth and power and influence, living life tapping into the
“root” (the meaning of radical) of God’s dream and values for the world, and by
doing so are seen as living very different kinds of lives.
4.Our definition of Church, may be very
different from others definitions and mission of church: “the body of people
who make the God of Jesus visible in the world (for better or for worse).”
5.Can we distinquish between (US) American
and what is Christian? The irony of having In God We Trust on our national
6.God is continually forming a new kind
of people to bring light to the world: Genesis, Exodus, Exile, the role of the
prophets in Israel
7.Temptations in the bible and in our
world today: to be like God, to possess all things, the most alluring,
beautiful, even peace, freedom, justice can be an idol that leads us to kill.
Temptation to power. Cain and Abel. The Tower of Babel.
8.Abram and Sarah and small helpless
band of wanderers seeking new land come right after the Babel episode, a sign
of how a people is to be. Even in their/our dysfunction.
9.The tension of King or No King for
Israel; of Temple or Tabernacle for Israel. Competing voices and visions in the
Hebrew Scriptures. Over and over kings oppressed; overturned; for every King
there is a Prophet. Some supported by people, some voices in the wilderness; “their
vocation is to interrupt the status quo.”They were “always doing wild things—stunts, pranks, miracles—that exposed
and unveiled truth.” The story of Rizpah (2 Samuel 21). Desmond Tutu: The
oppressed are freed from being oppressed and the oppressors are freed from
being oppressors” and this is when God heals the land.
10.Yahweh continues to be careful to choose the
weakest, most unlikely characters to be the heroes of the liberation story. We
were taught as children to sing songs of Noah and Abraham and little David and
Goliath but not about debt cancellation, land reforms, food distribution and
slave amnesty, about taking care of resident aliens and widows and orphans.
About taking just enough for your need, not your greed.