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pursuing the upward call with fear and trembling

just a 44 year old man seeking to share my meanderings with the world at large or the blogosphere at small

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Not Me- WE

Muhammad Ali said this in a speech he gave in Africa awhile ago. I think it may have been all he said. It was more than enough. Western culture has been so much about me. Self- improvement, self-actualization,self-image, on and on. Jesus spoke to crowds as well as the 12. He spoke to communities. I think we miss the boat alot here in the USA as far as that goes, although we do get it sometimes as well. We know how to come together and energize as one when crisis hits. In the normal humdrum though, are we in a default position of our minds to have an individualistic response to what goes on in life??? While we are in a worship service do we seek a *personal time with God*??? Arent we told Jesus wants us to have a personal relationship with Him??? Maybe just maybe Jesus meant for us to have a community relationship with Him. The Church is PEOPLE not an individual. Preaching to the choir here, just thoughts stimulated by a few posts on a blog i suggest all who read this go read.

Kathyescobar.com. She just got back from Africa. Everyone who journeys there has their world rocked, especially coming from living here in the USA. Kathy has very compelling things to say about church,community, the 99 vs the 1. Go there and read her posts. kathyescobar.com

http://www.kathyescobar.com Love to hear what you think!!!


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At 12:24 PM, Anonymous mariam said...

Hi Robert,

You seem to be getting a fair amount of spam in your comments. I wonder if there is some way of filtering out "anonymous" comments.

Re "community" vs "me", I agree. I think the North American church is far too "me" centred, but there are also churches where nonconformity is treated quite harshly. Often, however, the "me" in this case is the leader of the church and everything that goes on is all about him (rarely her). It is hard to find a happy medium, eg churches which allows for differences but are not too relativistic.

I feel as if I have found that middle ground in my church. I feel as if I am valued for what I have to offer, but that whatever gifts I bring they are part of a community offering and that we come as a group before God. There aren't too many arguments over theology - within a few non-negotiables - eg. there is a God who is good and loves us, Jesus was his Son and died for us, the Holy Spirit works in us to heal us and strengthen us, nobody worries too much about your private beliefs, as long as you don't try and bash someone else over the head with them. Then you will be met with either a bemused silence or a change of topic.

But there is a definite sense of community and family and that sense of community extends outward. We actually have 4 distinct mini-communities within our church: we have the regular Sunday morning crew; we have the "young families" that get together with the priest on Saturday for a meal and fellowship with a little bit of prayer and discussion thrown in; we have the shut-ins; and we have the community meal - a group of people who are lonely seniors, poor single parents and kids, substance abusers and people with mental health issues. They come for a free meal but also fellowship - and it is interesting to see the sense of community emerging from this troubled group. I sometimes worry about our priest. She seems to have a boundless supply of energy but I worry about her health, which she neglects. It is as if she is managing 4 separate churches.

At 7:24 AM, Blogger kathyescobar said...

hey robert, thanks for the link & thanks for reading! i like that you sometimes take some of these ideas and stir it up there!

At 6:42 PM, Blogger Robert said...

Mariam- your priest sounds incredible!!! Likes to light the candle at both ends it seems lol but what a great ministry model the 4 groups within a Group :) You give me good ideas for my congregation!! Also, hmmm you live in washington right?? if you ever come to portland you need to let me know!!! of course, gary and i met halkway once, i think we could do so again if you were to want to be a part hint hint

kathy- well it is my joy to link to you and your sharing of all you experienced in Africa!! i hope to get too meet you when you come to speak at Portland!!

At 10:52 PM, Anonymous Mariam said...

Thanks for the invite robert but I'm not sure what my husband would think of me crossing the border to meet two! men I met online (LOL). (I live in greater vancouver) Yes, I've been very impressed with the priests we've had. All women, all bringing different gifts to ministry, but this one is a natural leader with a heart as big as all outdoors.


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