06 January 2009


I'm not together right now. Too much going on in my heart and head, I suspect. In the gift of the holidays, I took time away to spend with family and friends and loved the break. It is not without cost, however.
I decided despite having books to read for class and a paper to write this week before my face-to-face "residency" starting Sunday in Philadelphia, I wanted a break from books, writing, classwork, etc. What a treat to feel free to be present to people and experiences over Christmas and New Year's! I received my reward. Now I must pay! The cost is that this week the reading and hopefully writing must ensue.

And that is unsettling. The reading lingers and slowly sinks deep into my heart and spirit. I can't escape the challenges. It is a constant invitation to reflect, consider and live differently. I want to be faithful. Yet what I'm reading asks for much sacrifice. I'm not sure I'm up to the task. Actually, more honestly, I don't know how willing I am.

So here are some things to consider, in my attempt to extend the invitation (b/c you know I hate doing things alone!):

"The church as we know it is a tragically dysfunctional family
in which some children are starving while others have food stashed in their closets."

"One of the most radical things we do is
love the people we live with,
day after day,
mistake after mistake."

"God is not glorified when we try to live together as perfect people...
Jesus was glorified when he loved the one who would hurt him...
we are glorified, that God may be glorified,
when we keep loving one another, even after we hurt one another."

"God is glorified when we keep doing the dirty work,
even for people who treat us dirty."

God is calling us to live differently.
This means laying down expectations.
This demands grace (receiving AND dispensing).
This requires love, love, and more love.

Living for God's glory is not an easy task. Everything in us and around us wars for our attention and energy and resources. We are seduced into thinking if we help ourselves, if we consume more, if we have the latest whatever, if we look a certain way then...

God calls forth such a different picture.

Here 2009 begins. We have these days, these "new" moments to live into our calling and identity of children, beloved children, of God.

How will we live?
Can we love better this new year?
Can we serve more graciously?
Can we live more simply?
Can we pray more earnestly?
Will you help me on that journey?
Can we, will we, help each other?

Quotes from Becoming an answer to our prayers by Shane Claiborne and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove.


Sabrina said...

Very good questions to ask ourselves. I struggle with many of those... Thank you for sharing.

Dan said...

Every year I pick a book and have our whole church board read it together. "Becoming an Answer. . ." is this year's book. I just got into it last week, and am hoping the Amazon box with the 10 copies for our board shows up this week.

Gracie said...

Thanks, S. I'm gonna keep checking in about these things--hopefully. So stay tuned!

I was in your very neck of the words over break. I almost called Rachel to get your #. It was horrible weather. But I tho't of you. Loads. :) You were prob'ly all cozy at your parents out of the elements. HNY 2 you!

Dan--Shane C (and Tony C) are part of "my" (program) residency next week in Philly. I am eager to learn from them. I am excited that your church leadership will engage such a journey using this book. I'll stay tuned to what God does in and thru your community and experience. Blessings!

Jewels said...

Gracie - This is the best way to look at a new year! thank you for sharing these questions. how long will you be gone Gracie? I sent you a thingy in the snail mail :)

Lana Baker said...

Good stuff! Easier said than done. I'll have to work on some of this!

Betty said...

Such good reflections, Diana. I'm reading Rob Bell/Don Golden's book,
"Jesus Wants to Save Christians" and it is unsettling and convicting and lots of other words. It affirms your reflections/quotes. Blessings and love and prayers in the year ahead.