All This Toward What?

    In case you’re asking what is the overall benefit of all this work and time invested, . . .

    In case you wonder how church refreshment will make a difference for you, . . .

    In case you’re asking what success will look like, . . . I will tell you this.

    I continue to seek to build the church of God without respect to race, gender, nation, or denomination. Success for me is group or community interaction that is authentic and energetic. This success actually happens incrementally now and will increase slowly over time. Yet I see in my mind’s eye this success gaining critical mass and snowballing to overtake various kinds of relationships all over the settings I frequent.

    My D.Min. project was introduced to me by Mary Clark Moschella in her book, Ethnography as a Pastoral Practice. This is a project in listening, pondering theologically, writing what I hear, feeding it back, and listening again. My work is always to model and call forth the attention and compassion to hear other people’s honest stories–to hear the other into speaking–so new Aha!s can come to both of us.

•    I see a church where the elephants in the room are named and cared for by everyone present, without fear.
•    I see a church free to go forward with vigor and commitment because past stories are heard and honored.
•    I see a church where each person, having been heard, can reframe past stories as foundation for future united action.
•    I see a church moving on in the power of God because its DNA contains information on how to talk and listen its way through conflict to new vision, interest, and energy.
•    I see a church committed to protecting its space for new speech to emerge and for various kinds of stories to be heard.
•    I see a church where human stories, being heard, can find ready intertwinement with Bible stories and theological reflection.
•    I see a church fueled by the mysterious knowing and longing that rises from naming, finding words for, and putting into speech, story, or symbol the deep meanings of life.
•    I see a church, the church of God, living in listening love!

Think, enjoy the process, communicate.

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