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Let's consider Bart's Prayer. No, not Barth, the prominent Swiss Protestant Theologian; Bart Simpson, whose character has an endearing, but often mistaken arrogance. He’s not an ingrate, but he does seem ungrateful. We resonate with his anti-establishment, rule-breaking sense of autonomy, but even we must critique such a misguided sense of isolated independence.
Generosity begins with gratitude. And whatever you think about God, the absolute speculation of divine financial compensation, or superstitious provision, the principle remains. If you think you’ve worked for, provided all, and purchased everything you have, well:
A) You're wrong. And,
B) You're far less likely to be grateful or generous.
The pledge drive is a fabulous reminder for us, of our dependence and interdependence upon each other for the meaningful things in our lives which matter most, because no one person buys this. No one individual or entity pays for Collective outright. It works best when we all buy in. So obviously, if you haven't started giving, you're invited:
First, to be grateful for what others have provided.
Second, to be generous, joining others in passing it on.
And if you give, the pledge drive helps protect us from the proud prayer, the “Bart deception,” because as important as every individual gift is, each gift alone cannot sustain this community. It's only the way they all mysteriously come together in sacred cooperation, to make all this possible.
So, unlike Bart, we can pray a prayer of genuine thanks, with gratitude that swells in our hearts for the people who make this community, who lovingly contribute, willingly sustain, and and generously provide it for one another.
And so let us pray: We do give thanks for these gifts of gratitude and generosity, harbored in the name of God; For the gifts they are, and the gifts they produce for us and in us.
We are a misfit faith community that gathers in DeLand on Sundays at 5pm. Come as you are.
We value highly the metaphor of journey. We’re different people from different places and backgrounds, representing an intergenerational community, and we’ve traveled different paths. So, we agree not to make assumptions about the person across from us, next to us, or in conversation with us. We challenge ourselves to be sensitive, knowing this community includes a diverse group of people from life-long followers of Jesus, to people who are just now open to the idea that God might exist. We strive to avoid offense, ask good questions, articulate and explain our responses. We don’t assume fluency in bible, spirituality, or Church language, because we believe the message of Jesus is not for Christianity, but for humanity. So, we do everything in the spirit of love and grace.
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