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Knowledge & News
Thought provoking topics and series, necessary news and information.
This week, we sang with the Psalmist in celebration of God's good world. Not only for celebration itself, nor merely for gratitude that the earth supplies resources, but because this expression shapes our relationship with the Earth. How can we care for that which we do not love, a planet over which we do not marvel, and for which we offer no celebration and gratitude? Psalm 104 aims to shape our relatedness to the soil.
A few weeks back, we completed a series on three different tellings of The Prodigal Son story from the Gospel of Luke. As we neared completion, our own Sharon Tonjes pointed out one of the most conspicuously absent characters in the story, with the brilliant question, "Where's mom?" Could it be that the mother of the prodigal younger and older son, and wife of the lost husband, might indeed be the most lost character of all? Lost to the story all together for lack of mention, even by us?
For a full look at what we covered, and to capture a sense of what Sharon points out, that which we missed, check out the series below. Also take a moment to get to know Sharon (and her husband Steve) by watching her story.
After leaving “the Church” at about 18 because I was disgusted with the lack of love and humility I found, I wound my way very slowly back to what I know to be my own truths about God, love, truth, community, leadership, and servanthood. Truly, I never intended to be part of anything with the word “church” in it ever again.
We continued this week, exploring the honesty of inner turmoil and raw expression. In Psalm 22 we found a question, central to the human experience, and one that connected the Psalms with the center of the Christian tradition. Not only the "Why?", but all of the assumptions we brought to that question.
and with its online stream I immediately felt at home. I was so excited that I could participate each week, even from four hours away. What a time to be alive!
Mark and Tosh Watts did a brilliant Job of connecting the Pledge Drive with their own story, and challenging us each to do the same. Connect the reasons you find life and belonging with Collective, and connect that with your commitment to support and sustain this community, at whatever level you are willing and able. Watch the video update above, and grab the detailed report below.
We all know that week or two before the fall semester begins. Students are prepping to pack up and go back to school and schools are gearing up for the onslaught. In a rare occurrence, my mom, my aunt and my two cousins were all able to meet me for lunch at Santorini’s in downtown DeLand before the elder of the two cousins left for her junior year of college. Following our lunch meeting, I spent a little more time with my mom at a couple of the neighboring shops. Inside the second shop, loud music was blaring from a CD player. The music was jazzy and upbeat; my mom commented that the music sounded cool. Soon though a woman’s voice echoed as she sang, “My money is like a bunny and it goes out and multiplies.” I’m pretty sure I made a face, but I continued to listen as she sang about how God is the source of her money. I’ve heard my share of bad Christian pop music, but I had never heard prosperity gospel music before. I found it irksome, to say the least.
You’re probably wondering where this is going, but this occurred only a few days before both Collective kicked off its annual pledge drive and John Oliver dropped the hammer—and the mic—on the predatory behaviors of prosperity gospel slinging televangelists. It was like life was preparing me to say something. Then Ben asked me to write this blog, so here we are.
Our type of church is not for everyone; we’re an ageing group that feels most comfortable with traditional worship. But we know that the greater Christian church must grow and speak to younger generations so that the message and salvation of Jesus can spread throughout the world.
In Psalm 44, we continued be oriented and disoriented by these songs, and the world into which they intend to draw us. This week we focused on the ways this Psalm inverts and reverses the assumed order of things, disorienting the reader, and inviting us into the silence of God. We explored our own experiences with the sacred, and how these have shaped our expectations of the sacred.
This week we began a season of plundering the treasure of the biblical songbook. The Psalms invite us, by song and prayer, poetry, ecstasy, and tragedy - to feel, to think and re-think, to touch the depths of our inner light and darkness, and to listen as our inner songs harmonize with the songs of light and darkness among our community. It draws not on intellectual theology, but the experience of life held in the suspension of a dynamic faith. Psalm 88 invites us, maybe more than any other Psalm, to apologetically unfiltered, and even offensively honest, expression.
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.