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Knowledge & News
Thought provoking topics and series, necessary news and information.
“Your true home is in the here and the now.” -Thích Nhất Hạnh
Central to the experience of Christian practice is living presence in a community and with God. God is with us as Immanuel, known to us in history as Jesus, and the Christian Church has since been tasked with the embodiment of the intangible body of Jesus since his departure. There is a common expression among church goers “WWJD?” or “what would Jesus do?” that captures the idea of each individual’s life and expressions reveal Jesus in our life journey. You may be the only face of Jesus that someone meets, so please ask yourself “what would Jesus do?”. Less stereotypically evangelical is a phrase “love your neighbor as yourself”. In the New Testament, Jesus challenges followers to not only love neighbors, but to love those classified as enemies since that is a true challenge of holiness, of Divine Love.
How does one love another person?
Love cannot be a half listening, half conscious effort. Love requires genuine and active presence with another person. Through active presence, we come to know the being of another person and accept who they are unconditionally.
In the Christian narrative, we know this kind of love has a serious price and at times seems impossible. We see in the act of the Crucified God, in Jesus’ nakedness at his execution, love through presence brought a death penalty. Yet, humanity was not robbed of Immanuel in death. Divine Love superseded the boundaries of life and death to be present in Creation again. The celebration of the resurrection was Jesus’s reappearance, or re-connection with his community. At the ascension, Immanuel returned in a different form...complete with a theatrical fire dance. Today we celebrate that explosive moment as "Pentecost".
God wants to be and is present in Creation.
Similarly in the Christian tradition, the weekly meeting focuses on the communion feast where both the presence of community and Divine Love coincide in our breath. The physical and the spiritual blend in an intentional moment of feasting activity as we share the life of nourishment, joy of community, and love of Immanuel. The Communion or Eucharist is a defining moment in Christian identity, tradition, and theology that forces conflict with our contemporary, self-centered, consumerist mode of living. We are challenged to be present with all those sharing the communion moment and meet with Immanuel, who is waiting for us to take a seat at the table.
So far, we have merely reviewed and, perhaps, refreshed for some a core principle of the Christian tradition. A question the Church is facing today is the shifting, evolving nature of the shape of community. Technology has changed the scope of community and continues to challenge the boundaries of community life. Human communication has forever changed thanks to mobile phones, texts, social media, email, video conferencing, etc. and traditional communities are catching up to adapt to the ever changing tides of communication mediums.
What we face here is the question of an “online church.” Can such an idea survive?
Or, more basically, should such an idea exist?
Reflecting on presence and community, we see that love springs from active presence and relationship, which can help us transcend our own limitations to love those we find un-lovable today. As we see from Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection, presence is not simply a physical nearness to someone else. Presence is a life force that permeates, even hums, in the air as we touch the Ground of our being in a single moment. The Spirit hovers around us and is revealed when we are aware our grounded-ness. Like the Spirit and the Ground that move and give life to Creation, we are present in the connection to community--an intangible connection--and like the vitality of the Spirit that connection is cannot be confined to a mere place.
“We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.” -Dorothy Day
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.