Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Slow Church: The EpiscoBadger Conversation Continues!

Tonight, the UW Episcopal community will gather at 1011 University Ave (St. Francis House) at 6:30 p.m., for a shared meal (free!), prayer, and continued conversation on the book Slow Church. This is the 3rd of 4 conversations, but fear not! Each conversation is made to stand alone. For the interested, here are last week's notes. Notes from the first week are here. These notes are adapted from the online study guide, which is available here

Slow Church: Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus
Part I: Ethics

I. Taste (Terroir)

We taste and see *and* “it is partly through through the church that the world tastes God.”
Matthew 5:13  Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth.”
“Salt has a tendency to dissolve, and there is something of Christlikeness in that” (Phil 2:3-7).
Coffee and the Eucharist (57-58).

Questions: What things - for instance, people, practices, convictions - define your [faith community[ and give it its distinctive taste? How can we celebrate these things in a way that does not vainly “puff up” but rather bears witness to the transforming work of God?

What things bring the greatest joy to your [faith community]? Which celebrations are most anticipated each year? Why are these celebrations met with great joy, and how did they come to be so?

II. Stability

The Wisdom of Stability for Churches. Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove
Slowing down in relation to place, people, requires attention to others *and* self. To stay put is to be open to vulnerability and forgiveness. (What are we running from?)

Questions: Where do the members of your church live? What things is the church doing (or could the church be doing) to connect members who live in close proximity? How might members be able to share life together on a daily (or several times a week) basis?

Where are the third places—neither home nor work—where people gather in your neighborhood(s)? Are there members of your congregation regularly engaged in those places? How can they build stronger bridges between your church and the neighborhood? If not, who in your congregation might be called to become engaged in that third place?

“God is transforming creation. If we slow down and stay put long enough, we too will be changed into the likeness of Christ. The scope of our vision will also be changed. Instead of speaking in broad generalities about changing the world, we will find ourselves free to imagine in more specific ways the transformation of our own particular places. We can trust that God is orchestrating the renewal of all creation and that God will raise up people in other places who will care for those places as much as we care for ours.” — Slow Church, p. 74

III. Patience

John 14:5-11 (NRSV)

Questions: In what sorts of situations do you find yourself most impatient? Why are you impatient? How do you deal with your impatience?

Reflect on times when you have acted impatiently as a congregation. What was driving your impatience? What were the outcomes of your impatient action? What would you do differently if you were faced with a similar situation now?

Are there things that you believe are worth pursuing (or protecting) “by any means necessary”? If so what? And why?

If Jesus is not only the person that we are to embody together in our neighborhood but also the Way in which we are to do so, then who do we understand Jesus to be? What did he teach? How did he live? And how are these questions related?

What practices of confession does your church have? Are there stories of when that practice has worked well and benefited the health and well-being of your congregation?

Eugene Peterson says, “A Christian congregation, the church in your neighborhood, has always been the primary location for getting this way and truth and life of Jesus believed and embodied.” (see p. 92). If Peterson is right, what might this mean for the ways in which we share life together?

In what ways do you as a church enter into the sufferings of others in your church or neighborhood? Tell stories of times when you have failed to enter into (or to enter fully into) the sufferings of others.

All I Need Is Everything

Slow down. Hold still.
It’s not as if it’s a matter of will.
Someone’s circling. Someone’s moving
a little lower than the angels.
And it’s got nothing to do with me.
The wind blows through the trees,
but if I look for it, it won’t come.
I tense up. My mind goes numb.
There’s nothing harder than learning how to receive.
All I need is everything.
Inside, outside, feel new skin.
All I need is everything.
Feel the slip and the grip of grace again.

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