Ashes represent a reduction, a simplification, an equivocation of all things. Garden rose and wayside weed both burn to calcium carbonate—the stuff of egg shells and pearls. Read More
Paul: An Apostle's Journey
A book review by Larry Duggins
Douglas Campbell’s new work on Paul is a very readable survey into the writings of Paul. Dr. Campbell, a Duke New Testament professor who will be a key player in their new Certificate in Missional Innovation program, has written a book for the rest of us - clear, understandable and to the point. Read more
Flee, Be Silent, Pray: An Anxious Evangelical Finds Peace with God Through Contemplative Prayer
A Book Review by Larry Duggins
As a leader of a group that tries very hard to be ecumenical and also tries very hard to impress on everyone the importance of spiritual practices that strengthen connection with God, I found Flee, Be Silent, Pray by Ed Cyrzewski quite interesting.
The four-fold practice of showing up, paying attention, participating with God, and letting go of the outcome can be complex. We have been participating and leading experiments that do well, fail, don’t take off, or move in unexpected directions. Our cohort community has been there to share in celebration and ask reflective questions to help us see what is happening to us in new ways.
Wisdom from the Winter Garden
By Kate Rudd
The winter garden is not beautiful to the untrained eye. No more neat, vibrant rows of lettuce, carrots, chard, squash, and tomatoes. No colorful display of flower blossoms or insects abuzz. No neighborhood children running to pick carrots—exclaiming over how a radish grows. Nothing but empty lines, sad perennials. The intelligent gardener uses winter to enrich their soil with a diverse jungle of cover crops to nurture microbial activity, replenish nutrients depleted from last season, and build the soil by growing then composting organic matter. These techniques significantly enhance next season’s potential, but in winter this looks like chaos that doesn’t fill harvest baskets. It is generally barren, decaying, messy. It seems meaningless and a little depressing.
I just spent three hours cleaning up the room shared by my second and third children. I begged, threatened, and cajoled my children to help me. I lost my temper when I found a basket of washed, dried, and folded clothes carelessly upended onto the floor. Every time I clean up my home, I am filled with grating antipathy for the world of physical science. Could we not have been dropped into a universe that tended toward order?
Story Sharing in Portland
by Eric Conklin
A few weeks ago, an evening of story sharing was held at the United Methodist Church’s Peace House in the Irvington neighborhood of Portland, Oregon. There were about 75 people present from a variety of experiences and traditions, all of whom came curious to hear stories and make connections with others. I emceed the event, which was fun and a little nerve racking! There was an opportunity to talk about each of the sponsors for the event, where Missional Wisdom was one of 3. This story sharing event has been an ongoing project of the Parish Collective, a network of neighborhood expressions of micro-faith communities, inspiringly born out of the work of Paul Sparks, Tim Sorens, and Dwight Friesen.
If Paul was a Jew among Jews, I am a first-born among first-borns. I live my life religiously. About twenty years ago, I went hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina with my family and some family friends. The place where we were hiking crossed a rocky bald where there were patches of sensitive lichen. A helpful sign instructed hikers to follow a trail of yellow painted dots to minimize the ecological impact of hundreds of booted feet. After a few minutes of ambulatory dot-to-dot, we sat down to look at the view. My mother, always aware of her children, had seen my careful attempts to minimize my lichen-impact, and teasingly asked if I was sitting on a dot.