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What is the Most Important Thing?
by Andrea Lingle

“What is the most important thing?”

“That everyone feels included.”

That is the simple mantra around which I have built my parenthood.

Jesus was asked a similar question and his answer was a little different, but his answer and my answer bear a striking family resemblance.

Love the Lord your God… and love your neighbor as yourself.

This is Wisdom for the Way. It is a weekly newsletter, written in the spirit of the Missional Wisdom Foundation, and our hope is that you will find your place, here, among us. Included. Loved. Essential.

I introduce myself as Andrea, but my husband introduces me as Annie. When people ask what name I prefer, I can’t answer them. My name is Andrea; he calls me Annie. There is a whole plan for this newsletter. Week by week. Readings, organization, themes, an overarching metaphor. It’s all very well done. And this week, next to my name, color coded in green, is, “Introductions.” That is my task. To introduce myself. But I am not even comfortable with which name to give. I am Andrea, thinker, writer, social justice talker, committee meeting goer, and I am Annie, seed planter, mother, dandelion blower, dreamer. So, I will simply leave it. I am that and that.

I live near Asheville, North Carolina, in the heart of urban Appalachia (pronounced app-uh-LACH-uh).  Here are rivers so cold and beautiful that the instant you step into them you realize that the universe is a vast and mysterious place. The only right response to such ancient immensity is to peer into the rippling water and pull out the perfect skipping rock.

Four skips is my record.

The Missional Wisdom Foundation is beginning to grow here in Asheville. A root cutting, sprouted from the original; the same stock in a new setting. What will happen in this place?

“Show up, pay attention, cooperate with God, release the outcome.”

This is the contemplative stance of the Missional Wisdom Foundation. It is beautiful because it invites us all, far flung as we are, to realize that the work of love is not only for those who are qualified. It turns out that the question is not, what will happen in this place, but what is already happening in every place. Living missionally is a standpoint we can all assume.

Because the most important thing is…that everyone feels included.

Invitation to Missional Mindfulness:

  • Who are you?
  • Do you feel included?
  • How can you make the one next to you, whomever that may be, feel like a part of the whole?

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