If you were at Eastern Hills this past weekend, you were a part of the kick off of our FLOURISH Initiative – and what a great kick off it was! The awareness of God’s Spirit, the sense of purpose, the buzz of excitement and the overarching feeling of unity was something to behold. And it is more than a sermon series or some sort of campaign – I believe that this is the new normal for our church.
Please continue reading today’s post at Eastern Hills Staff Blog.
Happy Haiku Friday… on Sunday! Sometimes the haiku come of their own free will… not on a schedule or because of a selected topic… sometimes they rise up from our subconscious in response to, or acknowledgement of, our situation – our struggle – a mile marker on our journey…
What haiku rises in you today?
Doze at a distance
Awake in proximity
Gift not lost on me
Happy Haiku Friday to All!
This week let’s consider our pals, our gang, our mates – the folks we live with, the ones we run with, the hearts we laugh and cry with – the ones who have our back and will walk into the fire with us – let’s hear it folks – ready, set, HAIKU!
We’re gathered and sent
All for one and One for all
Happy Haiku Friday Everyone! Been a while since I have visited this corner of the blog but here we are again! Today’s topic? Repair… home repair, heart repair, any kind of repair… drop your syllables in the comments and let’s Haiku!
Sometimes the best way
To proclaim love and build trust
Is just to be still
Have you ever seen a little kid stretch their arms way up, reaching as high as they can and shouting, “Look How Tall I Am!!” …then promptly losing their balance and toppling over? They are excited about the upward growth but forgot about their balance.
The last several weeks in our Sunday Gathering, we have been talking about ‘How to Grow a Disciple’ and focusing on the practices and environments that Eastern Hills believes are crucial for this growth. Good stuff, for sure, but in the back of my mind I am reminded of that little kid and a tree I saw at Beaver Lake last year…
Please continue reading today’s post at Eastern Hills Staff Blog.
I have been hearing the word ‘vulnerable’ a lot lately – at my church we talk about living available and vulnerable lives – in my community we have discussed what vulnerability means within shared spaces – in my heart I wonder how vulnerable can I be and still survive? The thing is, every time I hear someone talk about vulnerability, it seems they define it somewhat differently, as if none of us are working from the same definition. Or, in the immortal words of Inigo Montoya,
“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
The first time I can remember ever hearing the word ‘vulnerability’ was in a Superman comic.
One of the defining attributes of the Man of Steel is his invulnerability, usually shown via pictures of bullets bouncing off his chest or needles breaking on his skin. In short, he could not be pierced. This would infer that vulnerability, then, is in essence a body that can be pierced. But is that all it is?
I have listened to speakers drop details inappropriate for the public forum and then defend their choices by calling it vulnerability.
I have sat at the table with ‘friends’ who used their words to dissect, all the while calling it relational vulnerability.
I have, myself, claimed vulnerability when what I was really doing was hiding.
But is being vulnerable really about breakable skin – or shock and awe – or a license to kill – or an excuse to hide? Are these definitions complete? Are they even accurate in part?
Dictionary.com defines ‘vulnerable’ as: ‘.’ That would certainly point us in the direction of the Superman illustration, the laying aside any layers of protection, the shield if you will. But does it pave the way for those other definitions?
A shield is a passive form of protection, it stops the incoming attack. Not by reaching out but by standing resolute. The sword, on the other hand, is an active form of protection, lashing out and seeking to destroy attacks before they come in. ‘Shock and awe’, ‘the license to kill’, ‘an excuse to hide’ – these are active forms of self protection. And I believe that our tendency to drop the shield while still brandishing the sword is the way that we try to be invulnerably vulnerable.
Without my shield I can get hurt, I can be bruised. But without my sword I can be destroyed, I can’t fight back. And therein lies the dilemma, the dangerous reality of vulnerability…
It seems that real vulnerability not only requires laying down both the sword and the shield, but also kicking them as far out of reach as possible…
If I am to be vulnerable with you then I will not attack. And neither will I defend.
I will simply be – with you.
I love going to concerts. I have often told people that I will go see anyone play live, even if I don’t like the style of music. Seeing a band or an artist play live always teaches me something. But, I didn’t always feel that way…
Phil Keaggy is one of my favorite guitar players. I would like to say that I have patterned some of my playing after him, but the truth is I can’t really even comprehend what or how he plays. I have seen him in concert several times and the first few concerts left me with a sense of sadness – I came away knowing that I had witnessed a level of skill, passion and freedom that I could never match and the sensible thing would be to put my guitar down now.
I am not sure when the shift happened or who gave me the idea (I will credit my wife, however, because usually the best stuff comes from her…) but somewhere the idea was given to me to “take one thing.” If I watched the concert as a whole, tried to take in and comprehend everything PK was doing, I came up empty and frustrated. However, if I “took one thing” from the night and endeavored to master that, I came out of the evening with a goal and drive to accomplish it. And in the end, learning some fresh nuance to playing always makes me a better player.
This idea crosses easily into several facets of our lives – case in point, our Sunday Gathering a few weeks back. As the Worship Minister, I get to hear each week’s Message several times and the week in question had a lot of good insights in it. The problem was that being in a bit of a spiritually dry season, I risked missing all of it. Then I remembered Phil Keaggy and the concept of ‘taking one thing’… so, I did.
And in the end, learning some fresh nuance of faith – no matter how small – always makes me a better Follower.