Thursday, February 16, 2017

Newsletter Article: Different, Not Divided

6 Week Study
I have been thinking quite hard about leading a short term study as we approach Easter. In many ways I felt God leading me to bring us into study and conversation about what is vitally important to us in life and faith. After much searching (both on the internet and in my soul), I came upon a study called Different, Not Divided: Practicing a Third Way.

Here is a quote from the first session:
“More than ever, we feel the divides increasing. We see it on Facebook and other social media. One comment or post can set off a slew of negative responses. We hear it in the news in phrases like, "the Evangelical vote" or the "Liberal left." We experience it in our churches when we begin to hear that the church needs to make a statement about their "position on _______" and you realize people are going to have to choose.”

In a series of very informal videos, Kathy Escobar and Karl Wheeler – leaders of the Refuge, a faith community remind us:
"Churches are closing every day. Beautiful, important communities that are desperately
needed in a world thirsty for Love and Light turn off the lights and close their doors.
Often it is at the end of a painful journey that began with a disagreement, maybe over the meaning and intention of scripture, or culturally divisive issues, or it could just be about who gets to pick the color of carpet.'

"When we love our theology more than our brothers and sisters we are usually left with
only two options: 1. Create increasingly larger, theologically monolithic and
homogeneous churches, or 2. Disintegrate, fracture and eventually close the doors and
lose relationship with each other.'

"For almost 10 years in The Refuge community, we have tried to practice a third option—a Third Way--where instead of fighting for our positions or fleeing for the safe haven of a group that looks, thinks, and believes like us--we live in the tension of our difference.'

"We are different, not divided."

Intrigued? I am. Uncomfortable with the thought? I am that too. And yet it seems deeply necessary at this time in our social, political, and religious life. The purpose of the material is to actually invite your friends, brothers, and sisters to join in these conversations with you.

My thought for this study is that we will meet on Wednesday nights from 7pm to 8pm starting March 15th through April 19th in the sanctuary where we have access to video, sound and space for discussion. I know that this will conflict with other events and meetings, there is simply no way around it, and at this time I feel like this is the best use of my time. The session titles are:
      1.   Fight or Flight vs. The Third Way, Part 1
2.      Fight or Flight vs. The Third Way, Part 2
3.      Unity vs. Uniformity
4.      Safety vs. Comfort
5.      Dignified Dialogue
6.      Hope for the Church
Childcare will be provided.

So will you join me in a six week study, as we find God in the tension?

No comments:

Post a Comment