These past weeks have been a rich gift of space between my previous role as Senior Pastor of a large urban church and my upcoming new role as a teaching pastor in the same church. There’s been a great morning rhythm of prayer, meditation, and scripture reading, along with some daily time learning German. And then there’s the rest of the time:
we’ve done a lot of skiing…
We’ve had lots of kids and grandkids in our home, including our newest!
I’ve done a lot of reading
Including exciting stuff not on the list above
We’ve been building a tiny house, a little hermitage named Hildegard, for reason I’ll share soon
Donna and I did some of the work ourselves, which was a new skill set for me, and very life giving!
There’s been a backdrop throughout all this rhythm of prayer, meditation, work, and exercise. The backdrop has been an emerging vision, born at the convergence point of cultural longings and the church's failure to address those longings. I’m mindful that the church at large is facing immense challenges, including the politicization of the church, the departure of young adults by the hundreds of thousands, the church’s needless dogmas and division or non-essentials, and more.
What’s arisen in me as I think and pray about these challenges is a desire to proclaim good news to people beyond the walls of traditional religious institutions. Millions are hungry for meaning but are disillusioned with evangelical Christianity’s link to political power (which, incidentally, isn’t a problem unique to evangelicals - it’s been happening ever since the Roman Empire), and its echo chamber language and debates. They're looking for faith expressions that cross social divides, steward the environment, bring internal peace and fortification to their souls and pour hope into the world. They're not finding those longings met in current expressions of church life. Someone needs to be speaking to them.
The good news for them and all the rest of us as well, is that Christ offers the promise but that we can live lives so filled with the resurrection life of Christ, that we become rivers of living water, pouring beauty, justice, healing, hope, mercy, justice, and love into a very thirsty, tired, and cynical world. That’s a life I’d like to live. That’s a message that needs to be shared.
In the picture, you’ll notice there are six streams. That’s because our each of our lives, represented by the main river in the middle, are fed by six streams. Each stream represent a foundational question about life. These are the questions that have been taking root in me during this sabbatical season. They're questions everyone asks, whether consciously or not. How those questions are answered will determine whether people ultimately move toward hope or cynicism, generosity or greed, peace or anxiety, wholeness or fragmentation.
The beauty of these questions is that there are answers. The answers come from our Creator, delivered through Scripture, Creation, and the wisdom of many desert Fathers and Mothers, Celtic saints, mystics and evangelists, authors and activists, preachers and artists.
I’m presently building a youtube channel called spiritsoulbody wholeness, and I’ll be making some simple, homemade, videos in order to “offer people tools and next steps in their journey toward wholeness”. Everything on this blog, the new YouTube channel, and the podcast will focus on these questions and the timeless wisdom answer which, if followed, will lead to life!
The tide is turning for this sabbatical, away from mostly rest, and back to work. Two weeks from today I’ll be in Austria and three weeks from today in Sweden. I both cases I’ll be teaching themes from this emerging work and then returning home to take up a teaching mantel again in the Seattle church. I’m ready, because now more than ever, I believe that the good news is very good indeed! Now, though, I’m also eager to share the good news with people outside the walls of the church as well, and that’s what I’ll be doing here and on youtube. I hope you’ll join me by subscribing!