In September of 2009 we discussed what theStory is all about. Call them values, distinctives, or whatever, these are the broad strokes that both shape and empower our community.
Rooted: That God’s story (the alternative story to the empire that we find ourselves in) takes root in us and we in turn root wherever we find ourselves.
Tabled: That we are assured a place at God’s table and in turn our hope is to be referred to as Jesus was, ‘drinking and eating, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners’.
Risked: That by embracing a holy insecurity, betting it all on God, fear is neutralized and in turn we become our true selves.
Along the way, the following authors and insights helped shape the position of our hearts and minds.
“The God of Scripture spends his time in history wading chin-deep with us through the mud of our sins.” (Robert Capon)
“The way of the [Christian] is not the way of upward mobility in which our world has invested so much but the way of downward mobility ending at the cross. This might sound morbid and masochistic, but for those who have heard the voice of the first love and said yes to it, the downward-moving way of Jesus is the way to the joy and the peace of God, a joy and peace that is not of this world.”(Henri Nouwen)
“It was not enough that we announce the gospel, explain it or whip up enthusiasm for it. [It must be] lived – lived in detail, lived in the streets and on the job, lived in the bedrooms and kitchens, lived through cancer and divorce, lived with children and marriage. (Eugene Peterson)
“The church is then not simply the bearer of the message of reconciliation, in the way a newspaper or a telephone company can bear any message with which it is entrusted. Nor is the church simply the result of a message, as an alumni association is the product of a school or the crowd in a movie theatre is the product of the reputation of the film. That men and women are called together into a new social wholeness is itself the work of God, which gives meaning to history, from which both personal conversion (whereby individuals are called into this meaning) and missionary instrumentalities are derived.” (John Howard Yoder)
“The spiritual life is not something we add onto an already busy life. What we are talking about is to impregnate and infiltrate and control what we already to with an attitude of service to God.” (Richard Foster)
“Salvation is not only a goal for the afterlife. Salvation is a reality of every day that we can taste here and now.” (Henri Nouwen, “Can You Drink the Cup?)
“Over a table of bread and sauces, maybe lamb and spices, Jesus demands the costly allegiance of all present. In the ancient world, when kings and emperors demanded similar allegiance, normally it was done on the battlefield, an army ready to enforce their ruler’s decree. From the lips of the Christ comes such a command, not trumpeted on the battlefield, but at, of all places, an ordinary dinner table.” (Alan Hirsh, “Exiles”)
“This is our vocation: to convert the enemy into a guest and to create the free and fearless space where brotherhood and sisterhood can be formed and fully experienced.”
(Henri Nouwen, “Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life”)
“The quality of their fellowship broke down their barriers…the home provided the most natural context for gossiping the gospel.” (Michael Green, “Evangelism in the Early Church”)
“Is the point knowledge, or should it be peace in the mystery of the unknown? Jesus said he came to make the unknowable known, but this is a different kind of known…Its not a ‘I’ve got all the answers and the corner on God’ it’s a ‘I know God. Not merely of him, but I know him. We know each other.’ There’s a beauty and simplicity to that, it takes the pressure off, and transforms Christianity back into its intent: not a system to be saved, but a fraternity/brother and sisterhood of the known.”
“The will of God now becomes not the orders of a superior directing what a subordinate must do, but the longing of a lover for what the beloved is. It is a desire, not a performance, but for a person; a wish not that the beloved will be obedient, but that she will be herself – the self that is already loved to distraction. The will of God , seen this way, is not in order to something, but because of Someone.” (Robert Capon)
“When the forms of an old culture are dying, a new culture is created by a few people who are not afraid to be insecure. (Rudolf Bahro)
“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)
“When the story of these times gets written, we want it to say that we did all we could, and it was more than anyone could have imagined.” – Bono.