Saturday, August 29, 2009

Open Hand on the Emerging Roundabout

Hop in and buckle up! Prepare to join our Open Hand tribe as we begin a season of more intentional exploration on the emerging roundabout......prayer, worship, table fellowship, learning, listening, global outreach, social business ventures, externships, emergent theology and family/organizational emotional systems.

Pitch-in gathering on Sunday evening 6:00pm, September 20th at our home on the eve of the Autumn Equinox and Derek's birthday (21st). Celebrating the challenge of change and spirit of adventure ! Cheers, O'

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Nine minutes well spent

Rabbi Ed Friedman on Steward of the Vision

"The steward of the 'Vision' is also the steward of the self."

Rabbi Ed Friedman reminds us that a leader is one who can most fire the groups imaginative capacities while stimulating their resources.

In his thinking a leader:

1. functions with integrity
2. promotes responsibility in others
3. clearly defines themselves to others
4. regulates their own anxiety
5. stay's connected to others
6. stimulates the groups strengths and resources
7. stays the course

Leaders act on what they believe and try to live life to the max. Effective leaders:

a. are focused on self (integrity, responsibility) and not on others
b. focus on strength and empower people, stirring the groups resources, enlarging everyone's options
c. they help people grow by discerning between content and process, giving time to situations, and staying goal oriented
d. focus on challenge and not on comfort - without shaming or scolding, instead asking questions, pointing everyone to the imaginative capacities of the cortex, inviting more light

Comforters, appeasers, know it all advisors are not helpful in anxious relationship systems

e. focus on integrity and not unity - looking through the window of our soul, not on pleasing or being nice (not mechanical maneuvering of people, or our need for others love and approval)

Love is only possible when we speak through the window of our own soul and speak the truth as we experience it.

There is no true unity if integrity is compromised - being committed to the truth is far more powerful than any technique.

f. focus on the system and not the symptom - we sometimes see what is happening but not what led to it (preoccupied with a symptom and its cause or relief rather than on the system) We then miss what the system is about, the structure, patterns and proceses behind the symptoms.

Integrity = soundness, completeness, unity, purity (synonym - honesty)

Secrecy = anxious reactivity - it only produces more anxiety, secrets therefore are generators of triangles and the secrecy itself is harmful, not the contents of the secret.

Secret meetings (closed) neglect the counsel to speak the truth in love. We often protect and refuse to expose irresponsible whispers.

Adapted from Rabbi Ed Friedman books - Generation to Generation and Failure of Nerve

Monday, August 24, 2009

Rabbi Ed Friedman on Anxiety & Change

Adopted from Rabbi Ed Friedman - Failure of Nerve Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix

Another White Board designed by O'Steven

'Vision is basically an emotional rather than a cerebral phenomenon, depending more on a leader's capacity to deal with anxiety than his or her professional training or degree.'
Rabbi Ed Friedman

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Gumaze - Ephesus, Turkey

Hey Scott - this is the ruins of the gymnasium in Ephesus that Paul would have worked out in!

OPEN HAND & The Emerging Roundabout

Map of Christian Practice: Adapted by Open Hand from The Great Emergence - How Christianity is Changing and Why by Phyllis Tickle

Another White Board designed by O'Steven

As our tribe enters a time of redirection on the emerging roundabout, I am reminded by Rabbi Ed Friedman that our spirituality is a divine / human process of responding to life's challenges in ways that are creative, imaginative and innovative.

Our travels on the roundabout of emergence Christianity have been informed by twelve years of wandering the landscape both at home and abroad, guided by road maps laid out by the faithful that went before us.

Being a scribe and map lover I logged in my journals (65 and counting) many of the distinct guideposts along the way that proved to be challenging descriptions of reality.

Here are a few of those guideposts that have been influential in helping our Open Hand community find its way over the vast terrain of Christian practice and into the emerging roundabout:

1. Open Hand is focused on visionary risk-taking, recognizing that recklessness is not a virtue nor is the opposite of risk-refusal.

2. Open Hand promotes covenantal relationships that clearly define the rights, respect and responsibilities required for all those traveling with us.

3. Open Hand maintains a simple, decentralized organizational structure that links people together through relationship, shared faith and mutual accountability.

4. Open Hand promotes the challenge of emotional courage and stamina in order to commit to and pursue lifetime goals beyond our current horizons.

5. Open Hand operates relationally in the context of intentional community and cooperation with local and international associates and organizations.

6. Open Hand functions as a conduit to stimulate economic vitality, social responsibility and discipleship / mentoring with a focus on the marginalized of the world.

7. Open Hand organizes joint ventures as structures that assess and prioritize peoples needs while aiming for a disciplined, focused mode of administering a potential abundance of resources to meet them, leading to expectancy, hope and confidence.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Entering & Receiving the Kingdom of God # 2.

Cultivating Awareness & The Kingdom of God - Scott answers Derek's question, "How would I know that this type of meditation is having a positive impact on my life - that it is "working"?

Derek...."How do I know it's working" is an insightful question. Meditation, like most spiritual disciplines, can be compared to physical training. People that engage in jogging, weight lifting, etc. normally have a goal in mind such as losing weight, improved health, increased strength. The clearer they are on their goal, the easier it is for them to measure their progress or the lack thereof and make adjustments. Most people don't expect immediate results...unless they have a bow flex! They know the only sure way to experience real change in their body is to be in it for the long haul. The point to grasp here is that, generally speaking, no one doubts that real, measurable results will occur if they stick to a proven form of physical training.

Unfortunately the same cannot be said for most of us when it comes to spiritual training. Does it really work? How do I do it? We simply don't have much experience in these things. They are not embedded in our popular culture, which is where many today look for answers to the question of how to live life. Others that look to the Christian faith for answers to life have been told, for a long time, that "working" at their faith will exclude them from grace....nothing could be further from the truth. As a well known author has said "grace is opposed to earning but not to effort".

The apostle Paul, writing to his young friend Timothy had this adivce, "Train (gumnaze) yourself unto godliness; for while bodily training (gumnasia) is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come" (1 Tim 4:7-8, RSV). (If it isn't obvious, "gumaze" is where we get our term "Gymnasium").

I think the challenge here is first, to become convinced at some level that spiritual training is valuable for the lives that we actually live. Second, find the spiritual "Jack Lalannes" that have gone before us and learn with them how to enter into this kind of training. Finally make a specific goal for your meditation...could be greater faith, patience, direction, etc. Over time and with imput from others, I think you will know if it's working. It seems to me that at the end of the day, those that get the most out of the invitation to enter / receive the Kingdom of God in fact will be gym rats. Scott Rieger

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

OPEN HAND - Creating a Community 'Rule'

OPEN HAND Community Roundabout and the emergent church: Adapted from The Great Emergence - How Christianity is Changing and Why by Phyllis Tickle

Another White Board designed by O'Steven

I was reminded recently by Chris Webb of Renovare that faith communities have always used the structure of their environment to articulate the Gospel - showing how the life of God becomes uniquely manifest in each particular setting.

Our tribal life together in Open Hand has been distilled over the past decade into a pattern for sharing our faith. Historically a 'Rule' is a written record of the patterns of activity that a faith community generate to encode the essential rhythms of their shared life in Christ. It isn't a legalistic set of instructions but more of an evocative description of the way we chose to live in commuinty and our reasons for doing so.

Webb describes it as an invitation to commit ourselves to one another in a particular way. The goal being to intentionally shape and create opportunities for us all to become more fully alive. A community 'Rule' helps sketch out this process while encouraging and inspiring the entire tribe.

He has four simple suggesstions for creating a good commuinty 'Rule':

  • BE OPEN - let the community help shape their Rule
  • BE REALISTIC - a good rule will stretch and challenge but not be harsh or burdensome
  • BE CREATIVE - include the unique gifts, ministries, talents and passions and any distinct callings within the community
  • BE SIMPLE - keep it clear, practical and short

As an example the Northumbria Community in northern England has a one sentence Rule:

"The Rule we embrace and keep will be that of availability and vulnerability."

Here are six elements that Webb highlights as having been prominent in many great Rules in Christian tradition:

1.) Intention - this is a statement of intention and usually expresses who we hope to become through God's grace working among us.

2.) Prayer - is the foundation of a faith community when we are together and apart

3.) Work - laboring in creation is another expression of the image of God implanted within us. We need understanding or how our working lives contribute to the kingdom of God being revealed today.

4.) Hospitality - shows how we receive newcomers and strangers who simply desire to visit us awhile and those who wish to join our community.

5.) Mission - our Rule reflects our callings as a community helping promote an environment which actively supports them.

6.) Commitment - community is built on the foundation of love, dedication and commitment to others and the Rule helps design and support the architecture and structure of our shared lives.

Perhaps this is the season for our OPEN HAND community to create a Rule that reflects our unique tribal identity.

Adopted from Rhythms of Life Series 1 Part 2 Community by Chris Webb

O' on the roundabout

More sinner or sinned against?

Five simple words, articulated recently by a friend over coffee, stoned my soul. They shattered the hardness of my heart with uncanny ease, releasing a heavy burden that had restricted my freedom. A freedom to love deeply and forgive quickly while taking full responsibility for my life.

With a refreshed imagination I can once again see all kinds of unlimited possibilities and profound opportunities as our rhino tribe leans into the Kingdom of God. Certainly we each are sinner and have been sinned against. What an amazing grace to recognize that none of us are innocent, yet all are forgiven. Go and do likewise. Amen.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Tall Josh and the Guys - by Derek Powell

Whale Hunting - Berry Branch Lake circa 1990's

Peter, John and Nick Reynolds with a rare white whale - prior to the whaling ban that took effect in 1995. This one almost swamped their rig and they imagine he was as big as Moby Dick !