Monday, December 7, 2009

OPEN HAND "Ubuntu" 1997 - 2010

"Ubuntu is very difficult to render into a Western language. It speaks of the very essence of being human. You share what you have. It is to say, "My humanity is caught up, is inextricably bound up, in yours." We belong in a bundle of life. We say, "A person is a person through other persons." It is not, "I think therefore I am." It says rather...."I AM HUMAN BECAUSE I BELONG." Desmond Tutu

I am often amazed when I reflect on our Open Hand global community and the unique fabric we have woven together over the past twelve years. From the beginning we decided to relocate as intentional neighbors embedded in urban Indianapolis near Tabernacle Presbyterian Church. The prophetic words we received and lived into said that from here the nations would come and bless us and from here we would go to the nations and be a blessing. In creating our organ-ic community we apprenticed ourselves to processing an influence and quality of being together, capable of generating systemic multi-cultural life forces.

With an open source architecture and global mobility designed into our community DNA, we generated over the years a robust network of multi-tasking Kingdom opportunities. These include but are not limited to:

1. Emerging Faith Community / table fellowship - Surrounding all of our activities, is a subtle natural rhythm drawing us together in Christian worship, as we join our Lord in the banquet table feast. Our community is continually refreshed and challenged by the telling and retelling of our Kingdom journey's, creating myths and cultural symbols that help us understand who we are. We celebrate the sacraments of our shared lives together with weddings, baptisms, commissionings and a sprinkling of lively special occasions. Our windows into the Kingdom of God are wide open, encouraging a prophetic imagination and passion for inviting people from all over the world to join us on our journey.

2. Mana Deschisa Romania (Open Hand) - We helped launch Marshall McKenna in 1997 by commissioning, sponsoring, and encouraging his life among the street kids of Bucharest. This connection continues to thrive today with a dynamic relationship of mutuality including the input of countless individuals, churches, and organizations in the USA and Europe. Our expanding global network is creating a labor of love for those homeless and disadvantage young adults of Romania. Over the past several years Open Hand has commissioned and sent out other explorer's to establish and connect missional networks worldwide. (Kenya, Norway, Holland, Australia)

3. Church-State Faith-based Initiatives - In 1998 Open Hand helped establish the first applications of faith-based initiatives in urban Indianapolis, combining the activities of church and state (DCS) in providing Faith-based / Home-based mental health services to juveniles, children in need and families in crisis. Over 500 families have spent between 3-6 months of weekly interaction with our Christian counselors in their homes exploring the dynamics of spirituality and family emotional process.

4. Coaching, Counseling, Consulting - For over ten years our community has provided dynamic faith-based interventions for individuals, couples, families, and organizations in crisis and conflict. With a systemic orientation combining the insights of Christianity with Natural Systems and Marriage & Family Therapy, countless people (including many in positions of leadership) have apprenticed themselves to new ways of conceptualizing their lives and the surrounding relationship systems of extended family, workplace vocation and congregational life. Lives have been powerfully impacted, marriages rejuvenated, leaders empowered and relationships restored in the process or our global coaching, counseling and consulting.

5. Global Learning Community as YWAM Associates - Pioneered by Rod and implemented by our community, thousands of Youth With A Mission students from around the world (Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand and North and South America) have tasted freedom as they personally explore vital new understandings of healthy, dynamic faith and empowering relationships. We teach in YWAM classes (University of the Nations) worldwide and will be traveling to Singapore, Hawaii and Brazil in 2010.

6. Arts - All of the arts are celebrated and encouraged in Open Hand and embedded in the culture of our community for the nourishment of our hearts, minds, bodies and souls. The Starkey's have pioneered excursions out west, sharing art and faith with young Native American's in an effective effort to multiply this nourishment. Artists Julie Ball and Derek Powell have sponsored art shows, installations and the annual gatherings of select artists in the Limner Society.

7. Urban Practicum -Internships / Outreach - In connection with our faith-based counseling and YWAM relationship worldwide, our community has been selected by several organizations as a training and equipping site providing practical hands on internships for local and international graduate students completing university work. Many YWAM students from around the world have subsequently lived in our Open Hand community while completing a three month urban practicum with us.

8. Publishing: Teaching / Coaching Materials - From the idea of the open handed metaphor, Rod and others of us are constantly developing life and faith coaching materials and book manuscripts. As a community we apprentice ourselves to a wide variety of biblical, scientific, and scholarly authors in helping shape and inform our understandings of what it means to live and work intentionally in the global community for the Kingdom of God.

9. Hospitality - We continue to create an open space within our community where guests can enter for a short period of a few days, extending to several weeks or months as necessary. They are encouraged to explore their freedom as human beings created in God's image and are in a safe space for processing life - for falling apart if necessary and coming together, for experimenting with new ways of being and being with, one another.

10. Peer-based Networking - As a global learning community, Open Hand values dialogue and diversity in an attempt to explore and process the manifold mysteries of life and faith. A high value is placed on education and sharing the fruits of social networking.

11. Excursion and Resource Teams - Open Hand organizes, sponsors and launches local and international outreach teams to the nations, seeking to lure the larger world into the Kingdom of God. We have had teams recently in Italy and Romania and plan to reach out to Kenya, China and Romania in 2010.

Membership Requirement - a. faith of a mustard seed, b. the ability to say "yes" more than no to life's challenges, c. a valid passport to the global marketplace

OPEN HAND opportunities - 1. participation in our Table Fellowship, 2. utilization of our open source system for the development of new Kingdom opportunities, 3. networking partnerships - creating new Open Hand missional communities worldwide, 4. imaging new adventures and leading outreaches for our community involvement, 5. partnering with us in launching new social businesses to help sustainability while focused on the urban marginalized youth and families

1 comment:

  1. Brilliant! Thanks for posting and reminding me of who I am (we are!). --Rich