“…your place in the family of things.”

It had not been my intention to pick up a theme on this blog as I move toward the end of 2011, but it appears that the breezes of fall have drawn me to a place called “belonging”. The week has been complicated with politics and passion. There is a surge in this country–a surge of energy calling for action from a new type of community. The question is once again being asked, “who is my neighbor? and what I give up in order to make life better for someone else?”

It’s been a long time since such a large group of people discussed the concerns of the greater good. Our society has forged itself into the 21st century with one banner– “It’s all about ME.” People have stood defiantly alone with their “rights” – the ‘right’ to make profit, the right to claim privilege, the right to leave families unsupported as homes are repossessed and jobs drastically cut. This focus on self has thrown us dangerously off-balance. The OCCUPY Movement has highlighted the selfish stance which has so deeply affected this country – the whole world. The people gathering all over the country are meeting one another, again, for the first time. Stories are being shared and heard. Community has been created in this forum, a community energized to reclaim balance and move forward with a renewed sense of truth.

There is no one-way. Finding balance will not be neat and clean. At the core, this is about ‘being known’ – belonging to something larger than self. This is a time for people to find their place in the greater family and, with all sincere imperfection, contribute to the balance we so passionately seek.

WILD GEESE
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clear blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting–
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Mary Oliver

to choose kindness..

as the sun sets on this Sabbath, I am acutely aware of the battle for power occurring among the ‘leaders’ of this country. I try to steer far from writing about politics (in obvious ways) — yet tonight as many people go to bed fearful of what tomorrow might bring, I touch the tip of this topic in hopes to introduce a different way to look at this time in history. some of us remember the movement called “random acts of kindness’. books were written, cards were designed and calendars created to help remind us of the importance of kindness. I was always curious as to why we needed such prodding to treat others, stranger and friend, with a caring heart.

this way of “acting” is no longer a given in relationships nor held in esteem by many in public service. and so as we move toward a critical moment in this nation’s history, I find the words – choose kindness – as each day’s mantra. while we are surrounded by news that’s purpose is to create anxiety and fear, let us test the practice of sharing kindness and good news. Below is an article concerning the influence of ‘good news’. For many of us sharing ‘good news’ is part of our life as followers of Jesus – at this time be encouraged to do this as suggested by St. Francis; “Preach the gospel (good news), if necessary use words”

How good news can inspire good deeds

the youth in our lives, our faith communities, our world…

So many times we seem to stretch toward our young people in an effort to keep them connected to the church, to give them a place to be safe and express their uniqueness without criticism. With good intentions, ‘reaching-out’ can often feel like pulling-back’.

Young people have eyes and imagination looking ahead to what will be. Their vision of the church-future most certainly has the foundation passed to them across the centuries but its appearance and expression will reflect God’s culture (some might use kingdom) in a world not yet realized.

What would it be like to sit, wait, welcome and listen? Their perspective is important now. A Faith of Their Own — an article from the blog, ‘BuildingFaith‘, offers some helpful insight.

what then must we do?

all created in the image of God — how do we honor our differences and celebrate our common life?

we  hear news of brutal death in Uganda – death of a person striving to live out his baptismal covenant — ‘respecting the dignity of every human being’. David Kato will be remembered by many as a martyr. He was a son, brother, and friend to those who have few friends. May those left behind find comfort and strength in one another.

The article noted here offers an important perspective — someone telling the story of Kato’s funeral and the Spirit’s movement. The question remains, ‘what then must we do?’

A reflection and prayer — David Kato’s funeral

are we really listening?

Wise and honest words from this moment… are our young people invited to ‘be here now’? One person’s thoughts – click here