Category Archives: Friends

“Food is church”

So much going on these days. I suppose it is a good thing to be spending so much time actually doing things for, with, and in light of community that I don’t have much time or energy for the writing. It’s hard to sit still long enough to think through a blog post. I think the base, the foundation, for where my (and many in the community) thoughts and action take grounding is in food. Really, this is where it should be with those seeking out the village experience, as it is the means for our survival and the focal point of our gathering.

We gathered for Spiritual Integration class last night at myc yoga and our friend Jill shared her experience with food sourcing and local food security. We’ve been going through a three month dialog series on Foundations in Sustainable Community. Last night was profound… It really is pretty overwhelming to think of the rising problems of food scarcity and how we can increase our resilience as the times change. As a community, we have all that we need. With a little organization, some personal and community gardens, and more conscious spending, the possibilities are endless.

One of my favorite things that was said, thanks to Chris, was that he sees “food as church.” I guess I really do see that. Especially after our Saturday morning breakfasts. With 20-30 plus people showing up, music playing, kids running around, and food in abundance, I see it as a beautiful example of the community (the village) celebrating the gifts that we all have to give. No one has to be any certain way or believe any certain thing. All are welcome with embraces… late or early or right on time.

As we begin to pay closer attention to our bodies and what we put in them… in light of what I wrote about in the last post, it is so essential that we begin focusing on food and giving it a very important place in our communities.

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City Church and things changing in Bend

**Edit:I have made some changes to the following post and comments as I realize it is terribly bad form to begin naming churches in negative ways. I never want to slam churches and what they are trying to do.

Please know that I apologize for the deliberate naming. My feelings don’t change, but better to not name.

Also, in no way am I trying to link City Church with anything else that other churches are doing. My comments are my own and not belonging to City church as a whole.** With that said:

I gotta say I’m proud. Proud of my good friend, Kevin Wright, one of the pastors at the community I am getting involved at, City Church, here in Bend, OR. He has just recently been on the program, The Story, on public broadcasting.

Here’s the LINK for the audio.

City Church | Bend OR

This all reminds me of a post I put up a few months back, about the inevitable division that I see happening within Christianity and within Bend as well. It’s a painful time we are facing right now and going to be facing soon. My thinking in the fall of 2008, was that here in Bend we would see a number of individuals really get raked across the coals because they are trying to think and do Christianity outside the box of traditional Christianity. I had no idea that it would happen so soon.

The dissolving of Oasis I didn’t see coming so soon. I think sometimes we try and soften the impact by letting people know what we think in small doses or doing what we can to change our language to help others digest it better. My thinking is that the same people are going to be effected. It can happen all at once or we can prolong the pain and stretch it out.

Another friend of mine just had a very frustrating and saddening dismissal from his church. This church here in town let him go as there was apparently too many students thinking for themselves and asking questions. At a time when the students were more excited than ever about following Jesus and my friend was more fulfilled than ever in youth ministry, they decided not to renew his contract. He was to be done in two weeks. After many rumors, much incomplete information given, and church politics, my friend and his wife could use some prayer.

So all this has happened in the first two months of 2009. What’s next? I am kind of glad that I am able to do what I am most passionate about independently of the overarching perceptions and pedestals of a church hierarchy. While it is so difficult to imagine, at this point in life, that I will not be paid to do ministry… there is a bit of freedom there. I am called to be a spiritual leader, no a professional pastor-person. We need more spiritual leaders (who actually are not always liked and are not always paid). The spiritual leaders among us need to realize that this must be our first priority and MUST not be compromised.

So yah, 2009 is going to be hard. I imagine many of us trying to do new things will be challenged to our limits. I would give things about a year and hope that in 2010 there will begin to be fashioned a very strong and authentic community expression. We will come together again. Keep listening…

Christmas… Snow, rain, and pure joy

Best friends
Best friends

As I wait in Portland for our ride back to Bend, I find myself thankful, thankful, and more thankful for the blessings of Christmas this year. Leaving behind the car and the cell charger left me with much more time to… yah, I guess we spent much of the time on the computer. Working on blogs, websites, emails, and movies.

But there was more than that. Arriving to Portland with its snow saturated streets, cars buried, some roads undrivable, I was thankful that we were able to rest in the spacious seats of the Breeze bus line. After three days of rain and 50 degree weather, though, the multiple feet of snow left on the ground worked itself down to green grass again. Strange. Definitely encouragement to stay inside and by the fire.

Carley made some amazing food. From Mexican stew with corn bread dumplings, to chocolate cake, to turkey.mash potatoes.cranberries, we were satisfied to no end. Parker brought the beer and provided us with story after story (not to mention the “dumbledor”… the crazy concoction of chai, heavy whipping cream, almond milk, coconut rum, and hazelnut liquer). I brought the home roasted coffee. Kat brought her sweet self. Carley’s daughters, as well, graced us with their presence.

Love of friends, family, adventures, memories, rest, escape. Thankful for it all.

Know the tree and the relationship will tell

Semi-cascade juniper

As I move forward with life and relationships, my beginnings with learning the art of bonsai continue to shape how I see the world and my interaction with it. I have been spending more time watching the trees rather than trying to figure out what I am going to do with them. As I watch, I learn… I see where to go next what to cut, where to wire. I have an idea, but it is in the relationship that the discernment comes. If I try to force my own will, which is usually to move to fast, chances are I will kill it. To not do enough, is to kill as well.

It is recently, as new relationships, show up in my life, that I begin to see how similar this approach is with people. My tendency is to analyze, over-think, and question where things are going and what I should do. I have had more trouble than not with this mindset. Do I act now? Do I speak later? Should I call? Should I visit? Am I spending too much time? Can I commit? What if? What if not? Am I ready?

I am a finding myself to be a more refined and mature man than I was two or three years ago? The risk-taking is still there… but there is a peace, a holding lightly, that I have learned. I breath and slow down. My mantra has become, “let the relationship tell.” To know the person, to take one day at a time, to pursue wisdom and discernment… this is to know what to do next. This is to know how not to kill but to give life. Not what I think I want, not what another wants… but what is right and true.

To perceive and to know and to understand is where the direction for the next step begins. So I breathe, and I breathe again and I do… not… rush…