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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

"Be" Community of Christ

I have encountered within Community of Christ the soul of a people yearning to be true to their calling as leaders and members. I have just spent a week at the Temple and another week prior at a staff spiritual retreat. I have been so blessed to be present with leadership, with staff, with field ministers who are striving to be devoted, to be discerning and emptying themselves to be with the Divine and to be individually and collectively sensitive and mindful to the Spirit’s presence. To be in the midst of such a cloud of witnesses is truly humbling.

I used to bear this, “we/them” attitude towards the entity we call World Church when I was apart from our fellowship pursuing my own dreams. From the outside looking in, one views “church” through the filters of self-interest and the familiar workings of business and societal “wisdom of the world.” I am finding there are illusions in what is ingrained within us, internalized and accepted as daily life patterns of living, decision making and goals which seem so naturally normal. Beyond the facade of “doing” life there is a “being” alive that is a contrasting and erupting joy of clarity, knowing and passion. The Christ of yesteryear, the Christian story of redemption, our heritage of restoration are more than metaphors, more than models of goodly living and just enterprise…….they reveal at their source, Divinity, not as a topic or a truth to believe, but as a living spark of eternity, an, in this very moment encounter, that changes everything that was ever you. With people of this one mind there is a church emerging, inviting, empowering and being the presence of Christ. Community of Christ may be small. Yet, within its soul is “Divine encounter” that informs our identity with enduring principles imprinted upon our hearts and minds.

Please do not take for granted Community of Christ. The transformations of the last 2 decades are so dramatic that if you have not prayerfully delved in to the pages of the “We Share” booklet, which is also on-line, or the inclusive theology of our new hymnal, or learned of and engaged in “spiritual practices”, or read and re-read a dozen times the “words of counsel” and past decade of prophetic scriptural canon; then, Community of Christ is a mystery to you yet to be revealed. Likely you remain in the RLDS notions of past eras that binds us to illusions that separate us from who we are called to be today as Community of Christ.    

The church is not an “escape” to the Divine entity. Community of Christ is an “embrace” the Divine, body of people called to “be” in Mission within the world where we live. The thrust to “be” is not attained by reading about, knowing about, talking about Christ or mission. “Being” begins with encounter, with experiencing grace that reconciles our past in Christ and enables our future to joyfully “be”.

My prayer is that we all may “be” Community of Christ.   

submitted by Kerry

Friday, February 14, 2014



The February Community of Christ Herald arrived at our house this week.  As I browsed through the new issue and then read Becky Savage’s preview article entitled Embracing the Right Order, a sentence caught my attention.

February is the month to begin preparations for this special spiritual journey through Lent.
Some years, Lent has found me unaware and unprepared.  This most important season of the Christian calendar begins and I have taken no time to think about how I will approach it with thought or preparation.  Consequently, Lenten efforts have often been somewhat half-hearted, and deep spiritual benefit has not been as forthcoming as might have been the case. 

As I reflected on this, a phrase from Luke’s recording of Jesus own journey came to mind. 

When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. (Luke 9:51)
Jerusalem, of course, was the site of the annual pilgrimage to celebrate the Passover; a time to be an active participant not only in one’s own spiritual journey but also in that of the community.  Did Jesus know this would be his last Passover?  Did he know what awaited him in Jerusalem?  What thoughts, cares, concerns, worries, ideas did he shed along the way?  What fears did he lay down?  A careful reading of Luke 9:51-62 reveals a variety of thoughtful discourses that call us to set priorities and fore-go human judgment. 

Lent is our annual  spiritual pilgrimage just as passover was in Jesus day and still is for people of Jewish faith.  The February Herald calls us to think about how we will approach our spiritual journey in advance.  Further, it offers several suggestions of spiritual practices we might undertake as part of our journey. Some of these can be found in Katie Harmon-McLaughlin’s article A Radical Emptying: Lent.  This same, deep and thoughtful spiritual approach is also reflected in the conversation between Presiding Evangelist David Brock and Presiding Bishop Steve Jones entitled Tithing as a Spiritual Practice.

By the time you read this post, the 2014 Lenten season will probably be just over two weeks away, beginning March 5.  I am grateful that the February Herald has called this to my attention.  It gives me time to consider what spiritual practices I will deliberately engage in as I anticipate and journey toward Jerusalem/Easter this year.

How will you approach your Easter this year?

Posted by Carman

Monday, February 10, 2014


Did you every notice how the timing of events or conversations sometimes come together in such a way that the juxtaposition of two or more events seems to be more than mere coincidence?  What is that about?  Is the universe trying to tell us something?  Is it a God thing?

Recently I had a conversation with a friend concerning a debate happening in the friend's congregation. It seems the youth leader had asked for financial backing to hold a youth event as an outreach to young people in  and around the congregation.  The youth leader apparently asked if the congregation would cover a possible shortfall if the event should fail to break even.  As it was reported to me, the question asked in response was, “Why should we spend money on youth or young adults when we don't ever see them at church?” 

The same day I had this conversation, an article appeared on my computer screen entitled Change the Story.  The article was written by a young adult from Australia, Ben Smith.   Ben observes that currently, the story he hears around congregations is one of death and concern for the future.  He then notes that we also have other stories, stories of situations changed and lives transformed.  I'm paraphrasing for brevity, but Ben basically asks, What if those were the stories we choose to tell?

There seems to be some kind of serendipity in these two events; the appearance of the article on the same day that conversation occurred.  Is it just coincidence or is there a message to be learned somewhere?

What if we look at the earlier conversation in light of this article?  What if instead of asking, “Why should we spend any money on youth or young adults when they don’t come to church,” we were to change the story and ask, “What can we do to make the lives of youth and young adults better?"  What if we asked, "How can we help youth and young adults feel more welcomed and a part of this community?  As people who are seeking to be Christ’s disciples, how can we let young people who may be within our sphere of influence know they are valued and cared for?”  

As reported to me, the conversation appears to be very self absorbed; it is about “us” and “our money.”  If we change the story, however, it becomes about something else entirely.  The story becomes about some of God's precious young people and us living out our discipleship in a way that invites them into relationship with Christ.  Further, by changing our story, we are also changed.  Instead of being a self serving community, we become a community that seeks to be Christ's hands and feet reaching out to others!  Pretty amazing don't you think?  

But will we really change our story?  

Will we? 

The answer is  yet to be written in the story of our lives.

Posted by Carman Thompson

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Good Samaritan Moments

I have been reading an assigned book from our Staff pastor that is transforming my thinking. It is called the “Unhurried Life” by Alan Fadling. I have written before that I have encountered faith transition in my life 3 times where my previous understanding, my identity, my inclusiveness has been broadened to the degree that I can not go back to who I was before. I am experiencing this once again. I am changed by what I am reading, but mostly by applying the wisdom prayerfully in my life and truly and undeniably experiencing the reality of my eyes being opened.

For those who have attended one of my “sermons” in recent weeks, a recurring theme I have been sharing is that “we do not know what we do not know” when we become vulnerable to the spirit of God; that spiritual formation alters the quality of our sensitivity to every person, every scenario we encounter; that our best becomes better through being prayerfully mindful to the spirit. That it isn’t a subjective, mystical, self-deceptive placebo effect. Ministering sensitively, people respond. Tears flow. They pass it on. Mostly, my greatest joy is that some have affirmed they have themselves sought to become vulnerable to the spirit which is impacting their lives too.

Last week in an isolated rural area upon encountering an accident on snow-covered roads, I, despite having to be somewhere and running late, participated in my first “Good Samaritan” moment, driving a passenger from the damaged car to a fairly distant hospital for scheduled surgery he could not have gotten to if he awaited family from afar to arrive and transport him to the hospital. It was not the act but the journey with him that was confirming that I was there for a purpose in both our lives. I am discovering there is a “knowing” that is emerging in my attentiveness to a spirit that is becoming familiar and recognizable. It is so humbling to test the waters of listening to the still small voice and experience verification of impact upon another’s life in ways I never would have imagined if I just thought my own thoughts.

This book has changed my way of thinking. Typically, I am rushing from list to list, activity to activity, busyness to busyness each moment. I am learning about “capacity”, and it’s ying/yang relationship to being vulnerable to the spirit. There are things before me that “matter most”, but time to engage in them like for all of us tends to be scarce. I am discovering that prioritizing and refining less mattered “clutter”, allows me to increase my capacity for things that matter without adding hours to my day. I yet have lots to learn. My journey is becoming less hurried. I am now understanding that “doing” requires simultaneous “being”. It is otherwise too easy to venture along a hurried tangent that does not merge me with the direction God wishes me to follow. Even though this sounds like philosophical ramblings, there is a practical life, mine, that this applies to every day. I am striving to “be” in new ways, to be present and aware, with more Good Samaritan moments to live.

Submitted by Kerry