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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?"

Monday, April 20, 2015

Mind The Gap

“Mind the Gap” is an expression of caution to alert someone to a possible hole in front of them so they do not fall. The person may be unaware it was there. There are many “gaps” of unawareness that we overlook throughout our daily lives without someone to caution us that they exist. Some gaps we know exist and we perhaps adjust our actions accordingly. Some gaps we just do not know how to deal with; others we intentionally ignore……kind of like an Indifference Gap.

As we in Community of Christ, strive to become a discerning people with empathy for those we daily encounter; we want to be more inclusive, mindful and relevant, and we begin to see gaps, lots of them. Of course there is the Generation Gap, the Technology Gap, the Global Economic Gap, a Language Gap, the Healthcare Gap and the Income Gap, but there are subtle gaps that unless we are mindful we completely miss them.  These might be an Ethics Gap, a Compassion Gap, a Dialogue Gap, a Validation Gap, a Kindness Gap, an Attentiveness Gap an Accountability Gap. I am pulling some of these out of thin air but if you think about it they exist and we are all short on awareness in many areas of human relationships, or our sense of community, locally and globally and gaps abound.

There also is a very real Equality Gap, Still; even though we think we have accommodated so many aspects already. Equality has many dimensions. Some inequities we are fully aware of and others that we are only beginning to comprehend. We strive to be inclusive, however; we are only beginning to understand how vast the spectrum of diversity is and the corresponding gaps. Those gaps beyond our knowing separate us from one another.

My theme these days is, Empathy lived out in our daily encounters, opens our minds to the viewpoint and life circumstances of others beyond our own experience. Our horizons are expanded and the gaps in our lives are lessened and our relationships with others become more valued, meaningful and reciprocal. This mutual engagement allows us to work together in our enhanced understanding of our humanness to take action borne out of kindred hopes and ideas emerging just from filling in the gaps.   

Our gaps are influenced by so many sources of bias, tradition, media and culture that we do not even know many inequalities we still participate in. The next step is, even if we were aware, there is still a Desirability Gap that holds us back from altering our choices to make change. Ultimately we face an Action Gap where our apathy weakens our resolve to do, to act, even when our knowledge informs us it is the right thing to do. Sometimes in our better moments, we bear burdens of guilt for the Failure Gap where we clearly recognize that our inaction is immoral and saddening. So, how do we do something about the Action Gap? My experience is that it takes partnerships to overcome the unintentional apathy that is a product of our busyness and multi-option lives.  We need to become Companions with another to share that which we want to accomplish. It comes down to practicalities. We know there are daily life tasks we would only do because someone was counting on us or we had promised to complete something for someone.

I propose the single most important means for you to make a difference, to do things differently than you do today; to bridge the gaps in your life and take action, is to find that 1 person who becomes your “Companion of Action" You do what you say you are going to do because the two of you covenanted with one another to make “it” happen. That happens through all the channels of connecting with the other person. Texting, phoning, emailing, IM, Facebook, in person but, make it a daily happening, or a quick morning, noon and night reminder, affirmation, validation of accountability. In essence we tell each other each time to “Mind The Gap,” because if we are not actively "doing", potholes reappear before us and we fall into the gap.

Allow Companioning to become part of your life. Consider it as a sacred calling. Community of Christ, the nurturing of a prophetic people, is perhaps best fulfilled by creating "Clusters of Companions" interacting together to fulfill their covenant actions, forming communities of communities. That one person who is your covenant companion is perhaps the most life changing gap you will ever close.

Submitted by Kerry Richards   

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Empathy, The Real Reality

Empathy. A word that evokes intersection. That requires merging one’s life within the realities of another’s life. To encounter the perceptions, emotions, hurts, pain, anger, sorrow, joy, love, thankfulness, motivation, dreams and hopes of someone who is willing to trust and open their life to you. There is a limitless depth in their eyes you see for the first time, a quiver in their voice that resonates with their story, a tear that expresses the grasp of something upon them or the releasing of a burden that frees them to live and be.

Empathy is a shared life that enters your space and touches your soul, forever changing your perception of life and your relationship with that person and all others. We talk of intimacy with the Spirit of God, of discerning moments of encountering the presence of the Spirit. There is a feeling that fills your soul with a depth of knowing, a flood of being, a sense of purpose and worth. These two experiences of empathic encounter are divine, not separate from one another but realities of the oneness of God within and also when we are with another. God experienced in me and God experienced in you are empathic encounters of self and mutuality, equality and unconditional oneness with the Spirit and the kindred soul of another. This is a sacramental moment. Human and Divine intersect. Eternity and sacred community blend. We are one. We imprint the memory of those precious moments forever as sacred and holy. You hold the other in your gaze, in your heart, in your soul.

Once you have experienced empathy it opens you up to the need for sacred community, to invite others into this pure and holy relationship of transparency and trust that transcends separateness. This is the purest form of Mission. This is the reason we invite. This is the meaning we share. This is the oneness and unity that envelops our diversity. This is what empowers us to be gracious and generous, to be loving, forgiving and reconciling. This is the source of the peace of God envisioned in the seal of Community of Christ. Community is borne out of empathy. If we desire to be sacred community, discern through the spirit where empathy calls you to enter the life of another. As you are with the other, be willing to be a blessing in their life in whatever way of unconditional selflessness you are drawn to be and do. Out of this depth of humanness and divine connection how can you not be a source of invitation to sacred community and others who share this common story.

Live into empathy through the spirit of discernment and your life will never be the same. 

Submitted by Kerry Richards

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A Prophetic People Emerges

Last night our prophet, Stephen Veazey spoke “on-line” to a prophetic people. The church is accelerating in this direction of being the church through a computer, TV or smart phone screen. Our ability to be “with” one another without being physically present is a reality that is already happening in meaningful ways. Small groups, worship services, strategic, teaching and facilitative workshops and meaningful moments all occur frequently through digital connections. Let us embrace this technology to be personal yet global in new sacred expressions of the church.

Community of Christ is in the midst of an exciting time characterized by the term, “prophetic imagination”. In the expectant encounter of the Divine being present within a spiritually prepared and willing people, creativity emerges. The nature of being a prophetic people is such that in becoming awakened and open to spiritual formation we become pioneers of discernment. We become entrepreneurial envisioners of new models, expressions and means of being the church. Being a prophetic people exists in a tension of being both mindful of God’s leadings and exercising autonomy with our gifts, skills and cultural opportunities to reflect the church in relevant ways to society around us. These two factors bless us with empowerment. A reality of our mindsets today is that people do not participate in an idea or an enterprise unless they have ownership in the decision or processes. Perhaps this is a bold statement in relation to “Christ’s Mission, Our Mission” but I believe the “Our” in the statement is the prophetic people response, the grass roots response to the indwelling spirit that magnifies our capacity to be an empowered people, a committed people, even a covenant people. When our hearts and minds encounter the enlivenment of the Spirit, vast capacities of imagination, giftedness, empathy and motivational resolve transform us individually and collectively into a Prophetic People.

A prophetic people embodies unity within a diverse people. We celebrate the immensity of ideas resident within our midst and beyond. We are called to mutually affirm one another with holy reverence, acknowledging “God in us”. We are called into Dialogue as the means to truly and deeply know one another, to bridge differences and build what we envision by capitalizing upon our mutual giftedness. Dialogue is a sacred virtue of our church built into the principle of common consent. A prophetic people engage in dialogue as a spiritual practice that transcends our differences and multiplies new possibilities released through our mutuality. Dialogue enables us to uphold our identity as Community of Christ, for it invites prophetic expression both from the grass roots and our prophet. Dialogue nurtures accord through empathic mutuality; peace-building and reconciling qualities needed in every community. Synergies of collective, cascading creativity erupt from a prophetic people in mindful dialogue, disrupting the ordinary and transforming it into the extraordinary; indeed into a Community of Christ. Discipleship, Discernment and Dialogue are the pillars of prophetic imagination. God is at work in receptive individuals everywhere who are yearning to become a prophetic people led by a prophetic leader.

Submitted by Kerry Richards 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

"We All Can Help" Everyday through every household purchase

Click on the above video to be introduced to our exciting Community of Christ  campaign, We All Can Help" simply by purchasing our everyday household items through the church website link to the Amazon button on the bottom left of every >>> 

Our Community of Christ Mission, People and Programs can be supported through looking first on our Amazon link to buy vs shopping elsewhere. The benefits to you are convenience, selection from 2 million items, savings, and quick shipping in 2 days, usually free.

Community of Christ earns substantial referral fees. In our initial month with few orders we earned $400. Your annual shopping of household items can generate perhaps $1000 / year alongside your Sunday contributions just through buying what you normally purchase elsewhere. If you have a business or the business you work for needs supplies, or the congregation needs items, or your community group, support the church through their regular purchases just by connecting to Amazon through the church website link above. What could be easier!

What a difference that will make to World Church in our time of need. Share this with family and friends......"We All Can Help"

submitted by Kerry Richards

Friday, April 3, 2015

Easter - "Catch The Feeling"

Easter Blessings to All;

This is the first year I have participated fully in Lent. I found it takes focus to daily take the time to pause (a misnomer) amidst all kinds of “busyness” reasons not to. In those moments of releasing myself, of reading and dwelling upon the resources from the Church’s Spiritual Formation Centre, I discovered not just meaningful reflection upon good thoughts but became aware of a “feeling”. It felt like “home”. It feels  like at this very moment I am in the place I am supposed to be. It is peaceful, quiet and connected. The feeling imprints upon me a recognition of something beyond me that penetrates through the illusions, the almost impenetrable “force field” like barrier of “what’s next” that I have to busy myself about in life. Now I seek and yearn for that feeling that accompanies my often resistant efforts to sit and open myself to the Spirit in a time of pause.

I am one who tends to test the validity of something by experimenting before I acknowledge it as real and worth investing my time, energy and efforts in. I entered into the experience of Lent in the same way. 40 days? Is that for real? Well now I sense like it really is a trick to draw you into practicing the spiritual practices of Lent for life. Because once you experience the feeling, you want more. You discover that the feeling can be called upon during other times in your day to bring peace in the midst of disagreement, frustration, impatience, decisions and ministry for and with another. The feeling accompanies moments of listening to others and I have come to sense this feeling as a companion spirit. When I am praying about matters and someone’s name surfaces or an image of someone or an idea or thought emerges I listen. When that familiar feeling resides with a thought, now, I pay attention. Then I experiment by pursuing those ideas, thoughts or connecting with those persons.

What Lent has blessed me with is an increasing encounter of how discernment unfolds in my life. I am just learning, gaining more awareness of and sensitivity both to others and what I believe is the spirit going before me.

So Easter is very real to me. The risen Christ, present in the Comforter I experience in times of pause and moments of prayer, to be empathic and “with” others in their lives, to be a means of blessing, is alive and present, continuing to journey with us. May you each be blessed this Easter season with the assurance of God’s personal touch in the “Feeling” of Christ’s presence as you take time to pause and discover this “authentic” reality in your life.

submitted by Kerry Richards