The first part of this week was spent outside of Washington, DC at the Ecclesia National Gathering. I wrote up a more formal post about the first day posted here at The Burner Blog, and a second post will follow in the next few days.
But I wanted to share a few personal reflections here. Things I’m going to be chewing on for some time, things that struck a nerve in me, and some things I’d like to see worked out a bit more in the life of Kairos.
- Messy Concern for the City: How much do I really know my neighborhood/city, and am I willing to get messy in the midst of the city’s problems? I live intentionally in a neighborhood I care about, in a house with people I care about, but it’s easy to get content in the life of our house and not look outward to the neighborhood around us.
- Centrality of Eucharist: The Eucharist was brought up a number of times as a centerpiece of justice, reconciliation, restoration, etc. and I’m thinking about how to make this a more central piece of how I think and live in my context.
- How We Understand the Gospel: I think we (Kairos) or maybe just I (dave) still have some fuzziness in our gospel understanding. I really appreciated Scot McKnight’s latest – The King Jesus Gospel – and have had some great conversations about this book with people in our community, but I think there’s some more constructive work to be done in my own mind. I have all the pieces floating around in my head, but I’d like to have some more thought-through language that fits the big and broad and deep gospel I’m striving towards and for.
- How We Include Children: One of the focuses of this time was family/children integration, and this is something I want to think more about in a city that doesn’t often care a great deal for families and kids.
- the Story of Kairos. I want to be better about telling the story of Kairos, my church community, and fitting it into the story of God and the story of our city.
- Willingness to Die: Don Coleman (a pastor from Richmond) talked about the call for Christians to “take up your cross” daily and follow Jesus even to death (metaphorical – as in, dying to your own dreams, desires, understandings, etc. and also physical and literal). He started his talking asking “how many of you are Christian leaders?” (everyone raises their hands) and then follows up with “Okay, Christian leaders, how many of you woke up this morning and said, okay, I’m ready to die?” This can play out in a number of ways – being more bold in our proclamation, being more willing to engage serious issues of systemic justice, being more engaged in God’s bigger work in the community with other churches, being more willing to invite people into our lives as people of peace, being more willing to come between opposing sides and point towards the way of peace. If there’s a pendulum between “safety” and “willing to die,” I wonder where on the scale I would put myself, and what would happen if I moved more towards the “willing to die” side of things.
- People of Peace: Ben Sternke did a “people of peace” breakout session that was really good. One thought that’s sticking with me is that “an unwillingness to be rejected is a huge obstacle in finding a person of peace.” He also talked about people of peace as people who are willing to welcome you and offer you hospitality (and not just people who have an affinity for you) – I hadn’t thought about that aspect of Luke 10 before, but it’s an interesting concept that shifted a bit how I think about people of peace (i.e. they’re not just people I’m chasing after, but might be people who are chasing after me for something).
- The role of the Holy Spirit, especially in reconciliation and restoration. How real is the Spirit in the practice of my life and ministry? More thoughts on this to follow, but there were some really good words shared here that prompted and prodded me to take some time to consider this.