Thursday, February 26, 2009

Diving Deeper ...

posted by Sophia

This past Tuesday night we started a new conversation that will take a few weeks to unwrap, we started the night off by exploring the meaning of "deep culture" beyond the visible surface; way down deep were we find behaviors, values, beliefs and perceived world view.

I'm really finding all this fascinating since I'm still processing even what I know about my own culture, having been raised as both an American and Mexican. I'm looking forward to the next few weeks of learning how to ask the right questions and how not to assume to know why people of a certain culture "do what they do" and to make sense of what is seen as true and good, and most importantly was is real.

So on that note, I thought it appropriate timing to share this cool little animated short, "The Return of Superbarrio" (La Vuelta de Superbarrio), in Spanish with English subtitles.

Superbarrio Gómez is a "living superhero" in Mexico. According to Wikipedia he's a real guy named Marco Rascón Córdova, who seeks to fight injustice and corruption on both sides of the US/Mexico border through protests, civil disobedience, and political action.

I also read an informative essay about SuperBarrio's life, and it concluded with this great summary;

By implication, to believe in Superbarrio is to believe in a collective struggle that functions regionally and operates as a social movement across borders. To believe in Superbarrio is to believe in us as transnational social agents. Beneath the mask, we are all Superbarrio.

So with that in mind, I hope you enjoy this video that presents some interesting perspectives.

ps. You get extra points if you pick up some new spanish vocabulary words!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

i will rise

posted by Laurie...

I will rise everyday
And I will give my life away.
My better years are still to come,
Remember this when my life's done
That I will rise...

- Kate White from her Turning Pages CD)

On Monday night in a hundred year old Victorian house that's been turned into a recovery home in our neighborhood, my dear friend Kate performed a concert for 43 women gathered around on the chairs and floor. Kate sang, played her violin and tenderly shared her story. Over the course of the next couple of hours she connected with these women that she'd never met before in an incredibly deep way. My teammates Britany and Sophia and I were able to be there too and meet these women who were warm and receptive.
Kate sang and talked about her family, her own marriage and her children, things that all these women could relate to. At one point, she asked all the women to say out loud altogether the names of their children. It was so touching and heart-wrenching to hear moms call out from all over the room the names of their missed children. Kate really wanted to pray a blessing over their children so she asked for permission to pray for all of them. There was probably not a dry eye in the room.

Many pieces of Kate's life story intersected with theirs and although she didn't pretend to understand everything they've gone through, they really seemed to relate to her. We had been told we couldn't “proselytize” nor had we intended to, but as Kate shared her journey she sensed that many of the women desired to know God. So she shared how she had wrestled with trusting God and with the questions and pain she had experienced, but also how she had come to trust Him and give her life to Him.

After the concert, the women came up and hugged us and thanked us for coming. Some of them shared a little of their stories with us…. painful and sad stories. One woman asked Kate how she could know God too and if she needed a priest to be able to do that. So Kate told her she would pray with her and show her how. Some others next to her said they also wanted to know God and before we knew it, almost every woman in the house formed a circle, holding hands. I'll never forget that moment when Kate led them in prayer to receive Jesus as their Savior. They repeated after her, loud and clear "Lord Jesus! I've messed up! Come into my life..." Only God knows which women actually gave their lives to Jesus that night. Some of the women were already followers of Jesus and it was encouraging to see how they came up and began helping the others.

This week we’re going to take a copy of each of Kate's CD's to each of the women and we're listening to see how else God wants us to be involved with these dear women in our neighborhood. We may be able to walk with them, do crafts with them, or just hang out with them. They're in a very structured program so we're not sure how much we'll be allowed to be involved. When you think of it, please pray for these women, for those who gave their lives to God, to grow in Him, as they do the hard work of recovery from addiction. And as they miss their children and families.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Ah Colossians... what a book!

I have included a bit of an update on our study through the book of Colossians here!

It's entitled "The fold in the middle of a book".

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Mariscos German

Had a working lunch at Mariscos German in Logan Heights today. Awesome. Absolutely awesome.

— Jon

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

listening prayer

We've been thinking and talking about hearing God's Word through all the ways God might want to communicate. Last night we practiced listening to God as a community. Here is some of what we heard, sensed, imagined, and felt last night as we listened for God's Word to come to us and guide us as we consider our presence south of the fence:

• Jeremiah 29:11-13: For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
• Matthew 25:35-36: For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.
• 1 Corinthians 13:13: And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
• Matthew 22:39: (2nd greatest command): "Love your neighbor as yourself."
• The image of a thread of leaders weaving it's way down the coast.
• James 1:27: Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.
• Bringing 2 worlds together
• Being both here and there through the bigger church, the community of believers, through the Body straddling the border
• Reflection (Reflejo)...the image of a mirror...seeing ourselves through others...with others
• New sojourners...people joining us who would not have come before
• Mark 2: Making our way through the crowds; being willing to cut a hole in the roof or to go against what is normally accepted in order to get people to Jesus.

We don't know what all this means. But somewhere in there is God's gentle voice. So lets keep listening. Lets seek understanding. And then lets respond.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Discipline of Thankfulness

As our community starts up it's first spiritual discipline - The Discipline of Thankfulness - I offer up this prayer for myself and for us all!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Hope for 2009

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Inside out

Colossians 2:6-8
Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.
I was sharing yesterdays story (on my blog) about Chase at our community time because it related to a passage that we are studying as we read through the book of Colossians together.

It is amazing how we look to, even rely upon, these external philosophies, traditions and principles to guide us as we live our lives. Like a crutch - or maybe a leash - to keep our hearts under control and give our lives direction. I suppose there are many reasons... a fear of sin, failure, success. But us humans migrate to them religiously, politically and socially all the time. It seems a lot like the difference between having a dog on a leash versus having a dog that is attentive to (even "in love with") it's owner... ready to move, ready to turn... looking for that change in stride or turn of head.

We can feel the battle that is taking place between walking with/in Christ and allowing ourselves to be controlled or guided by external devices but it can be tough to see the differences. In Colossians 2 we see some examples of what these two types of lives can look like:

External = philosophies/empty deceit, human tradition, elemental spirits/principles, false asceticism and worship, puffed up sensual mind/ideas, not holding fast to Christ, etc.

Internal = rooted and built up in Christ, established in faith, taught, thankful, being filled, changed/circumcised heart, made alive... and debt free, holding fast to the head which is Christ, etc.

At the heart of this passage is this simple, powerful truth:
Jesus is more interested in remaking us from the inside out than he is with us adhering to a list of rules.

He desires a heart that walks with Him.

We left our time together with two questions:
Where am I relying on a leash/rule to govern my soul instead of nurturing this profound relationship with Christ?
Where do I see a flicker of this walk inside my heart that needs to be fanned into a passionate flame?