24 May 2012

Second Understanding

2. We know too, that our community must be for “sinners” and not “saints.” We are ordinary people struggling with the realities of day to day life in an imperfect world. We are aware, therefore, that our way of living will always be incomplete. When people join the Lindisfarne Community, as any other intentional community, natural illusions and idealism about community will quickly be shattered. However, disillusionment leads towards reality. Discovering Christ among us is the beginning of true community.
The thing that stands out here is "our community must be for 'sinners' and not 'saints'." So many times, people seem to think that if you are a follower of Jesus, you shouldn't make mistakes. But then, when we do make mistakes, people are quick to point out that we're hypocrites. But in the LC, we start out saying that we're sinners. We make mistakes. We fail, stumble, fall.

However, there's another point here. We're an "intentional community." This, to me, means that while we may make mistakes, while we are sometimes "false" towards ourselves and others, our intentions are just the opposite.
We strive to be our true selves. We strive to discover Christ among us. And I think that the reason we discover Christ is because Christ is found among the fallen. We are trying to live for Christ, to be Christ to those we meet. That is our intention. Personally, I see that the vocation of a follower of Christ is to implement God's Realm here "on earth as it is in heaven." I see that we should be looking for ways of doing that - whether that's feeding the poor, or taking care of our elders, or helping at shelters for people who are abused, or whatever. Each and every day we should be about making this world a better place and we do that by taking care of those who are less fortunate than ourselves. And this is not limited to our families, communities, states, or country. We have to have eyes also looking at the entire world. We need to see the pain and suffering wherever it resides and look for ways of non-violently eliminating it.

But, because we are "sinners" and not "saints," we will fail sometimes. We will fall sometimes. And sometimes, we won't be the best we can be. But we're trying. That's our (my) intention.

This trying and falling reminds me of a quote I recently saw from Theodore Roosevelt:

It is not the critic who counts; not the [person] who points out how the strong [person] stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the [one] who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who stoves valiantly who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends [oneself] in a worthy cause; who at the bet knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if [she] fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that [her] place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. ~ Theodore Roosevelt

In the Love of the Three in One,
Br Jack+, LC

23 May 2012

Google Docs Update!

While showing a colleague Google Docs today, I click on the Fonts down arrow to show her all of the available fonts. It was there that I noticed a new entry - F+ Add fonts... I was like, “What?! That’s new! I wonder...” I clicked on it and it brought up a fonts window. I started typing in the word “Gentium” (the name of my favorite font). It was there! I don’t know if it was pulling from my installed fonts or if it was one that Google uploaded (I know that it is available to use on their sites), but I was very pleased to find it. Now, all of the documents I create on Google Docs can use my favorite font! In fact, I used it in this post! Top notch, Google. Brilliant!

In the Love of the Three in One,

Br Jack+, LC

17 May 2012

First Understanding

1. As a Christian community we seek above all else to be Christlike - to be as Christ to those we meet; to find Christ within them. Over the years we have deepened our understanding of what that means to us. Our understandings are those things we aspire toward as we follow Christ and seek to keep the community Rule. They are at the core of who we are and seek to become. They are not a list of do’s and don’ts; nor are they a list of self-congratulations, “look at us we’ve made it!” At their heart they are our prayer. We see these understandings in the life of Jesus; shining, precious gems, winsome, lovely, drawing us out of ourselves and towards Christ.

The thing that stands out for me, the thing that has always stood out, is "to be as Christ to those we meet; to find Christ within them." This reminds me of a story about when St Aidan arrived at a small village in Northern England. He and his follower came upon a village and noticed a shrine next to a well. The villager explained how they were without water for a long time. When the well was mystically revealed, the villagers were so moved, they built the shrine to worship the water deity who saved their lives. Aidan and his followers listened intently to the story. When the villagers finished telling their tale, Aidan and his followers affirmed much of it. They said, "It's good that you're thankful for the water. It's good that you recognize the need for worship. It's a good thing to acknowledge that someone outside of yourselves was responsible for saving your village and providing the water. However, let's tell you about Christ. He is the real identity to your water deity. He is the creator of all that is seen and unseen. He is the one who brought this water to your village." Well, that last part was a bit of a paraphrase, but that's basically how the story goes. What I like about the story is that St Aidan and his followers went looking for Christ in those they met. And they actually found him. Can we imagine what this country would look like if that way of seeing was the dominant way when the followers of Jesus came to the "New World?"

Well, since we can't jump in the TARDIS and change history, we can learn from this past mistake. I no longer look at people and think that they are God's enemies. I look for Christ within them, expecting to find him. And, more often than not, I found him. In the Lindisfarne Community, we are intentional in our looking for Christ in others.

My wife once said (from being inspired by the Dave Matthews Band song, The Space Between), that we need to learn how to remove all of the junk in the space between ourselves and other people. We have to remove all of the past experiences and greet each person on a blank space; not to lump them in with our past negative experiences.

Now, granted, this is extremely difficult. Our learned nature is to mistrust people, to protect ourselves from getting hurt (whether physically, emotionally, etc.). But when we see the life of Jesus, we see him looking for the Light of God within the people he encounters. And he did this knowing full well of the falseness that was there. But he also knew that the falseness was not who they were at the deepest level. That is how I see this Understanding. We have to look past all of the falseness and see Christ deep within ourselves and others.

In the Love of the Three in One,

Br. Jack+, LC

A New Series

I'll be starting a new series. In the Lindisfarne Community, we have a list of fifteen Understandings. I'm going to post an Understanding and my personal reflection. My reflections are just that, mine. These are not the views or reflections of other community members. With that stated, I would encourage all who read this blog to give your own reflections to our Understandings.

Peace to you,

Br Jack+, LC