Light Shines in the Darkness

This week we held our first worship experience for the Sellwood Faith Community.  With our leadership team we’ve chosen to begin a monthly Taize Worship.  We chose this because Taize, which is characterized by repetitive singing of simple melodies, prayers, silence, and candle lighting, offers a different kind of experience than the typical Sunday morning worship, be it contemporary or traditional. For me Taize is a time of centering.  It’s introspective and quiet and this past week it was just what I needed.  There is no sermon.  The scripture is read and then reflected upon silently.  Taize is a space of the gentle unfolding of the spirit.We decided to start on December 20th because the theme of light the permeates much of Taize liturgy was fitting for the time of longest night of the year.  Also in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season we don’t have many times to sit in quiet reflection. What a better way to prepare for Christmas than some quite time focused on God?9 of us plus our two cats gathered to find something holy as we sang and listened to the stillness together.  Afterwards we shared snacks and laughter, somehow renewed by our time together.  Check out the video below for the kind of music we sing and the general vibe of worship.  Obviously this one was done by a choir with soloists, we just repeat the chorus as many times as we need to to find that transcendent space.  Our next worship will be here at the house on January 17th at 7pm. I know my should will be ready for...

The Life of the Party

This past week we threw a Christmas Party, inviting local friends and those loosely connected to the Sellwood Faith Community.  The party, which was similar to our birthday bash this summer, was about helping establish ties between those we think might be interested in joining the community and those already here.  It was a no pressure social situation and a lot of fun.  No one committed to anything by turning up. When you think of inviting people to church you might think of what we already do, which is to invite people to service projects, times of conversation, and worship.  The reality of this is that it can be hard for people to come to something where they don’t really know the people or the vibe of what will happen.  Having parties is just one way for us to build stronger relationships.  Most of us are comfortable with going to a party. It’s a situation where we know what to expect for the most part and it’s easy to make an excuse and leave early if things are not working out.Now we know that not everyone who came to the party will be part of the Sellwood Faith Community, and that’s great.  In fact if all our friends did join the community I think we’d go a bit crazy.  It’s good to have a diverse and varied network. By having good, strong relationships with a variety of people in and out of the church start we can more fully reflect the kingdom of God. So we’ll keep on having parties and get togethers, growing our network and getting to...

Live Like You Really Mean It

It has been over a month since our last update to this blog.  In that time we found out my dad’s cancer had returned, learned that there was nothing more that could be done to treat it, partied with him, said goodbye, and sat with him as he died.  In the two weeks since he passed we’ve planned the funeral, enjoyed Thanksgiving, and begun sorting through all his stuff.  This has probably been the most intense month of my life and while it may have seemed dark at times, really it was a time of light and beauty. When the end comes and there is nothing else to do what do you do? My dad chose to laugh, cry, tell stories, hang out with friends and family, and watch slides and videos.  He went over all his passwords, told us where was the best spot to plant the lettuce, and gave away his unopened socks and contact lens solution.  Dad had heart to hearts with mom, sister, and I.  He hugged his granddaughter and made sure he left her a legacy of love.  And this was beautiful and totally consistent with who he was his entire life.  Dad always lived love.  He made mistakes to be sure, but he tried to be a person of peace and light in all the ways he could.  My dad accepted his death peacefully partially because he lived like he really meant it.  He took time to play, he worked hard, he forgave and asked for forgiveness. We are all building something every day wether it be a new church start, a legacy,...