|roots and fruits |
Going deeper to go wider
Roots – what I believe (and some of why I believe it)
As a result of my journeying there are some things I have come to see more clearly (and believe more deeply). These things form the foundations for what I will unpack in this book. These roots are the foundations upon which true communion, healthy community and sustainable commerce grow, they are the roots out which they grow.
The more rooted we are the more radical we can be – the word radical means root.
The more rooted we are the more fruitful we will be. The fruit we will see are deep communion, healthy community and sustainable commerce.
Rootedness = Radicalness – root = radical
Roots: I believe
I believe God speaks – but I hesitate to use the phrase ‘God told me’ since I have been manipulated by people using this phrase and have NO DESIRE to manipulate. God has spoken and continues to speak primarily through His Word – the Bible. The Bible is the most amazing book. It is very important to understand both what it is and what it is not. The Bible is actually a library and not a single book – it is a library of 66 books. The library of the Bible is divided in two – and reflects a view that all of history is also divided in two. In the Bible I can identify 6 time periods covered by the stories, accounts in the Bible (I know there are many ways of looking at this – I have found this useful).
- Creation to Fall
- Fall to Jesus
- Jesus’ Life
- Jesus’ departure to Jesus’ Second Coming
At each of these times in history God has spoken.
The primary way that God is revealed in much of the Bible is through pictures, metaphors and narratives. Even when Jesus, God’s ultimate revelation in human form, walked the earth He spoke primarily in pictures, metaphors and narratives.
The primary reason for God speaking is that He speaks for change and transformation. The story throughout the library of the Bible is one of change and transformation, it is one of calling people away from one thing and towards another – away from a life apart from Him and into a life together with Him.
I believe that words are important. Immensely important
Our words are the raw material with which we create the patterns and pictures of our minds.
Words are very very important
Different words can mean the same thing
The same word can mean different things
All dependent on the part the word plays in the pattern of the mind.
We give away what we think through the words we use, the words we use paint pictures, tell stories, show what we know, and what we do not know. We use words to engage with one another, we use words to explore knowledge, we use words to move into the future.
Words create, words influence, words inspire, words are wonderful – but they can be dreadful too!
Our words give us away…
The trap us
The haunt us
They fill us and flow out of us
They bubble up inside
Or simply burst out
We can hold them in – at times
At others they escape
Our words build bridges or wield hammers
Our words plant seeds or trample seedlings
Our words are the biggest investment we can make in our pasts, our presents and our futures
The way we describe what happens determines how we react and paves the way for what will happen
Watch our words
Words are important. I love words.
This book uses words, and tries to use them well. This book unpacks, takes apart, and hopefully puts back together many words to explore what the words really mean, or meant or how they were used and how we use them today.
Comment on Assimilation – who is assimilating who/what… (James Smith latest book)
Words can also be used very negatively
To push us away from/push away from us any concept of responsibility. With our words we can lie to ourselves. We can use words to distance ourselves, to disown things, to remove of manage guilt
Externalities – especially used in business to ‘say’ what is external is not our problem – this is changing but the terminology often remains
Society – as a generic people out there, nameless, story-less, faceless – will take care of itself, accountable for its own response to things that affect it
The Environment – also out there, an externality, responsible for itself, unrepresented and unrepresentable to vulnerable and voiceless
Nature – not Creation, a significant implication since then it can simply be seen as a resource, there is no accountability to anyone for using it, for destroying it. Unfortunately Christians have also fallen into this trap by using the ‘dominion’ argument as opposed to the ‘stewardship’ mandate
Even Sustainability and Continuity – used with reference to sustainable development or sustainable growth to cover up the fact hat both development and more especially growth are not necessarily actually sustainable!
‘They’ – used to push responsibility to ‘the other’ or ‘another’, they will do something, why arent they doing something, they are the ones we are afraid of…
Switches from denial to resignation
Words also play a role in the way that we have converted every ‘impact’ into a measurable cost – and by doing so we think that simply investing more money with solve/resolve/prevent damage and harm. The way we talk about things in monetary terms (cost, capital, investment etc) forms our thinking about how issues should be addressed. We talk about the ‘cost of crime, the cost of pollution etc
Capitalism treats everything, by labeling it as such, as simply another form of Capital making it disposable and exchangeable for money. We treat things in a specific way as a result of the way we label things – but the truth is that all the things that we have labeled ‘capitals’ are substantially and fundamentally different to money.
Possible discussion somewhere on the things we value as a result of the way we label things.
I believe that we are free.
I believe that freedom is a person, is knowing a person. When we meet and get to know that, the ‘Person’ we will know the truth and the truth will set us free! You will know the truth (Jesus) and the truth (Jesus) will set you free.
I believe in Freedom with boundaries – absolutely. Freedom is not freedom unless freedom is bounded. Everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial.
The boundaries of freedom are related to what is beneficial for us and for me – first a community thing and then an individual thing.
We are not free when we live a life obsessed with the bounds of our freedom – we are free when we understand these bounds and live freely in the space they create
As time has passed after the fall so there are more boundaries to our freedom.
In the garden there was 1 – you can eat of any tree – except this one. (Why on earth did they stick around that tree – when there was a massive (at least 3,500 square kilometers) garden to explore)
With Moses there were 10
In the Torah there are 613
With Jesus there are just 2 – love the Lord your God… and love your neighbour – bounded by – all your heart, soul, mind, strength – and as you love yourself. And they are ‘like each other’
We constantly wrestle with freedom and boundaries – as we mature the boundaries tend to recede, the space grows and we become more free – in a mature and responsible way.
As we grow up we wrestle with some boundaries
The boundary between Modesty and modernity (or post-modernity)
The boundary separating Drink and drunk
The boundary of being ‘IN the world’ but not ‘OF the world’
That between Permissible and Beneficial
The boundary between My good – the good of others
I believe in Community
God formed community
Adam – alone – not good.
Adam and Eve – nothing that was not in Adam. He took one made them two and gave them to one another to become one again. But a different kind of one. A one together instead of a one alone.
I believe we are free to imagine.
Imagination is one of the least used faculties we have.
We use it on a micro scale – a bit of novelty here and there- I think it is time to start using it on a macro scale. The world we have today is the world that is the result of many, many decisions and designs over the years – some decisions intentional, some unintended. Some motivated by logic and reason some not. The range of motivations and incentives is mind-boggling but ultimately the world we have is the world we made.
Does God condone imagination – absolutely. Adam imagined and then gave names to all the animals.
God speaks in pictures and metaphors and narrative – all of these ‘speak’ primarily to the imagination. I don’t think it would be going too far to say that the imagination is the primary faculty by which/through which/ with which we commune with God – and he commune with us.
Incarnation and imagination go together. To ‘see’ God’s nature reflected in the world around us (as per Romans 1) requires imagination. To ‘engage’ with the history unpacked/told int he Bible is to use our imagination. To participate fully in the sacraments of baptism and communion is to exercise our imaginations. To consider being ‘born again’, redeemed, restored, rebuilt requires imagination. To see ourselves ‘seated with Christ in heavenly places’ requires imagination.
To understand and experience the deep meaning embedded in the 2,000 year history of the church requires imagination.
Certainly our imaginations need to be sanctified and properly formed (or transformed, or reformed). Imaginations are pliable and flexible and powerful whether used for good or for bad.
God wants us to use our imaginations.
So I embarked on a journey of Spiritual Disciplines
To break the deadlock – and get to writing – I practiced what for me has been one of the most valuable and life enhancing spiritual disciplines
Unpack the disciplines – concept and formation
My (ancient) spiritual discipline is to go for a run. Why running – body busy, not many distractions, mind only needs to keep me upright and avoid obstacles so spirit and soul open to listen and to hear. Not the sub-40min 10km charging along inspired by the engagement and flow of inspired thinking – after which I would often not even remember where I ran. Now more like a 6 to 7 minute shuffle where the ‘flow’ is often interrupted by some panting and heavy breathing.
As I have explored and practiced some of the disciplines I have dug and been encouraged to write about some of these things.
I also believe in the power and value of conversation. In community we need to engage in healthy robust conversations. Conversation – the art of thinking together.
Recently there have been a flood of books about how to conduct conversations. They unpack conversation – crucial conversations, critical conversations, robust conversations. Possibly we need to, in our hyper-connected, social media obsessed world, learn once again to converse with one another – not talk to one another, or talk past one another – but converse with one another.
In todays world there are so many new ways to speak, to make ones voice heard
Conversation – means, two way, dignified, respectful. Listen and talk and listen and talk, and hear and speak, and ponder and be silent and talk and listen and hear – this is conversation. Conversation is connection. Conversation takes more than one person, conversation is community.
Talking seems so natural – conversation is an art. An art that I am still learning.
I also believe that we need more ‘considered conversations’ – see more about this here (> considered conversations<)
Rooted and Radical
I am more and more convinced that we need a re-grounding in the church today – we need a re-rootedness on the things that we believe to be true, good and beautiful – and these things need to be formed and shaped by the things God has spoken, by the revelation of God in and through the life and work of Jesus and by the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in and through our lives and the communities we are part of. We need to examine what we have built our lives on, the beliefs we hold to be true, the way we perceive or judge things to be good and things we see and value as beautiful.
The fruit grow in the spaces of Communion, Community, and Commerce
These are bounded spaces
These are free spaces
There are three areas I would like to examine and re-imagine in this blog, and I have become more and more persuaded that they are crucial to all of our lives. The area or realm of our Communion, with God and with one another. The Communities we participate in. The sphere of Commerce that provides both our employment and for our everyday needs.