Morning Prayer

morning prayerYou sing in my heart this morning. It starts as a low hum but swells and fills me, reaching to the very space between my cells, flooding my whole being with your presence, lifting my heart and releasing me to praise.

You look at your creation with love and see the bright hope that is seeded in its fibers. You call and watch the stirrings of the dawn; you see the pull of love and know it is stronger than the push of anger. The world will not end in fire or ice but in an embrace. You hold that faith in sight.

Give me your hope, your love, your strength, your vision to do what you set before me with energy and power, with openness and joy. Let the dance begin.


1 15 07

Trying Not to See

God, what am I called to do for You in this world of suffering and beauty? – Molly Baskette 
 looking through my fingers

I sit with my head down. My hands cover my eyes.  My eyes, closed hard, behind them. I don’t want to look.  I don’t want to see. Too much pain and suffering in the world – too much hurt.  If I look, I might have to respond.

I assuage my latent guilt by pretending not to know.  Like a German citizen in denial of the concentration camp just over the hill, I look the other way and ignore the train that crossed my path today. I am too small and weak to risk knowing the truth.  That’s what I would tell myself, if I let the whisper of that reality surface in my soul.  I’m sufficiently practiced in denial that I rarely need that extra shield. Continue reading

Characteristics of Emergence Christianity

tickle picThis set of characteristics is drawn from a trio of works by Phyllis Tickle:

  1. The Great Emergence: How Christianity is Changing and Why
  2. Emergence Christianity: What it is, Where it is Going and Why it Matters 
  3. Embracing Emergence Christianity 

Major Characteristics of ‘Emergence Christianity’  

  • It is deeply incarnational. It calls for embodiment – in worship and in many other ways.
  • It approaches scripture from an ‘actualist’ rather than a literalist frame. Scripture opens a window to what is real – there is a truth beyond facts. It is dependable, foundational, demanding … but we must look to the Word beyond the words.
  • It leads to radical obedience – which is part of the incarnational expectation; partly reflective of our dual citizenship
  • It has a different understanding of the Trinity – more like a dance, more inclusive of the Holy Spirit
  • It is de-institutionalized – it is not fond of hierarchy and wants no bishop
    • Smaller gatherings turn to bi-vocational leaders in conversational exchange
    • It will require that we redefine the diaconate, and will have a real impact on seminaries
    • It is expressed in both the resistance to property and to ecclesiastical structures
  • There is an embrace of the transitory. No group is permanent – scattering spreads the seeds. Jesus was itinerate for a reason.
  • There is a distinction made between the Christian and the secular mode of ‘good works.’
    • Tickle uses the term ‘inhumane kindness’ to describe works of ‘charity’ that maintain a difference between the ‘helper’ and the ‘helpee.’ There is good reason to help – socially and economically – but a Christian approaches it in a relational frame – springing from our commonness and leading to greater community.
    • Sustainability is not just about preserving the world for our grandchildren, but the Christian reverence for and celebration of God’s creation – honoring the sacredness of that reality
  • There is a commitment in the context of community
    • Expressed in neo-monasticism – with variations of common table / common purse / common rule of life
    • House churches and other gatherings (10% of current Christian community)
  • There is a difference sense of what it is to be missional. It occurs all day every day, in common life. It is not a program, which would imply something separate.

Across this set of characteristics are themes of wholeness, commitment, community, balance, mystery and grace. It is an expression of Christianity that provides for some a new way to take their faith seriously, even in the context of questions.

[photo of Phyllis Tickle from]