This week we launched the Courageous Church Online Summit, a one-week online conference with speakers from around the country speaking on the future of spirituality and the essential theological work of this age.
I’ve had the most amazing conversations in these interviews. Here are some of my favorite insights:
Bishop Yvette Flunder, co-founder of The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries, said about the future of the church: “Inflexibility is the indicator that it is the time for reformation…. Inflexibility that calls to and for reformation is when we become so concretized and solidified and super-glued to what it is that we do and how we do what we do. Then a wind of the spirit comes through and blows something completely different. We who are the most capable overnight become the least capable, and the least capable overnight become the most capable. And the last shall be first and the first shall be last.”
Diana Butler Bass, author and historian, commented on compassion: “There is a constant in the cosmos that was embodied in the person of Jesus. And that constant is compassion. That constant is love. … To write a book called freeing Jesus while you’re in pandemic lockdown, you learn a thing or two about what real freedom is, and you learn a thing or two about what really matters. And for me, it was coming to that one point, that distillation of everything, from my experience, from what I knew from church, my hopes, dreams, fears, wisdom, and hope, all combined. That compassion is everything.”
John Dorhauer, UCC General Minister and President said, “Infrastructure tends to become institutionalized. It’s the movement trying to perpetuate itself for the good that they’ve discovered so that it stands when they are gone. I just wish that we could discern more faithfully when the spirit is calling us to something new and treating the loss of this institution less as a death to be mourned than as a birthing moment to be celebrated on the other side.”
In their own ways, each of them said that OUR essential work is to wake up to the blessed impermanence of our institutions, celebrate our interdependence and embody life with a spirit of compassionate love.
We are waking up to see and touch the big mystery, the big pattern, the Big Real. Jesus called it the kingdom of God; Buddha called it enlightenment. Philosophers might call it Truth. Many of us see it as Sacred Love.
Living in conscious awareness of this reality IS the work for this time. Catholic priest and author Richard Rohr once suggested this mantra you might repeat throughout your day to remind yourself of this:
God’s life is living itself in me. I am aware of life living itself in me.
God’s love is living itself in me. I am aware of love living itself in me.
We are in this together,
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