Thursday, July 20, 2006

There Ain't No Justice

I only have two things to highlight from last Sunday.

The first is the line “whoever receives little forgiveness loves very little.”

(which to me seems to be an observation rather than a cause, otherwise Jesus would not love at all)

The second is a quote from Richard Rohr’s book Everything Belongs:

“Two-thirds of Jesus’ teachings are about forgiveness. A good third of Jesus’ parables are about forgiveness, directly or indirectly. Forgiveness has nothing to do with logic. It is the final breakdown of logic. It is a mystical recognition that human evil is something we are all trapped by, suffering from, and participating in. It calls forth weeping, humility, and healing much more than feverish attempts to root out the evil. The transformation happens through the tears much more than through threats and punishments.”

Speaking purely from the perspective of forgiving rather than being forgiven, I found I had quite a few stones to lay at the foot of the cross afterwards. None of them were because I’m deliberately holding onto unforgiveness, rather that I still suffer the consequences of those people’s mistakes. Sometimes I imagine myself confronting them with the results of their behaviour – it always makes me feel worse. Everytime I catch myself doing this now, I try to replace it with imagining myself forgiving them instead. Perhaps that sounds magnanimous, but it feels much much better. The world is a good place afterwards.

It seems to me that justice can never calculate an exact repayment – there’s always bitterness left afterwards. Only forgiveness seems to meet a debt in full.

I believe in speaking positive things, and putting something on a public blog that the whole world can read seems like a good way of commiting oneself to it, so here goes:

If you're reading this, and you know me (Steve Goble), and you've hurt me, whatever you've done I unconditionally forgive you.

After all, the past actually doesn’t exist.


Thursday, July 13, 2006

Weak is the New Strong - Reflections From Rhett

If weak is the new strong (I see I'm not the only uber-fan of Rob Bell), does that mean that Jesus could still beat the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in a fight?

Or would he fight at all? I think that would depend on whether we were talking about the Gospel Jesus or the Revelation Jesus.

... I hope I am not alone in pondering these things.

I really enjoyed this past Sunday night, even if I completely mis-timed inflicting my droll humour on people in between two completely serious items. (Maybe idiot is the new clever.)

I found the sermon encouraging, as well as challenging.

I felt challenged about the fact that I always like to be right. And when I'm right, that means everyone who doesn't think my way is wrong. A small part of the sermon seemed to hit upon this, and it made a big impact on me.

I've also been thinking about the tension between admitting our weakness and need for God, yet striving towards holiness. We dwell on our weakness, and our need for Christ's strength to help us, but at the same time we strive for purity of motives, better ethics and ultimately, Christ-likeness. It's an interesting juxtaposition.

What does 'weak is the new strong' mean to me?

Well, I don't need to be convinced of my sinfulness... unfortunately the evidence is clear enough. Where I often fall short however is having the humility to completely accept God's (and other people's) grace without excuses and explanations.

My aim is to tattoo that phrase on the walls of my mind, so the next time I'm tempted to rely on my own strength, I'll be reminded of the truth.

Oh, and don't worry, I'm not a heretic...

Jesus would so kick ass.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Art of Being Ekkeisia - Reflections From Vania


The thing that I can really remember is from week 1 Body Art. At the end of the message Brett was talking about different parts of the physical body and relating it to the church. As part of the response point dolls body parts were handed around. I sat there trying to work out what part of the body I might be and therefore what doll limb I would choose. After thinking on that for a few minutes a random thought struck me...

This past year has been one of the toughest for me. Whatever part of the body (lets say a toe for arguments sake) I am, I feel that I have been broken and kind of dangling - unable to function normally. The significant thing in this picture is that even though I feel I have been somewhat useless and dangling, I have always remained... connected... and a part of the body. What has held me there has been the ligaments. And the ligaments represent my husband, my dear friends, those from my church family who have cared for me (and our family), given me space when I needed it and kept me hanging on.

The bones of this toe are knitting back together and getting stronger each day. So I am eternally grateful to each ligament for keeping me attached.

Monday, July 10, 2006

The Art of Being Ekkeisia - Reflections From Brett

The things that hit me personally from this series were:

For me there were 2 massive bombshells:

1. The first was from Melissa's message "What Not to Wear". The idea of the church's collective holiness fashion statement as being "tailor-made" rather than "off the rack" encourages me to push on with the dream of cessioncommunity. "life encountering truth as we reflect and offer Christ" sums up for me what this "made to measure" holiness will look like. I thought Melissa did a stunning job with this message, bringing wonderful originality and insight to the passage.

2. In week 3, I got to preach on Ephesians 2 - Cultural Architecture. The idea that we must build "in Christ" was one that nailed me. We can't build by simply leading the church better, organising the church better, working harder, smarter etc These things are important but if we don't do it "in Christ" we will not become who God designed us to be. Very liberating realisation.

I'm planning on making some commitments to my community as a result:

It reinforced to me the need for me to be "in Christ" as an individual. Simple but essential.

Other Random Thoughts!

I loved the imagery in this series. I think the BodyArt metaphor was my fave. I like the idea of Jesus being tattooed into my character. It will hurt, it doesn't wash off and the impact is impressive...and then I think of a tattooed may still hurt at times but it has a permanence that is for the long haul and an allure that is down to God's presence.

Overall, this series shaped me in a way i didn't expect. Very good timing for me personally and i think for us as a church community looking to relocate our Sunday gathering...

Thursday, July 06, 2006

the art of being ekkleisia - reflections from melissa

One of the things I loved most about this series was the imagery. I'll be honest - I am an image conscious person. Not in an entirely shallow way, though I'm certainly capable of being so! I tend to think in images, when I try to understand something, I usually create pictures in my mind to get my head around the idea. So trying to understand the kinds of images which are used in the New Testament to describe the church was something I found easy to connect with - though the thoughts generated were certainly not without challenge for me.

One of the ways that I got to expore the images was by putting together 3 out of four of the images we used with the scripture readings. For me, putting these together was an exercise in both exegesis and meditation. Here are the images again:

body art (the body of Christ)

what not to wear (the bride of Christ)

blogos (letters written on human flesh)



Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Art of Being Ekkeisia - Reflections From Dione

The Art of Being Ekkleisia

I missed the middle two sessions on this one, so forgive me if I have missed something, or say too much…

I looked up, a favourite of mine, to get a feel for the words art & ekkleisia, this is what it came up with…

ART:- “Synonyms: art, craft, expertise, knack, know-how, technique
These nouns denote skill in doing or performing that is attained by study, practice, or observation: the art of rhetoric; pottery that reveals an artist's craft; political expertise; a knack for teaching; mechanical know-how; a precise diving technique.”

ec·cle·si·a Pronunciation Key (-klzh-, -z-)
n. pl. ec·cle·si·ae (-zh-, -z-)
1. The political assembly of citizens of an ancient Greek state.
2. A church or congregation.
[Latin ecclsia, from Greek ekklsi, from ekkalein, to summon forth : ek-, out; see ecto- + kalein, kl-, to call; see kel-2 in Indo-European Roots.]

So from that, I believe the art of ekkleisia means to be called out (chosen?). In practice, that means we need to gain skills in the following of Christ through study, practice (doing) and by observing others in the church and Jesus himself. I liked that Frank used the term progress in his post because when we look at it’s meaning below it fit’s in well with the art of being ekkleisia. We are all work in progress. I liked the mention of blog's in the last session, it's a great way of getting honesty/truth out to the masses, or at least to get your thoughts out into an open forum. :) I have experienced a lot of personal growth through my own blog, and through joining cession where I feel encouraged to think why I believe what I do.

prog·ress Pronunciation Key (prgrs, -rs, prgrs)
1. Movement, as toward a goal; advance.
2. Development or growth: students who show progress.
3. Steady improvement, as of a society or civilization: a believer in human progress.
4. A ceremonial journey made by a sovereign through his or her realm.

I am glad to be part of a community of believers that want to be just that – a community. It takes work to move towards being this. We humans are not, nor could we ever be perfect, but steady progress is being made. Progress, I believe, is the most important part of living.

Continue to grow, learn, live life!



No title.

Hhhhhmmmm, posting under my real name rather than the pseudonym that I’ve been using – this could be dangerous!

One of the things that I’ve really enjoyed over the last 4 weeks (other than the food) was being able to take something physical away with me. It does serve as a reminder of what’s been discussed, and if carried around with you can be a focal point for the week.

Having been very busy over the last few weeks though, my though process (as reflected my my blog) has been rather non-existent. But hopefully after reading some posts by everyone else, I’ll be inspired!
Reinterpreting The Art of Being Ekkeisia template - 'reflections' from old man jakey
Disclaimer: Sorry if you were hoping for something more serious - check out the other great posts!

Personally, I've never really wanted a tattoo, or pierced ears, or coloured hair, or an array of random fashion accessories. I agree, though, that these do suit some people very well. Hopefully cessioncommunity's body art amounts to something a little more thoughtful than a love heart with an arrow through it, or the like...

Hey, I get into a dress on the odd occasion - though I've not yet been in a white one, except metaphorically - so I have no issue with the Church being in one. Hopefully it will be clean on the day.

I find that is it often difficult to get a good sense of your own cultural architecture without seeing that of some other groups/communities; this can give perspective and illuminate our own situation. Hopefully we'll make a good communal building block that fits into its place in the worldwide temple of the Holy Spirit as the master builder/architect continues in his work.

Let's continue to sow our virtual seeds of faith into the fertile and fallow soil of cyberspace...

The things that hit me personally from this series were:
  • [Be thou my vision. For some reason this song brought me to tears on the night, albeit briefly.
  • The response nail. It helps me to have something solid to rub and twist during meditation and sung worship.
  • Melissa's cool scripture images - I did wonder what had happened to her hand at first glance.]

Some of the reflections I've had on the church as part of this series are:

[Is there a Greek synonym for cession starting with an ε? If not we could be in trouble.]

I'm planning on being committed into my 'community' as a result:

[I'm not sure if I could have myself institutionalised. I might need some outside help.]

Other Random Thoughts!

[This "a cessionite" profile is coming in handy. Who said I needed to set up my own profile to comment on blogs that don't allow anonymous comments, when the community has set one up for me. Go the church - comprised of even dissenters!]

Monday, July 03, 2006

Ekkleisia as Art in Progress: Frank

Forgive me father, for I have sinned..... I'm not using the template.... just offering some thoughts.

I loved the idea put forward of the ekkleisia (the church community) being art.

I like the idea of the community being a type of canvas on which not only God paints, but we also paint. A work of art where the things we use to form that art are our relationships and service; the offering of our very selves.

I heard a great saying once "out of pain, art is born". Whilst I like that saying, it only gives half of the story. Life produces art. Life is pain and joy, laughter and tears and sometimes even indifference. These are also the things that make up the experience of the ekkleisia, and if we ignore or try to avoid both the ups and downs then the painting remains incomplete.

I hereby submit myself to the painting, to be used by the Master artist and to contribute to that painting through my lifes ups and downs. Walking and journeying with others within the ekkleisia as we form this piece of art together.


First Reflection Opportunity

We're starting this week's reflection by looking back at the series "The Art of Being Ekkleisia". Head for the posting page and you'll find a template ready to go...but feel free to freestyle - the template is really just a "starter for 10" if you find it helpful to focus your thoughts...

Happy blogging...

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Hey Everyone

Woohoo, I am SO the first person to post!

Only thing is, I don't have too much to say. Sarah was really sick so we even missed out on Brett's whole sermon on blogging. I hope I got a plug.

... And also that God spoke to you all, obviously.

Anyways... have a great week everyone.

P.S. it wouldn't let me sign in with my own account. Hmmm.



Our Blog, who art in cyberspace
Blogspot be thy name
Thy keyboard come
Thy mouse be done
on Macs as it is on PCs
Give us this day our daily bandwidth
Forgive us our typos as we forgive those who comment against us
for thine is the Firefox, the Explorer or the Safari

How To Post

So here's how you post on this blog thingie! First you hit the link on the right marked "POST HERE". Then you can enter the following details:

User Name: cessionblog
Password: so we took this off...if you're really smart you'll try a word we use meaning "surrender" but otherwise you'll email and I'll let you have it...

This will give you access to a posting template. Once you've posted what you want to say, type your name to close and then hit "Publish Post" followed by "Republish Blog". Before you leave just hit the sign out button at the top right hand corner.

Your post should then show up when you reaccess the site.

You can comment at any time, simply by hitting comment - you do not need a profile to comment.

Because you may be sharing the group profile you may want to create your own profile if yu can't sign on - just hit create blog on the blogger home page and proceed as far as step 1 - course you could go the whole hog and create a blog for yourself!

Let the Blog begin!

Welcome to the cessioncommunity blogging experiment...