“Yes” and “No”

I have been reading through The Sermon on the Mount daily with a group of others during this Lenten season, I must admit though that some days that I don’t make it all the way through and hardly ever in a single reading. This is for a number of reasons; some good, some not so good. I could try to justify those reasons here but I will defer to the teachings of The Sermon itself on this matter. From Matthew 6 and 37 we have these words concerning oaths : “All you need to say is simply “Yes” or “No” anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” – NIV

 

I often find myself pondering these words and the implications that they have for all of us, wondering what our world might look like if more practiced this simple invocation.

 

These words of Jesus, I believe are best understood in the context of beloved community; a place where others know me and I them, for it is only in this knowing of each other that we can be at peace with who we truly are; a place where my “Yes” and “No” will be deemed as the only answers needed…

Education – A Letter to my State Representative

 I am disappointed at the attempts to take away power from State Superintendent Glenda Ritz (as I expressed in your post election survey) as evidenced by the bills moving through Committee’s on 2/19/13 would indicate. I am having a really hard time figuring out why Glenda Ritz is not even being given a chance to work with the Super Majority in developing her vision for educating our children. 

Last night as I attended a Town Hall meeting that was looking for solutions to the problem of youth violence in our city, I could not help but to think of the issue of the education and legislation; of people placed in a position of doing what is best for our children who just don’t seem to get it. The message being sent to our children (from this legislative session), is that this is not about you; this about doing what you can when you have the power to do so, unfortunately I think our children get the message loud and clear. The people cried out peace, peace  and their was no peace to be found …

The Jeremiah 29:7 Project

I am working on an initiative as a part of our ongoing work at Drexel Gardens Christian Church, and I am looking to get some input, feedback, criticism or whatever else you may have to offer     The Jeremiah 29:7 Project  

 

  • The Jeremiah 29:7 Project is about educating schools, churches and communities (it is not a program, it is a way of life) about what it means to be a community and to also teach  what living in community looks like;  the basic concept being; that it is in the coming together as a community; living and working together for the good of the community as a whole that we can find peace for each person living in that community.

  • This project/initiative will have a very strong built in youth component called Koinonia. (which is the name our Saturday Youth Worship Leader came up with for our Saturday Night Youth/Community  Service). 

  •  Seek the welfare (peace) of the place where I have sent you into exile, for in its welfare (peace) you will have welfare (peace). 

 

    The emphasis on educating children in our schools, I believe will be a vital component of this initiative. As I look around our community, I see a lot of older teens and young adults who seem to have no purpose for their lives and a lot of younger kids who seem to have no direction. You can sense a general feeling of hopelessness, this I believe results from them failing to meet the expectations placed on them both through the educational process and at home. We spend so much time it seems teaching and emphasizing the need to rise above our/their circumstances; that when our children can’t or don’t live up to those expectations, they deem themselves failures who are stuck in a hopeless situation.
    The hope with The Jeremiah 29:7 Project is this:
    That in teaching the next and even the present generation the importance and value of living in and being part of a community that hope can be restored and that our children can see, experience and live in hope and that they themselves can light the way for future generations.  
    I know this is a pretty basic outline which I hope to be expanding on in the near future with your input, guidance, direction and partnership.
    I strongly believe that for us a church and for the Drexel Gardens community as a whole that this is a direction that we need to take at this time.   
    Please be in prayer for our church/community  as I present these things (which I have spoke of general terms) in more fullness to our church and our community.
    As of the present time nothing has really been done with this initiative, I am still waiting on feedback for this proposal so that I can put together something more concrete; not based just on what I think. If none comes soon I will move forward with putting this together for our community and our church.
    If you read this please pass it along, the more input the more impactful this can be.
    Thankful.  

On Valentine’s Day a Prayer for the Heart…

Seeking Peace

 A prayer for the heart of the other:

Lord, help me to see the heart of the other.

Lord, help me to know the heart of the other.

Lord, help me to love the heart of the other.

Lord, help me to be the heart of the other.

Lord, also help me to let the other’s heart be mine,

so that I can see, know, love and be there for them,

in the way that both you and they need me to be.

AMEN

 

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School Choice: Public, Private or Local (?)

I believe that the ultimate determination of the success or failure of any school, be it public or private should be made on the most local level. It should be made by those who know their students/children the best; it should be made by their community leaders, school administrators, teachers and most importantly the parents of the children attending these schools. If we deem any of these people unqualified to make such important decisions, then the correct step to make, would be to qualify them, to provide them with an adequate understanding of how these choices/decisions are made. This (qualifying) I believe can all be done on a local level by those who know the community that a school is located in the best. 

I believe that when we leave these decisions in the hands of the local community, that we strengthen the community by making them a much larger stakeholder in the long term success of the community in which they live and share life together, thus providing stability and hope for future generations.

As we allow these decisions to move through the tiers of government, we gradually diminish the significant role that community life has and can play in the life of our children. Each decision made for them by someone else concerning their local place serves to diminish their already weakening voice and can move them into a state of deeper hopelessness. 

If we want our children to know that they have a voice and if we want our children and future generations to have a reason to hope, then the promotion of strong community life would be a great place to start.

Community building should be the road much more traveled on than what it is; by promoting stronger local neighborhoods and communities we can indeed build a bridge both to and for our children’s future.

Seeking, working and praying for peace in this place.

 

Pondering the Origins of Community

At the core of community is the knowledge that community must begin in the place where you are, it is in that place of origins for us as individuals that we first learn what it means to be part of a community; part of a family.  The downfall of community through the generations has been the stripping away of the family as this place where community is first taught and also learned. Through the disintegration of family came the disintegration of community. When we have tried to re-institute this concept of community we have more often then not failed miserably because we have not fixed this vital and first step in the teaching of and learning in community. Sure we have made valiant efforts at trying substitute community for family with some success but without this element at its core it is not the same, something is very notably missing.

Getting back to this basic idea of community beginning in the place where you are. I believe that we can take steps in the restoration of the family (our initial community) but it needs to start in the local place where you are, it cannot start in the larger  community, because the concept or understanding of what community is has not been formed yet. But it can begin where you are; with those around you who know you and the environment in which commuity is trying to be formed the best.

This is a work in progress…

Pondering and thinking on these things…

Where do we go from here?

The only place to begin is at the beginning, community just doesn’t happen because we want it to, it takes hard work, we can’t take shortcuts.