Culture of Imagination

connecting spirituality to everyday life

Tag: everyday life

8 Reasons Why the Parish Shapes Us


This post is about some of the main reasons why I think the parish, a particular geographic place of a neighborhood, shapes us.  I have been thinking a lot lately about the idea of parish as I have been living in Downtown Tacoma for a little over a decade.  I love the idea of rooting in the parish over a long period of time.  Here are some of the reasons why I think the parish shapes us:

1. It presents us with a new paradigm of a spirituality in everyday life.  The parish is about connecting with others in everyday life.  It is about being the body of Christ as a network of relationships within that particular place.

2. We can no longer hide.  When we live in a place for any number of years, if we are intentional,  we will become known for who we are.  The good, the beautiful, the ugly, the difficult parts of us will be known.  The parish becomes the medium of discipleship and a means to discovering our true selves.

3. Rootedness teaches us to love and show compassion to our neighbors.  It is hard to focus our spirituality on love.  The parish teaches us to love.  The parish teaches compassion.  To live life we need a practice of love and compassion in everyday life together.

4. It creates a context for us to practice our faith.  The parish gives us a context in the world to practice what we have come to believe God is leading us to.  It helps us to engage with our culture in a relational way of faithful presence.

5. It causes us to understand our limitations and responsibilities.  The parish shows us what we can do and what we can’t do in our bodies in the here and now.  It brings to us a posture of serenity where we accept the things we cannot change, ask for the courage to change the things we can and the wisdom to know the difference.

6. We have to reimagine what community can be over time.  It stretches our imaginations to dream and persevere in the difficult times of losing hope.  The parish teaches us to experiment, believe in others and value the diverse ways of human connection that happens when we stay in a place for any number of years.

7. It pushes us to engage the world in ordinary ways.  Our spirituality is no longer about abstract hype, but becomes about seeing God in the ordinary moments of everyday life together.  We start to see all of life as sacred where our neighbors are revelations of God.

8. It puts us in conflict with the dominant narratives of consumerism.  We start to become more aware of the needs and feelings of others.  We start to simplify our lives by not working so many unnecessary hours so we can buy things we really don’t need that much.  Loving others becomes more valuable than buying things.

How can we become shaped by the parish in everyday life together?

Where is the Body of Christ in Everyday Life?


So many years have gone by where I haven’t experienced the body of Christ in everyday life.  I have almost given up on my spirituality.  I have often wondered, Where is a sense of community in everyday life?  What is the body of Christ doing together besides just gathering in a meeting or a building?  Why do we define church apart from an everyday expression in the place we live?

I don’t understand these things most of the time.  They are confusing to me and do not support my own growth, development and formation in the world.  I have always wanted to be a part of a radical movement that subverts the status quo, but what I have found is my Christianity being reduced to going to church.  This has bored me and has not supported my faith.

Why is it that this dualistic way of church is hindering us from experiencing life?  The church should not keep us from following what is authentic, but I am afraid many times it does.  This must frustrate God.  Why is this not more of a frustration to us too?

God is probably sad over the colonial, individualistic spirituality in North America that we have created through our lack of faithful presence.  As I have found that my spirituality is experienced as an embodied practice in the place I live in everyday life together with others.  It all comes down to listening, love, grace and humility.

I want to love the church and hope for its life in the world.  I want to be a part of a community in the parish in everyday life that can give inspiration to others.  So I am facing the temptation to stop loving the world, but God is calling me to love the place I live, to be a neighbor, to be a friend.

  •  Being cocreators of the future

We are to be cocreators of the future of the place we inhabit together.  It is our local responsibility, our local investment and local ownership that will develop the parish imagination among us.  Tom Sine says, “Incredibly, God invites us to be cocreators in giving imaginative expression to God’s new creation in the here and now…”

  •  Creating the parish imagination in everyday life

We are called to be “imaginative expressions” of the body of Christ in everyday life together in the parish.  There is no franchise approach to this.  When we cocreate with God through the parish imagination; our expressions will be organic, grassroots, creative, contextual, relational and based on our gifts together.  All our assets will come together to create the parish imagination in everyday life.

  •  The cocreation of beauty in our world

This is the cocreation of beauty in our world together in everyday life.  Our expressions of local responsibility could subvert the empire.  Our expressions of local investment could subvert the status quo.  Our expressions of local ownership could subvert the systems that are creating fragmentation, loneliness and isolation.

How can we be cocreators of the future of our world together?

Longing for Community in Everyday Life


In the year 2000, I had a profound experience of extreme loneliness after I had finished college.  I was uprooted from my relational network around the college I went to in order to take a job in the field of my study somewhere else in a new place.  This was hard for me because I moved to a place where I didn’t know anyone.  I had so much anxiety that it was hard for me to be at peace as I became depressed and lost a lot of energy to live.

I spent a whole year or so struggling with a longing for relational connection, peace, interdependence, and community.  My faith in God seemed to be gone.  I was becoming angry, disillusioned, and disheartened.  I was wondering was there anyone in the place I lived that I could connect to and become friends with in the state I was in?

It seemed I was abandoned by God and lost.  I was experiencing a dark night of the soul where I spent a lot of time crying in my brokenness and pain.  God was leading me to see a need for some sense of interdependence and community in my life.  Up to this point, I had not really experienced or seen what that could look like in everyday life.

  •  Individualism, fragmentation, loneliness

How can we be the body of Christ together in the day-to-day of life despite the individualism, fragmentation, and loneliness we all experience at times?  I have experienced many years of trying to be connected to people of faith who have no commitment to one another, or to the  place where they live.  It  has been frustrating.

  •  A slow turning towards a Culture of Imagination

Many times I have wanted to give up because it seems that all of our spirituality is lived out of a Western individualistic paradigm.  But I want to encourage others not to give up. There is another path to a way of interdependence within the body of Christ in everyday life.  And it seems that there is a slow turning towards a Culture of Imagination that God intended from the beginning of creation.

  •  Discovering interdependence

I have often asked myself the question, “What is life about?”  I don’t know a lot of the time, but I am discovering that I need an interdependence with others to even open up the question.  This cannot be discovered in isolation from others.

  •  Living into my context with more authenticity

The context of my relationships in the place that I live is the medium that helps me to discern what life is and who I am.  I must resist the temptation to run away when the relational revelations come at me too strongly and I lack the courage to face them.  These situations have the power to break down my arrogance and help me rely on God in order to live into my context with more authenticity and imagination.

How can we live interdependently with others in everyday life in the place we live?

Faithful Presence in the Present Moment of Everyday Life

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It is so nice to go for a walk and enjoy the present moment.  After a hard fall and winter season, it is nice to just rest in the beauty of the world God has created.  Too many times I am unaware of the beauty of the created world around me.

  • I cannot separate myself from the world

I cannot separate myself from the world in which I live.  It is all around me and I am a part of it.  The world in which I experience everyday life is my small contribution to bring my unique self forward.

  • Coming to realize life is a gift

After losing a friend this past year, I am coming to realize just how much life is a gift.  My grief and sorrow are showing me just how important it is to take nothing for granted.  I am alive in the present moment.  My salvation is wrapped up in sharing life together with others.

  • Staying in the same place the past ten years

Sometimes I think about how my life would be different if I hadn’t stayed in the same place the past ten years.  Would I have more money?  Would life be easier?  Would I be the person I am today?

  • Hope to be a faithful presence for decades to come

My life is now about halfway over, as I have turned forty this past year.  I don’t know how long I will live, but I hope to be a faithful presence in my local community or parish for another couple of decades.  If I could embody that way of life, it would make me very happy to know I have lived my life out of a sense of love, grace and humility toward others.  I do not want to become an angry man that only cares for himself and no one else as I become older in life.

  • The struggle of living in the present moment

Wonder has been difficult to embrace as I have struggled with living in the present moment.  The past always tugs at me and the future is always calling out.  But I must find my grounding in the present moment of everyday life in the parish.  This is how I can experience God within me on-the-ground in the context I live in.  The ordinary moments are drenched in sacredness and there is no escaping my responsibilities to those I am in community with.

  • The present moment is calling out to me

The present moment of deep wisdom is calling out to me as I am tempted to live individualistically.  The present moment is filled with discovery and revelation.  As I live today, I am tired of fighting the present moment of enlightenment only to enter into a depression of despair.  There is a sense of life in the present moment in the ordinary.

How can we find beauty in everyday life in the present moment of the ordinary?