Culture of Imagination

connecting spirituality to everyday life

Tag: stability

Wake Up and Regain Hope

images (44)I have lived in my neighborhood in Downtown Tacoma for over twelve years now. When I first moved here I had hopes of being a blessing to this local community in all kinds of ways. As time has gone on, it seems I have lost hope. It seems I cannot readily assess what I am doing here and if anything really matters anymore.

Is community really that important in this world? Do I really believe in a deep embodiment of love, compassion, and truthfulness anymore? I think I am struggling to find my path of meaning, purpose, and authenticity.

Sometimes I think, “Everything around me doesn’t matter anymore.” I am losing hope in who I am and what I can do in the world. Does any of it really matter anyways? Drowning in a sea of depression, anxiety, and fear has made me question what I once held value in.

But this place is calling me back into a way of solidarity. Where will I go if I move on in anger, disillusionment, and fear? I am called to live right where I am. I cannot give up my hope of love, humility, vulnerability, and compassion.

I say to myself, “Wake up and see the wonder of life all around you.” Don’t move on because there is no better place for me somewhere else. This is my life right now. At this moment, there is no better time to live and embrace my own pain than now as hard as it might be.

Stay where I am and learn to express the deepest ground of my being. Let love lead me to deeper places of truth, vulnerability, and honesty. I want to be free, alive, and hopeful for the future. Let me smile on this day with gratitude, stability, and peace.

  • Getting away from the mindset of upward mobility

God is calling us to an integration of stability in everyday life together. By stability, I mean a rootedness in our local context. By stability, I mean resisting the temptation to live somewhere that is better than where we are. An integration of stability is about getting away from the American mindset of upward mobility.

  • An embodiment of stability

We are often desiring to move to the best possible neighborhoods, the best possible living conditions, the best possible career at the expense of neglecting our neighbors and making the parish secondary to everything else. But what we do not understand, is that an embodiment of stability in the place we inhabit together is how we love our neighbors. Without an integration of stability there is very little love for others, there is almost no relationship with the parish, and there is hardly any deep listening.

  • Take root in a local community. living and loving there

Marlena Graves states, “We cannot love well and be loved ourselves if we are not committed to a community…  Loving and being loved require that we become stable… We take root in a local community, living and loving there…”

  • Reconciliation, embodiment, and deep listening

Our stability will shape us constantly. A place we inhabit together is a powerful medium of liminality. We will be challenged with the relational ways of reconciliation, embodiment, and deep listening. We cannot escape this anymore. This is our calling. This is our path to following the teachings of Christ to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

What stands out to you?

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Top 12 Ways to Embrace the Wisdom of Stability

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After eleven years of being rooted in the place that I live in Downtown Tacoma, I am coming to see that stability is important to my humanity.  The biggest thing about stability is that it teaches me to love my neighbors.  It is not always easy to be rooted in a place when almost everything in our society is about moving on and consuming new experiences in new places.  A lot of us move from place to place every couple of years for various reasons and never give ourselves enough time staying somewhere long enough to find a sense of belonging and community.

1. Slow down

Gerald W. Schlabach writes, “In an obsessively mobile society, one wonders whether Christians can be the body of Christ together at all if we will not slow down and stay longer… and practice something like a vow of stability.  Slow down: because there is no way to discern God’s will together without commitment to sit long with one another in the first place.  A vow of stability: because it is no use discerning appropriate ways to be Christian disciples in our age if we do not embody those ways through time, testing, and the patience with one another that transform good ideas and intentions into communal practices…” 

2. Value the years together

We need years together of practicing stability in the parish to embody love, compassion and grace.  We need a shared history together throughout time to practice our discipleship with others.  We need to be put to the test by the stability we practice together as the body of Christ in everyday life.  The parish imagination will test our commitment.

3. Allow our authenticity, love and humanity to be shaped in us

The parish imagination will test our authenticity.  The parish imagination will test our love.  The parish imagination will test our humanity.  Stability will either shape us to become disciples or we will give up on our faith altogether and lead individualistic lives.

4. Do the hard work

Stability is hard work and does not come easy in a culture that has forgotten this virtue.  But the parish imagination is calling out to us for a rootedness in the place we live.

5. Become accountable to the place we live

As we practice the value of stability, we cannot live individualistically anymore.  We are encountered with a shared life with others.  We cannot escape this possibility anymore.  It is our place that we are accountable to.

6. Resist colonialism

We cannot misuse the parish if we care for it.  We cannot practice colonialism if we care for the good of others.  We cannot ignore our local context when we have a parish imagination of rootedness.

7. Have an openness to life with other people

Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove says in his insightful book The Wisdom Of Stability, “Stability demands that we do the long, hard work of life with other people in the place where we are.” 

8. Count the cost

Stability will requires everything from us.  Stability will require a strength of perseverance.  Stability has deep wisdom to reveal to us in everyday life.

9. Life, identity and purpose become reimagined in us   

Stability teaches us of life with others.  Stability teaches us compassion.  Stability teaches us humility.  Stability teaches us how to love.

10. Learn relational connection

Stability teaches us relational connection.  Stability teaches us grace.  Stability teaches us simplicity.  Stability teaches us proximity.

11. Become the body of Christ together

We abandon stability at our own peril.  If the body of Christ will not practice stability it ceases to exist.  There is no body of Christ in everyday life without stability.

12. Take a relational wisdom seriously

We cannot even understand the scriptures anymore without a practice of stability.  Stability reveals a relational wisdom that cannot be found anywhere else.  We need to take the practice of stability in the place we live seriously as the body of Christ in everyday life together.

What do you think about the wisdom of stability in a mobile culture?

http://www.amazon.com/Communal-Imagination-Finding-Share-Together/dp/1495487423/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1430570915&sr=8-1&keywords=the+communal+imagination

How Would We Be Shaped If We Embodied Stability?

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Practicing stability for over a decade has taught me about life, people, God and myself.  I am learning to love, show compassion and practice humility in my everyday life.  The practice of gratitude has become something that keeps me from getting overwhelmed from what isn’t.  The place I live has taught me to see the similarities in others rather than our differences.

I am learning to find balance.  I am learning to be kind and forgiving.  I am finding God revealed to me through the ordinary things in everyday life.  Freedom is not just an idea, but an embodied experience I live out each day.

  •  Practicing stability together in the parish

We need years together of practicing stability in the parish to embody the gospel.  We need a shared history together throughout time to practice our discipleship with others.  We need to be put to the test by the stability we practice together as the body of Christ in everyday life.

  •  Testing our commitment, authenticity, love and humanity

The parish imagination will test our commitment.  The parish imagination will test our authenticity.  The parish imagination will test our love.  The parish imagination will test our humanity.

  •  Shaping us into our true selves

Stability will either shape us into our true selves or we will give up on our faith altogether and lead individualistic lives.  Stability is hard work and does not come easy in a culture that has forgotten this virtue.  But the parish imagination is calling out to us for a rootedness in the place we live.

  • Encountered with a shared life with others

As we practice the value of stability, we cannot live individualistically anymore.  We are encountered with a shared life with others.  We cannot escape this possibility anymore.  It is our place that we are accountable to.

  •  We cannot ignore our local context

We cannot misuse the parish if we care for it.  We cannot be colonial if we care for the good of others.  We cannot ignore our local context when we have a parish imagination of rootedness.

  •  The long, hard work of life with other people where we are

Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove says in his insightful book The Wisdom Of Stability, “Stability demands that we do the long, hard work of life with other people in the place where we are.”  Stability will requires everything from us.  Stability will require a strength of perseverance.  Stability has deep wisdom to reveal to us as the body of Christ in everyday life.

  •  Stability teaches us compassion, humility and love

Stability teaches us of life with others.  Stability teaches us compassion.  Stability teaches us humility.  Stability teaches us how to love.

  •  Stability teaches us relational connection, grace and simplicity

Stability teaches us relational connection.  Stability teaches us grace.  Stability teaches us simplicity.  Stability teaches us proximity.

How can we practice stability together as the body of Christ in everyday life?

http://www.amazon.com/The-Communal-Imagination-Finding-Together/dp/1495487423/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406225194&sr=8-1&keywords=the+communal+imagination

The Liminality of Stability

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I spent the first twenty years of my life in the same neighborhood in Kent, Washington.  As I got in my twenties, my experience was a very different kind as I lived in five different places in ten years.  When I got into my thirties, I moved to Downtown Tacoma where I have become a local practitioner of faithful presence for the last ten years.  What a different experience of rootedness my thirties has been than what I experienced in my rootless twenties.

  • An integration of stability

The gospel is calling us to an integration of stability as the body of Christ in everyday life together in the parish.  By stability, I mean a rootedness in our local context.  By stability, I mean resisting the temptation to live somewhere that is better than where we are.  An integration of stability is about getting away from the North American mindset of upward mobility.

  • An embodiment of stability is how we love

We have a tendency to move to the best possible neighborhood, the best possible living conditions, the best possible career at the expense of neglecting our neighbors; and making the parish secondary to everything else.  But what we do not understand is that an embodiment of stability in the place we inhabit together is how we love our neighbors.  Without an integration of stability there is usually very little love for others, there is almost no relationship with the parish, deep listening becomes difficult and we will probably become exploiters in the name of God.  Nobody likes this kind of stuff!

  • A medium of liminality

Our stability will shape us constantly.  A place we inhabit together is a powerful medium of liminality.  We will be challenged with the reality of embodying the gospel with people who we live life with in our local context.

  • The calling of the parish imagination

We cannot escape the parish imagination in the place that we live.  This is our calling.  This is our path to following the teachings of Christ in everyday life together.

  • Becoming citizens of our locality

When we embody the parish imagination together we become citizens of our locality.  The parish imagination always leads us toward citizenship in the place we inhabit as the body of Christ in everyday life.  We become people who care for a place and what happens in that place.

  • Learning practices of inhabitation

Daniel Kemmis says in his book Community And The Politics Of Place, “So it is that places may play a role in the revival of citizenship.  Places have a way of claiming people.  When they claim very diverse kinds of people, then those people must eventually learn to live with each other; they must learn to inhabit their place together, which they can do only through the development of certain practices of inhabitation which both rely upon and nurture the old-fashioned civic virtues of trust, honesty, justice, toleration, cooperation, hope, and remembrance.  It is through the nurturing of such virtues (and in no other way) that we might begin to reclaim that competency upon which democratic citizenship depends.”

What are your thoughts on the idea of parish, stability, and practices of inhabitation?