Would that All God’s People…

people-compass.jpg One day as we were dwelling in Luke 10 at the Seabeck gathering, I stopped on the “70” — or as some manuscripts report, “72.” One explanation of this textual error is that a scribe somewhere along the line “corrected” it to read 72 instead of 70 because it was associated with Numbers 11, which also features a group of 70, from which two were missing — or not.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Gather before me seventy men who are recognized as elders and leaders of Israel. Bring them to the Tabernacle to stand there with you. I will come down and talk to you there. I will take some of the Spirit that is upon you, and I will put the Spirit upon them also. They will bear the burden of the people along with you, so you will not have to carry it alone.

Missional Order: Shalom

peace-who-enter.jpg I introduced the concept of Shalom yesterday as I was concluding my last post on the missional order. I should take this opportunity to explain that my many musings on this subject over the past week-plus, although they are tagged “missional order”, do not represent the formal outcome of or substance of discussions in our gathering at Seabeck. Many of these themes emerged at one or more points in the discussion, but the thoughts I present are my own ruminations arising in these post-Seabeck weeks. Of course, many of my thoughts go back to much older ruminations, and I’m busy wrapping them all up in this series. A series, mind you, which I never intended to be a series. Nonetheless, I’ve summarized it as such in a sidebar below. Back to Shalom, a concept which also makes an appearance in Luke 10, where a blessing of peace is extended to those from whom the 70 sought hospitality, and the notion of “a people of peace” arises in the reception of the greeting of peace.

Missional Order: Three Remembrances for Living in Exile

old-window-door.jpg I’ve been working up to this all week, and I doubt I can cover it off in a single entry, but let’s see what we come up with, shall we? Just piecing together some themes following the Seabeck Gathering sponsored by Allelon, I have begun to consider The Role of The Rule (and other disciplines) as part of The Subversive Nature of the Ordinary in helping to keep us on the path during a mapless quest or an aimful wandering — a Peregrinatio. Len picked up a theme from me of covenant renewal, which I commented further upon, saying I didn’t plan to hit the theme until today, that I was just foreshadowing. Well, the pressure’s on.

Missional Order: Peregrinatio

Compass Rose I’ve been thinking about the sojourn lately. At the Seabeck gathering, there was no discussion at all about what to name a missional order, but I was thinking about David Fitch’s Missional Order of St. Fiacre, St. Fiacre being the patron saint of gardeners, and so selected for the metaphor of church planting. The order we were talking about is quite likely to be fashioned as a pilgrim order, being based as it is in Luke 10:1-12 where Jesus sends out the 70 (or 72, depending which manuscript you’re reading). I checked, and discovered that St. Christopher is the patron saint of travelers. St. Christopher is an interesting character, having been de-canonized in 1969 for lack of evidence not only that he lived a holy life, but that he existed at all. “Christopher” means “Christ-bearer”, which is fitting for a sent people. The question of existence resounds in a question that Rick Meigs asked me as we were dwelling in Luke 10 together. “What were their stories?” he asked, pointing out that we don’t know where the 70 came from or what happened to them afterward. This would be a fitting image for us too, who partake in the journey without want of recognition or pride of place. We merely appear, bearing and sharing the peace of Christ, and then move along. In the account of St. Christopher, it is said that he had taken the place of a hermit who guided travelers. Rather than merely guide, St. Christopher would carry them safely to the other side of a stream. One day he carried a child across the stream, and the weight of the child almost crushed him. Arriving on the other side, the child revealed himself as Christ, who was heavy because he bore the weight of the world on his shoulders. An image for us perhaps of the fact that the task of bearing Christ is not an easy calling. Or sending, if you will.

Missional Order: The Subversive Nature of the Ordinary

Pictured: an ordinary lunch at the Missional Order gathering last week, time spent not only sharing meals, but listening to the ‘other’ and entering into their stories. It’s a mundane sacred practice… but I’m getting ahead of myself. I have now transcribed my notes from cards into an OpenOffice document, partly as a way of reviewing, processing, and synthesizing. As I was reviewing my notes and thoughts with my cards spread before me, typing words that I jotted down and having those words jog others, voices, phrases, I began to feel strangely moved. I wonder if the truly subversive nature of what we’re talking about has not fully sunken in for most of us. We really are talking about changing everything, but we aren’t changing much of anything. As we return to the ideals God set in our hearts and the practices he has given us, God himself is on the move, changing things fundamentally. The cheese has slipped off the Romans’ cracker, and while they fumble about to find it and reassert its position, it’s being gobbled up by the peasants. The lowly, the ordinary. The meek.

Missional Order: The Role of The Rule

One of the subjects that came up at the Seabeck Missional Order Gathering on Tuesday (I think) was the question of language. In the formation of an order and the conversation around St. Benedict’s rule, some question was made about the language we use and how we express it. Before I left for the gathering, the question had been put to me by more than one person. After all, words like “rule” and “order” sound a little to the rigid or legalistic side. In the charismatic tradition, the verse that speaks of “a God of order, not disorder” is met with the challenge of what order might look like to God, and the fact that it might look very disorderly to us. In context, the conversation was essentially what we hope to achieve in the formation of an order… whether it’s done in an elitist exclusionary way, a legalistic fashion, or what. What does such an order or rule do for us, anyway?

Seabeck Interlude

Seabeck Satellite Photo
We’re in the midst of our conversations around a missional order here at Seabeck. It’s a beautiful little spot on Seabeck Bay near Puget Sound, pictured above through the eyes of Google. Thus far it’s been great to meet some people I’ve talked with on the phone or via email only, and to see again people I’ve met before but don’t get to see in person that often. The conversation is shaping up nicely, and the group of people here is rapidly becoming one of no-longer-strangers. On Monday evening I was standing in a group of five guys that included Andrew (Tall Skinny Kiwi) Jones and Rick (The Blind Beggar) Meigs, watching them piece together my name tag (which doesn’t say “Brother Maynard”) with my blog. The five of us decided to go in search of a pub with decent taps, and by the time we were piling into a car, we were joined by to more carloads of people that included Mark and Jeanette Priddy and Bill and Imbi Kinnon and others. You can click on the image above to view a Google map and search around for the little town nearby (Silverdale) where we got bounced from two different bars when they tried to card Imbi. Mark helpfully ran across the street to find a bar that promised not to card her, and we were set.