December 5, 2010

ABC's - weekend reflection


What a great weekend!? I hope all of those that attended enjoyed and benefited from it as much as I did. Special thanks to Terri from Kingdom Causes for all her work. I felt as though we learned a lot of new things but also were encouraged that much of what we are doing is heading in the right direction.

There were a couple books that were frequently mentioned during the weekend. The first was When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert and the other was Communities from the Inside Out by John McKnight and John Kretzmann.

There is also a good website for further information on asset-based community development here. As well, the term appreciate inquiry was mentioned a few times. I'd recommend Mark Lau Branson's book Memories, Hopes, and Conversations on the subject. Another helpful book would be Sam William's new book, To Transform a City. Sam was also with us this weekend.

There is a lot of talk about missional church out there. Many people are working hard at re-imagining what a faith community look like in West if shaped by God's mission due the work of thinkers such as Bosch, Newbigin and others. But the improper divorce between "word and deed" leaves re-imagining how we engage the surrounding community difficult for many. It seems to me that ABCD provides some tools for renegotiating community engagement in healthy ways. But it also leads me to think that we should go back to texts like Augustine's City of God with new eyes.

Historically, Reformed traditions have welcomed power and influence of the city, which eventually corrupted and deluded their vision of the kingdom(ie. salt w/o taste). Anabaptists, on the other hand, historically found power and influence skeptical. This led them to abandon the city, to reflect the kingdom isolation. (ie. yeast w/o dough) Neither work well over the long haul. ABCD seems, to me, to temper the imbalanced posture(s) towards power that often happens as we work with our cities as citizen's of God's kingdom.

I leave you with a hymn we read together at the end of the day on Saturday. It is written by Walter Russell Bowie in 1909:

O Holy City, Seen of John

O holy city, seen of John,
where Christ, the Lamb, doth reign,
within whose foursquare walls shall come
no night, nor need, nor pain,
and where the tears are wiped from eyes
that shall not weep again!

Hark, how from men whose lives are held
more cheap than merchandise;
from women struggling sore for bread,
from little children's cries,
there swells the sobbing human plaint
that bids thy walls arise!

O shame to us who rest content
while lust and greed for gain
in street and shop and tenement
wring gold from human pain,
and bitter lips in blind despair cry,
"Christ hath died in vain!"

Give us, O God, the strength to build
the city that hath stood
too long a dream, whose laws are love,
whose ways are brotherhood,
and where the sun that shineth is
God's grace for human good.

Already in the mind of God
that city riseth fair:
lo, how its splendor challenges
the souls that greatly dare--
yea, bids us seize the whole of life
and build its glory there.

Thanks to all of you that came out! Hope to see you soon.


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