Come home

Grace and peace

Gloria Anzaldúa describes 7 spaces or stages on the path of awareness and growth. They don’t necessarily follow in a neat order one after each other – but I find them helpful to locate my constantly changing self on this journey we call life. I especially love the paradoxical nature of the 7th stage. Here they are:

1st Space/Stage: “Rupture, fragmentation…an ending. It is a catalyst, a deeply emotional and spiritual moment of dissonance and disconnection from your established worldview and your established self-view.”

2nd Space/Stage: “Torn between ways … split between before and after … you’re two people … the space in between or in the middle … is the space of seeing multiple, frequently contradictory perspectives having been torn from a comfortable, single, stable story.”

3rd Space/Stage: “Overwhelmed by chaos caused by living between stories you break down descending into the third space – the depths of despair – self-loathing and hopelessness – with the temptation to turn away and deny possibilities and new realities.”

4th Space/Stage: “Here you begin to see the possibilities of rebirth. That nothing is fixed. The pulse of existence, the heart of the universe is fluid. Identity, like a river, is always changing. Like a river downstream, you’re not the same person you were upstream. You begin to define yourself in terms of who you are becoming, not who you have been. This space is the call to action which pulls you out of your depression.”

5th Space/Stage: “Intellectual, emotional and spiritual awareness come together as you critically examine and deconstruct all “shoulds” and imposed stories from the dominant culture. Here the development of a new story takes shape and the process of active transformation is discernable.”

6th Space/Stage: “You offer your ‘new’ story to the world, testing it. When you or the world fail to live up to your ideals you are cast into conflict with yourself and others. What takes a bashing is not so much you but the idea/picture of who you think you are, an illusion you’re hell-bent on protect-ng. This feels like a death-threat on your bodily integrity – a body perceived as a container separating the self from other people and other forms of knowledge. New insights threaten your sense of what’s “real” when it’s up against what’s “real” to the other. But it is precisely this threat that triggers transformation.”

7th Space/Stage: Home as bridge. You realise that ‘home’ is that bridge, the in-between place and of constant transition, the most unsafe of all spaces. Bridging is the work of opening the gate to the stranger, within and without. To step across the threshold is to be stripped of the illusion of safety because it moves us into unfamiliar territory and does not grant safe passage. To bridge is to attempt community, and for that we must risk being open to personal, political, and spiritual intimacy, to risk being wounded. Effective bridging comes from knowing when to close ranks to those outside our home, group, community, nation—and when to keep the gates open.”

Here is a link to a fuller article.

It is good to remember that the word for religion in Latin means link or bridge. Religion is meant to assist us in this bridging work – this home-coming work. It is meant to enable us to occupy unfamiliar spaces and to attempt community.
Grace,
Alan

Growing Community the Jesus Way

We have changed the name of “Wednesday Church” to the “Jesus School”. Why? What is in a name after all? Well, to be Church is to be Christ’s body. It is to live as Christ lived — to think, speak and act like Christ as well as to even die and rise again like Christ. In other words to embody Jesus in all things. Now I don’t know about you but I am nowhere near doing that — but in my more fearless moments — I long for that more than anything else. The way I see it is that I may call myself an astronaut all I like — I may even worship the moon and stick pictures of rockets on my bedroom wall and even dress in an astronaut suit — but that does not make me an astronaut. All I am doing when I call myself an astronaut is — well — calling myself an astronaut. Similarly we may call ourselves “Church” but that does not make us Church. Church is a Christ-centered community doing life the Jesus Way — risking being loved and risking loving.

The “Jesus School” reminds us that we will always be students of Jesus and never graduates!

Jesus will be our subject – week in and week out. Quite often we will be going through the gospel text for the previous Sunday.

Our prayer will not only be “Open my mind to understand your ways Jesus”, but also “open my heart to love you more.” We will study together — reading the texts — commentaries about the texts. Bring a bible and note book and let’s go on a journey together. It is for everyone — I promise you every one of us will have something to give and receive. School starts at 7 p.m. every Wednesday — or 6:30 p.m. for 30 minutes of silent-sitting.

Let the term begin, Alan

Picture: ‘WE’ — stands for West End — which is a marginalised suburb in Birmingham Alabama, USA. The Community Church Without Walls started an urban garden which was for me an amazing sign of the Kin-dom, Alan.