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That’s How the Light Gets In

May 13, 2012

Another beautiful evening around the Table!  I love poetry nights–the shared space, wine and bread, cheese and crackers, words, hearts . . . if you haven’t made it to a poetry night yet, I hope you find an opportunity to do so.  They are indeed a very special time and sacred space.  We first share the Eucharist together and then share poems (our own, or ones “borrowed” from others), interrupted by times of fellowship (and opportunities to refill our cups and snack plates).

Many thanks to Danielle and Brittany for hosting at their home in Milwaukie this evening, and to the Rev. Julia Fritts for guiding us through the Eucharist (and driving all the way up from Corvallis to do so–welcome Julia!).

Here’s the run-down of poems read this evening:

  1. “Trees” ~Mary Oliver
  2. From “In These Descending Times” and “Number 8” ~Alice Walker
  3. “Daffodils Unfold Breathing” ~Daniel Painter
  4. “Backward Miracle” ~Kay Ryan
  5. “Breakage” ~Mary Oliver
  6. From “Anthem” ~Leonard Cohen (source of our post’s title)
  7. “My Value” ~Daniel Painter
  8. “Love Should Grow Up Like a Wild Iris” ~Susan Griffin
  9. “When I Am Among the Trees” ~Mary Oliver
  10. “Late Justice” ~Kay Ryan
  11. “August” ~Mary Oliver
  12. “A Small Theology” ~Wendell Berry
  13. “How to Be a Poet” ~Wendell Berry
  14. “Honey at the Table” ~Mary Oliver
  15. “Muchos Somos/We Are Many” ~Pablo Neruda
  16. “A Sacred Place” from A Cup of Espresso
  17. “Love is Not Fragile” ~Janice Macleod

Start thinking of poems to share next time–in July.

Peace, friends.


Christian Unity: Possible or Idealistic?

April 11, 2012

I have to confess. There are people who are part of this large group that we call the Church that I sometimes wish were not a part of it. There are people that I see giving Christianity a bad name, doing and saying things that I find to be so opposite of Christ and the way of life that he proclaimed. There is a certain popular pastor who I see saying such angry and oppressive things against women and other groups of people that it makes me cringe. I recently heard about a person at a small church that was alienated from the church there had belonged to for years because they were divorced, with little or no grace shown concerning their situation. Stories like this could go on and on. I hear these stories and my initial thought it usually, “What do I have in common with these people?” We both claim to follow Jesus, yet we act nothing like each other. How are we a part of the same Church? Yet I continue to believe in this idea of the capital C Church. This idea that even though our own communities of faith are separated by great distances, both geographically and doctrinally, we are still somehow a part of the same community of God on earth. We are a part of the same community that is supposed to live out the Gospel way of life to our neighborhoods and communities.

Looking back over the history of those who follow Christ, this idea of unity has been a common theme of what it means to be the Church. In the early church most saw themselves as united in many ways, even though they were separated by not only geography but also quite often doctrine and practice. The early councils and the creeds that occurred during this time speak to this idea of Christian unity. Some people traveled for days and weeks to be at the councils, and stayed for months, in order to make decisions as a united church. This does not mean that the church of the first few hundred years was beautiful and perfect, and indeed politics and power played into the mix far too often.  I do not mean to downplay the complexity of those time. But there was an element of staying united in the face of disagreement.

In the biblical narrative, we see Jesus praying for the unity of the church in John 17. He prays that in the same way the He and the Father are one, so the church should be one. Earlier in the same narrative of John (ch. 13), after he washes the disciples feet, he tells them to love one another. That the world will know that they are his disciples by how they love on another. That those who follow Christ are to live in this radical way in which they love others who follow Him. This image becomes more powerful when you realize that seated at that table with Jesus were both Matthew the tax collector and Simon the Zealot. A former pawn of the Empire and a violent enemy of the Empire. Loving each other. And indeed this image is quite beautiful, of people who would not even want to be in the same room together embracing and loving each other in the name of Jesus. I can see how something like this would speak to our fractured world, and how powerful it would be when people who had no reason at all to even like each other are now friends.

However, with this beautiful picture in mind, I am also reminded of those Christians with whom I disagree. I want to believe in unity, but it is so hard sometimes when the grace and love I believe must be a part of following Christ is not to be seen in people that claim to follow Christ. And beyond that, I see many groups calling themselves Christian that are actually the ones creating and sustaining the very oppression and power systems that I believe the church must be standing against. This is where my ideas of unity and my belief in the way those in the church are called to live crash head on, when it moves beyond mere disagreement to actual opposing ideals of what it means to be the church of God in the world. How am I to understand the unity of those who follow Christ when there are those on such opposite ends of the spectrum of belief and practice that calling them part of the same church would seemingly break down so many important distinctive of what it means to be a follower of Christ?

I have no nice neat answer for these questions, so instead I leave you with more questions. How are we to understand unity in the face such opposing ideas of what it means to be the church? Is there any way to resolve the tension inherent in that? How are we as followers of Christ to respond to other Christians when we see them doing or saying something that we find opposed to Christ? And is there any way that, at the end of the day, we can both believe in the unity of the Church and also believe that we can stand against harmful things that others who follow Christ are doing?

Eucharist and Poetry Night

March 23, 2012


What a lovely evening of fellowship around the table (or living room, as the case may be) together tonight!  Many thanks to Mother Sara for guiding us through the eucharist this evening, and thanks to all for the beautiful words shared.  Hopefully we can gather together in this manner again soon!

We have long hoped to share here the poems read at the poetry nights, but have yet to actually do so.  That all changes tonight!  Well at least partially–we’ve got the name and authors of at least half of the poems shared this evening if you want to check them out.  Feel free to add to the list those we missed:

  • “The Wren from Carolina”  –Mary Oliver
  • “Flare”  –Mary Oliver, from Leaf and Cloud
  • “A Poem Traveled Down My Arm”  –Alice Walker
  • “Listen” –WS Merwin
  • “Sometimes” –Mary Oliver
  • “Bullshit”  –Jake Tucker
  • “Song of Myself” (Section 1)  –Walt Whitman
  • And a few from Wendell Berry 🙂

Pint of Theology coming up on Tuesday, April 3rd–just a heads up.  

See you all soon!

2012 Planning is in the Works!

December 14, 2011

Hi, friends!

Thanks so much to all of you who came out for Pint Night last Tuesday at the Lucky Lab.  We had new and old faces and a general, all around fantastic time.

We wanted to let you know that we’ve begun planning for 2012 and hope to be able to announce some things in the next few weeks.  We’ll be continuing the beloved Pint Nights and Poetry Eucharists, but are also excited about a few new things up our proverbial sleeves (the ideas wouldn’t fit in an actual sleeve).

So stay tuned–we hope to see you soon!


Save The Date

June 16, 2011

Hey everyone.

We are planning an exciting weekend retreat for the weekend of July 22nd. There will be poetry, music, silence and shared meals. We really hope you can come. More details coming soon.

Pint Night!!!

April 21, 2011

Lucky Lab Brew Pub

4/26 Tuesday night


Friends from Seattle and Ireland will be joining us so come on out to enjoy beer and coversation.

Rob Clements is currently working on a Masters in Theology with Trinity College Dublin as ordinand of the Church of Ireland. Prior he worked in Drug and Alcohol services with low threshold drug users, whilst completing an MSc in Equality Studies with the School of Social Justice at University College Dublin.

Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, his interests include peace building, reconciliation and the politics of Jesus. New Interests include being a dad and changing nappies in the dark.

Come join us.

Save the Dates – Upcoming Pint Nights!

April 1, 2011

We’ll be at the Lucky Lab in SE, 7pm on the fourth Monday of each month. Stay tuned each month for a the discussion topic. Bring your friends – we’ll see you there!

May 23

June 27

July 25

Aug 22

Sept 26

Oct 24

Nov 28

Dec 26