Don’t let Bart Ehrman spoil your Christmas…Greg Boyd’s apologetics class

Our community enjoys learning about history in order to learn about what is true about Jesus. I think this class by Greg Boyd, senior pastor of Woodland Hills Church helps prove the case that Jesus really lived and that his birth story and thus all the prophecies that predicted his birth are true. This is important for us who are following Jesus.  I will be sharing this with our community and hoping for fruitful discussion. I respect Greg for many reasons including the fact that he is a vegetarian and is a passionate follower of Jesus.

Here is the first video: A general overview Part 1:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2j6STlPHstM

part 2:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJiyPU7HQNE3

part 3:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pv3K1aSyaqI

part 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcniA1Bp7H8

part 5:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GmwjJ1HrIOI

part 7:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8Jqt68Gezo

part 8: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMmY7270SQ8

part 9:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SqlGaWbTVHk

An upcoming conference about doubt that I am thinking about attending

I am exploring possibilities of visiting another communit, Third Way http://www.thirdwaychurch.org/ in St. Paul  as well as attending a conference at Woodland Hills Church where my favorite pastor and teacher, Greg Boyd, is senior pastor.  I am realizing that my journey to visit intentional Christian communities does not feel quite finished.   I am praying about this.  I really thought I was home for good and that I would stay put for a while. But now that I have had a taste of travel which  I have not had for years. 

I really encourage you to take a look at this video and see how it might rock your view of doubt. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ca0sigV30Qk

Here is a full description of the conference.

http://reknew.org/resource/upcoming-conference/

If you want to catch some of Greg’s great sermons, they are put up fresh every week at www.whchurch.org

 

An inexpensive rental duplex in South Fayetteville will be available

We would love to have some friendly neighbors.  Here is info on a duplex practically right next door to us:

Location:  320 Ella Ave, Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701

Owner:  Mark Sugg  479-225-7504

$575/month  $400 deposit

3 Bedrooms and one bath

No pets.  6 month minimum lease.  Background check required.

Small fenced yard with a small shed

Laundry room

Spacious living room/dining room

Central air and heat

Tile floor in main part of house. New carpet in bedrooms.

New cabinets and paint

Minimum noise from shared wall which is at the end of the house.

Plenty of parking

Great location:

One block from large gazebo, tennis courts, racket ball court, volley ball court and basket ball court  at Walker Park.

On a dead end street

About one mile from Fayetteville trail system.

This duplex is located next to another duplex and there is an apartment that shares parking lot.  This gives much potential for more friendly neighbors to join us and you. If you have a vision of a community, this would be a good place to start.

 

“Wellspring Community moves forward” Some Jesus Vegans Project History

I love looking back at how my family was so receptive to helping me meet my needs for community. Even though now my daughter is married and living about 45 minutes away, she still wants to be involved. Chris is engaged to be married in Spring of 2017, is planning on building his house near Cliff’s. They still are figuring out what part they will play in Jesus Vegans Project…but they definitely are supportive and will be great neighbors at very least! So here is some history….

…………………..

I think last night was a historic occasion for our Wellspring Community. It was also my birthday.  The best thing I could imagine doing on my birthday is to get Robert, Cliff, Chris,  Mahriyanna and I together to share dinner and talk about how to move forward.

One of the things we thought was important was to decide how we could state how we perceive reality.  The closest thing we have come to is the ReKnew Manifesto http://reknew.org/2012/07/a-reknew-manifesto/  We have all read this and we are going to continue to talk about this.

We also decided that in addition to being a community, we are going to be a house church and start meeting for worship, prayer, testimonies, bible study and discussion of (for now) Greg Boyd‘s sermon series called Imagining Prayer. http://whchurch.org/sermons-media/sermon/imagining-prayer  We want to encourage each other more in being disciples of Jesus, and a small group is so great for that.

We are in the process of developing some guidelines for how we do meetings. We decided to use consensus to make decisions that affect the whole group. We’ll be discussing more specifically what does affect the whole group.  And we are exploring the possibility of having an over night retreat.  I feel so encouraged and hopeful knowing that things that are really important to me are also important to my community.

I have tried to create communities and organizations in the past with people who disappointed me.  I’m sure I disappointed them as well.  All have floundered and failed no matter how much work I would put in to them.  I am so pleased to see that with a minimal amount of work and encouragement plus lots of prayer that Wellspring Community can come to agreement on important issues in a meeting lasting only about 1 1/2 hours.

I am in a stage of my life where prayer , scripture study and memorization, silence, fasting, and studying the giants of my faith like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Greg Boyd and Dallas Willard,  are taking a high priority in my life.  I am so happy that at last I can understand and embrace what Jesus said: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you.”  Leaving home for a mere month to visit intentional communities where people are really focused on being disciples of Jesus helped me immensely. If any of you are reading this, I hope you feel encouraged to know what a difference you made in my life.

I think my community senses a difference in me and thus are more receptive.  I’m not so driven to achieve certain goals or attached to outcomes. What is more important to me is our healthy relationships and encouraging each other in our spiritual growth.   I thank God for progress that is not from my striving.  God and I are co-creating what his will for us all. Praise God!

In search of Gifts: Adventure in Fayetteville

Giving thoughtful gifts is something my daughter, Mahriyanna, enjoys doing for her friends. Since I am without a car temporarily, and Robert was tied up, we decided to walk around looking for garage sales with a plan to end up at the farmer’s market to purchase food.

What I most enjoy about walking and spending any kind of time with Mahriyanna is that if I introduce a conversation topic she is 99 percent of the time willing to have a discussion.  Since I like to have deep, meaningful interactions, this is very beneficial for me. 

So we walked and talked about many things, and prayed intermittently that we could find some nice gifts for her friends.  I remember at one point telling God that we didn’t see him as just a supplier of needs, but since we have a good relationship it seems like it is okay to ask for things.  This reminds me of my relationships with people.  If I have a lot of trust built through positive experiences, then it is easy for me to ask for a favor.  This is something I am focusing on with our community.  Even though we have a lot of trust built up, there is also much healing to do.  I want to do all I can to strengthen and build up the relationships by being honest, loving, and encouraging.

So Mahriyanna and I had been walking for about an hour and we had not seen one garage sale sign.  So Mahriyanna suggested that we ask someone.  I saw some people approaching us and I asked them if they had seen any garage sales. A woman in the group said, “I saw a sign on Prospect and Wilson.”  She was friendly and we thanked her for her kindness.

When we found the sign after having a nice walk to this goal, we realized we had no idea where the street Douglas was.  But someone I knew lived right on that corner.  So I knocked on the door and was able to get directions. 

When we got to the garage sale, most of the stuff had been carted away.  I found a volley ball in good shape for a dollar.  I have not owned a volleyball for about 35 years, so it seemed like a good thing to buy.  Our whole community is very enthusiastic about volleyball.

We were somewhat disappointed because there was nothing else remotely resembling a gift for Mahriyanna’s friends.  But by now we realized that this journey and Adventure we were experiencing was not so much about the goal, but about all that was happening on the way to the goal.  We got exercise, talked about important things, saw beautiful flowers and other scenery, and connected with some people.  We did our best to bring God into the experience because experiencing God while experiencing life is not an easy dance.  We did our best to hear where God was leading us, asked him for what we were wanting, and shared our gratitude for what was happening.  I forgot about seeing people through God’s eyes, but I did have a lot of love for all the people we came in contact with.

Going to the Saturday Fayetteville Farmer’s Market near the end of the market time is an opportunity to get really good bargains.  I simply would go to vendors, some of whom I knew, and asked for deals.  We got so much produce for about $35 that we chose to give some away to some old friends we saw. The vendors were grateful to get rid of stuff near the end and some just lavished beautiful produce on us.   We just could not carry it all home in our back packs and thus were glad to pass some on.

Our packs were heavy when we left the farmer’s market.  We were pretty tired, too.  We rested and had coffee at Jammin’ Java’s.  Mahriyanna had to help me lift my back pack, which has great back support, onto my shoulders.  We bravely proceeded to accomplish the last mile and a half or so which was fortunately mostly down hill.  We wanted to finish strong, so we discussed how although this experience was challenging, it was preparing us for a future back packing trip where we might carry even more weight. 

“And just think about how some people in third world countries have to walk far away every day to carry heavy water to their homes,” I said.

“And I remember watching a program about people who had to carry heavy packs that didn’t have the good support that our packs have.  They had to walk 10-15 hours a day,”  Mahriyanna chimed in.

By the time we got home, we felt exhausted but satisfied.  It didn’t take long for us to eat a light lunch and then bounce back for whatever else God had in store for us.  I feel so grateful to have this precious time to spend with my seventeen year old daughter.   

Reba Place Fellowship: Things I liked about this community

I realize now that this blog is as much for Wellspring Community as it is for my self-expression and for others who might feel inspired to join us at some point.  Also, many have expressed interest in learning more about my journey to visit intentional Christian communities.

I am feeling inspired to write about each community that I visited highlighting the positive points that I hope our community can learn from and practice. I’m going to start with the first community I visited. Here goes…

Reba Place Fellowship in Chicago, IL.

1.  An elected director who has the talents to coordinate the whole community to implement its mission and goals as well as make sure that conflicts are resolved in a timely and harmonious matter.  Director works with a leadership group which she selects.  Directors can be male or female.

2. Involvement in the community consists of people having differing levels of commitments all the way from people who are full members and sharing income to people who are neighbors or friends who live far away.

3.  Quarterly day-long prayer retreats

4.  Full members all belong to a smaller group within the community which are geographically close for easy meeting.

5.  Full members attend one of the two churches that Reba Place helped plant.  The churches are not a part of the community, but definitely strongly influenced by RPF.  Since RPF is located in two different neighborhoods,  members attend the church within walking distance.  The church shares their foundational values including following the non-violent teachings of Jesus.

6.  RPF is a member of a group of other communities called Shalom Mission Communities.  These communities share foundational values and are located, for the most part, geographically close so that it is easier for members to gather yearly for a conference as well as for members to visit each other.  Being part of a group of similar minded communities helps with accountability and integrity especially when conflicts arise that can not be resolved within the community.

7.  RPF has access both to urban living and country living because RPF started what is now a separate community called Plow Creek Community located two hours away by train.  Members from RPF can visit and work at Plow Creek easily.  There is a retreat cabin at Plow Creek owned by RPF.  Food is produced at the Plow Creek farm which is sometimes delivered to RPF.

8. RPF owns businesses which provide employment for members.

9.  There are monthly membership meetings for all the community members to attend which helps to keep everyone posted about decisions that effect everyone.

Is it okay to doubt?

One thing that is true for our community is that we have a diverse view of God, Jesus, and the bible.  This blog post about secret doubt gives me hope that we can co-exist and even thrive even if we have differing beliefs.  Here is an excerpt that particularly touched me:

“Considering the diversity of perspectives under the umbrella of Evangelical Christianity, how can I ever be certain I hold the right ones?  Will there be a theology quiz upon entering eternity?  Will I have to pass a spiritual polygraph of sorts, based on my certainty?

Is He seeking certainty?”

You can read the whole blog here:  http://reknew.org/2013/08/secret-doubt/