Wednesday, February 2, 2011

February "Reminder"

Reminder Newsletter
February, 2011
Keystone United Church of Christ

From Rich

As I see it the work of the church is three fold:
1. To understand and claim our identity as people who see ultimate meaning (God) in terms of self-giving (agape) love.
2. To work to move this faith into our way of thinking, and way of understanding and experiencing reality.
3. To effectively promote this way of understanding ultimate meaning in the world around us.
We mirror this work each Sunday in our worship. In worship we claim our faith, use our heads and hearts to experience and grow in this faith, and then prepare ourselves to carry this faith out into the world.
The world’s foundation is largely based on an understanding of ultimate meaning based in authority. This is what I call the “Domination System.”
More and more I am coming to understand that what we are doing at Keystone is not only sensible but essential. Worship is important. By regularly orienting ourselves in a community and sharing a value system in opposition to domination, we strengthen our ability to oppose the tidal wave of messages in the world around us which come at us in support of domination ways of thinking.
It seems that the human brain creates thought pathways. The more an idea is thought the easier it will be to think that way in the future. The more powerful the pathway the more we think in those terms even on a subconscious level. By thinking about what it means that God is love and not domination we are making such thoughts easier. By acting on those thoughts we reinforce them.
The more time and energy we invest in thinking and acting out of a foundation of agape love, the easier such thoughts and actions will be in the future. And the more we strengthen the neural pathways of agape the weaker the hold of fear and greed have over our thoughts and action.
In other words, the more we do, the more we pray, the more we study our faith and the implications of our faith on every aspect of our lives and community the stronger we become in our capacity to love.
So we have weekly worship, regular classes, and many opportunities to participate in doing the work of compassion and justice. This makes us more rooted in the power of God’s love.
So much for one and two on that list, we are now at the point to start thinking strategically about how we extend God’s love into the world. Part of this will be this will call on us to think about what resources we have, and how best to use those resources. Our task in the world is much bigger than winning a particular piece of legislation. It is about strengthening the influence of the power of God’s love on the thinking of the people around us.
Agape love is experienced in the world by actions which we call education, charity, justice and symbolic expression. All of these are important and the more our witness to the world utilizes these forms the more powerful our witness to this alternative way of experiencing existence.
All of this may seem a bit technical and probably downright boring but I think it is important that as we talk about the direction of Keystone we talk about why we do what we do.

See the Upcoming Schedule for Friday Night Meaningful Movies:

Scripture readings
6 February: Isa 58:1-9a; Matt 5:13-20
13 February: Deut 30:15-20; Matthew 5:21-37
20 February: Lev 19:1-2, 9-18; Matthew 5:38-48
27 February: Isa 49:8-16a; Matthew 6:24-34

Reader/usher schedule
2/6 Rich Voget/Gloria Bollens
2/13 Becky Hutton/Dorothy Richey
2/20 Kaaren Mills/Gus Wall
2/27 Jo Winston/Janet Stillman
3/6 Steve Bauck/Rita Peterson

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