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My congregation and I have been working with a group out of Houston, Texas called “Faithwalking.” They have created a leadership formation process that engages principles from Murray Bowen’s Family Systems theory, Ron Heifitz’s leadership ideas, Brene Brown’s teachings on healthy self, and other concepts for living a healthy whole life. What I love about Faithwalking is the focus on active listening – listening to one’s self, listening to God, and especially listening to others – without the need to argue back, debate, or challenge the other….just listen and allow the other to be who they are while I work on being and becoming my most authentic self.

I’ll reflect on Faithwalking this Sunday and connect it to both Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth – walking by faith and not by sight and to the parable in Mark about transformational faith.

We are also following the “Faces of Our Faith” curriculum from A Sanctified Art adding their reading for the week to our lectionary (and eliminating one from the new revised common lectionary). This week the reading is from Esther – but the reflection from A Sanctified Art focuses on Queen Vashti and her willingness to defy the king and not show up to court when demanded. She defied a #metoo moment. But for that she was demoted from queen to just another woman in the kings harem. (and Esther became queen).  So, I am also pondering faithful and costly acts of defiance as I pray about my homily for this week.

What about you? What readings are pondering and where are they leading you?  Are you exploring ideas around living a faith-full life and the risks that may be inherent in that? Or are you being called in another direction?

 

The Rev. Terri C. Pilarski is an Episcopal priest serving a parish in Dearborn, Michigan. She’s been a member of RevGalBlogPals since 2006 and blogs at Seeking Authentic Voice

 

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24 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: Walking Faith

  1. I’m spending my entire morning reading posts and letters by religious leaders across the spectrum of Christianity in the USA who are pointing out the flaws in AG Sessions comment that proof-texted a line in Romans to support this administrations policy of separating immigrant children from their parents and for imprisoning or returning asylum seekers (mostly women) back to their dangerous, life taking, countries. No doubt some of my thoughts on this will show up in my reflection tomorrow morning.

    I may reflect on the reading from Mark and point out that each one of us wrestles through the states of this parable, sometimes I am rocky and close down, sometimes I am busy and weedy and choke out, sometimes I am fertile ground for growth. My task as a person of faith is to recognize these states as the reside in me and work toward the state of being open to seeing anew and growing closer toward the person God desires me to be.

    I may reflect a bit on Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth and his ongoing attempt to help people understand how to live in relationship with one another, the kind of relationship that God desires of us – relationships that embrace the whole person for who they are as God embraces us for who we are, relationships of love, respect, integrity.

    I will definitely talk about the reading from Esther in the Sanctified Art curriculum: the courage of Vashti to defy the king demand that she appear wearing ONLY the crown in front of a group of drunken men. Yes, she lost her role as Queen for that act, but she saved her integrity. Esther then became queen because it appeared that she was docile and would only do what she was told. But she too defied the rules and in the process saved her people.

    It takes courage to be a person of faith these days – courage of conviction to stand up for justice and speak one’s truth into all the places of oppression, suppression, violence, abuse.

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      1. We are all engaging in A Sanctified Art curriculum because I include the reading of the week as one of our lessons (we have 4 each Sunday). We’ve created a Faces of Our Faith mobile which I’ll take a photo of. It includes the names of all the people who have been important to us, individually. The Faithwalking program is open to every one but so far about 17 of us have participated. It is very good work, I highly recommend it. You can find them by googling them.

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  2. I am just preaching Mark 4: 26-34 tomorrow. It went with Dangerous Hope as a theme. One of the Working Preacher articles had a fabulous quote from Hunger Games (the movie) about hope.

    I want to use dandylions for the kids time as that is something they can relate to…of course who knew that on this weekend there would not be one blooming dandylion that I can find.

    Hoping the bronchitis is better today so I’ll be able to preach and we also have the public reception of new members tomorrow.

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  3. Completely off any sort of lectionary this month with a 4-week Broadway-based sermon series. This week we’re combining Kinky Boots with The Prodigal Son. The idea of hitting rock bottom as a country by separating asylum-seeking families will probably make an appearance. It’s also LGBTQ+ pride weekend here in Grand Rapids, MI, which adds both to the celebratory and seriousness of our present times here in the US.

    There’s Mackinac Island fudge to share!

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  4. I’m just popping in to encourage you all, since I’m not preaching this week. This has been a blessed sabbath, puttering and napping and reading bits of Barbara Brown Taylor and Sara Miles in between. My husband is baking bread, and there is always plenty, so when it comes out of the oven, I will add a loaf to the virtual table in hopes that it nourishes your spirits.

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  5. I have a pretty good start on the parables in Mark. The reign of God is like a blackberry plant, or mint, or – thanks for the suggestion above – like a dandelion. It takes over everything once it takes root, and you don’t want to get rid of it entirely because there’s some usefulness to it, you just wish it were growing in someone else’s garden. But it isn’t! And our job is to welcome those plants that take over everything, to embrace them as the presence of God, and figure out how to live with them.

    Application: God’s reign doesn’t always show up in the places we expect, in the people we expect, with the documentation we expect. But our job is to recognize the worth of God’s kingdom when it does show up, especially in unexpected places, and to welcome that arrival of the God’s reign!

    Now to figure out a conclusion…

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    1. Part of what I’ve been thinking about is listening to/for God, which is kind of like your comment of recognizing God when God shows up, even, or especially in all the unexpected ways, embrace it and welcome it.

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  6. Checking in to the party late. I’ve spent the week at our Presbytery’s camp, serving as the chaplain. My own kids accompanied me as daycampers, which was fun but exhausting. Now I’m distracted by the PC(USA) General Assembly livestream.

    I’m preaching on the two Mark parables. The title is “Without Explanation,” which applies to both parables, as well as the growth process of the seed in the first parable. That’s all mildly interesting. Not sure where I will end up, but i’m starting with a couple of camp stories, because that’s what is fresh in my mind.

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  7. I am not just now beginning, but my preparation has been interrupted by a family graduate event that involved a lengthy car trip. So, just getting back to work!
    This may be a little more “teachy” than usual, but I am going to begin by saying that I approach the pulpit with even more humility than usual this week because of the egregious misuse of scripture in the news these past days—and the challenge that preachers have in proclaiming a living word that speaks in this time and place without eisegeting the text. I’m trying to use these two Markan parables to illustrate. As always, pulling together the ending/“takeaway” may elude me until morning! But I have an early wake up and 2 1/2 hour drive to ponder that!

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    1. I am also considering opening with talking about how I interpret scripture vs. proof texting…though am debating about whether or not I want to jump right in to everything going on this past week in the US or not.

      Overall I am preaching on the Mark parables and was also thinking about Mark’s satire and introducing the events of this past week as examples of fear and intimidation…the opposite of the Kingdom of God (looking at what workingpreacher.com says)… Will see where the spirit leads in the end!

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      1. I hope to say a little about prooftexting but perhaps not a lot, being here in the US seems to require it. I hope the Spirit leads you where you are hoping to go, it sounds just right to me – fear and intimidation are the opposite of what God calls for in the world, God calls forth wholeness not brokenness.

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