It’s Monday December 21

Have you ever been swept up by the energy of a crowd? You bring your best personal energy to the event and so do your neighbor and their neighbor, on and on. But, what you sense is that there is something else going on, something beyond the accumulation of individual effort and energy. You are part of a grand movement, a movement that can accomplish far more than the sum of all the individual effort combined.

If so, you know the spiritual energy of focused attention and action.

In 2016, we hope to release the spiritual energy of this community through focused attention on, what I call, Essential Life Questions. Questions like: What is the energy of personal transformation? What is my image of God? What hopes give shape and meaning to my life? What life resources give me the strength and courage to act? What life circumstances have forced me to wrestle with the paradox of light and darkness?

We will be preaching on these questions each week but we have also added multiple layers of engagement. If you are in a small group currently, we encourage you to wrestle with these questions as a whole or break down into groups of 2-4 people who will meet consistently with one another to ponder the questions together.

We will also be encouraging Renew Your Life Friendships. These are gatherings of 2-4 people who commit to meet with each other through January and February. These friendships can be existing friendships that you want to deepen. Think about people you already meet with regularly after work, at the coffee shop, or at the gym. Invite them to join you in reflecting on these questions together.

You can also sign up to be placed in a group of Peace members by sending an email to info@peacegahanna.org.

Each week you will be asked to focus on another Essential Life Question and then wrestle with clarifying questions that will help you dig deeper. For example:

January 10: What is my image of God?

  • What pictures (if any) of God did you have in your mind when you were growing up? What phrases would you use to describe God? Where do you think those pictures/phrases came from?
  • How has that image changed? What circumstances in your life caused you to re-examine your image of God?
  • If you were able to imagine a God of grace and love, how would that change how you see yourself, your life— imperfections and failures included?

Imagine this: Peace members and friends gathered all over this city, in cubicles and coffee shops, gyms and pubs, personal homes or a neighbor’s house, thinking about and reflecting on Essential Life Questions. Imagine being filled by the renewing power of God’s Spirit through these conversations. Imagine what it might mean for us as a community.

It’s Monday. Who will you invite to join you as you Renew Your Life in 2016? Peace. Kai

It’s Monday December 7

Fr. Richard Rohr has a daily devotional that I devour every morning. Today he wrote about what it takes for us to grow and mature.

“The study of neuroscience and brain development indicates that we are wired for transcendence, for the ever bigger picture, but it is all highly dependent on being exposed to living models and personal nurturance as we move from one stage to the next. Fowler and Kohlberg said the same thing: We all need living models. How important we are for one another! This is a good argument for some form of church community–to gather enlightened, transformed, loving people together so they rub off on one another. Beyond models, we also need nurturing: mothering and fathering, loving, and partnering at the critical stages of brain development, which are almost all in the first twenty-five years of life.”

I was struck by his words “living models.” In this season of hope at Peace, I began to wonder, “Who are my living models of hope?”

If we spin the conversation, it’s easy to find models of despair, of fear-mongering, of hate-speech, of doomsday prognosticating. Flip through social media when a controversial issue is presented. Channel surf the 24/7 news cycles. Be in a rowdy crowd at a championship soccer match (as I was last night) when an obvious call is missed. If those were our models, we could only assume that life, as we know it, is over. We are doomed.

But I won’t go there. I can’t. My soul demands I seek out something other, something beyond—transcendence. My soul demands I seek out hope.

A quick scan of the past few weeks, reveals abundant living models of hope:

  • Families grieving the loss of loved ones band together and courageously walk into a new day.
  • College students at the Capital University Christmas Concert singing gloriously about the yearnings of our hearts breaking open up the possibilities of peace and hope in our time.
  • Two churches, one in the suburbs and the other in the inner city, work together to lighten the financial stress of hundreds of families and to brighten the Christmas Day for kids who will receive their generous gifts.
  • A few leading executives in our community restoring an abandoned school building on the south side of Columbus and creating a holistic community center for the local residents.

My list could go on and on. And that is just the past few weeks. When you look for hope, it’s amazing all the places you find it. I think Rohr is right,  “How important we are for one another!”

It’s Monday. Who are your living models of hope? How do they help you imagine and then create a different world? Peace. Kai