The Conversation: An Advent Experiment.

Jesus was born just outside the domesticated civilization.  

Those first drawn to his birth were creatures who bridged the widening gap between the created wilderness and the detached empire:  sheep, cows, donkeys, shepherds, Mystics:  those who lived on the edge between the tamed and wild worlds.  Those called to heal the widening chasm and witness the call to re-connect and re-turn and bring the good news that the fissure is healing.  

Even 2000 years later, we anticipate that vision and agree:  Come, Unity.  Come, Passion.  The Kingdom of God is near.  The Great Turning is upon us. And we are called to participate in the Tikkun Olam, theRepair of the World from that same edge between domestic and wild.  How exciting!  

“The heavens declare the glory of God;

    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Day after day they pour forth speech;

    night after night they reveal knowledge.

They have no speech, they use no words;

    no sound is heard from them.

Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,

    their words to the ends of the world. 

                    Psalm 19:1-4

WILDERNESS.       Our Advent series will take place in nature, immersed in our watershed wilderness in various actual and symbolic ways. “At that edge between domestic and wild” is not just a metaphor.  It is a place, filled with others who are part of the Story that gives our lives meaning. As theology professor, Beldon Lane, says, “Only at the edges of our lives, where we and our understanding of God are undone, can we can understand bewilderment as occasioning another way of knowing.”

            “we need the tonic of wilderness” thoreau

EXPERIENCE.  Not just talking about or listening to someone's ideas or thoughts about the Mystery of an incarnate Conversation, but joining creation in an annual ritual of anticipation. Rituals like Christmas and Advent are invitations into the Story of Christ that began and continues as a Conversation.  By celebrating each year the mystery of the incarnation of Christ in the form of the person, Jesus, we are invited to open up to the incarnation of Christ in our own lives and in this community.  What is longing to be birthed in you at this point in history?  What needs to die and be released before that can happen?  What part of the larger story are we called to LIVE (not just “believe”) into being?  Nature, rituals, contemplative space, loving relationships…all of these are invitations to break past the barriers we, and our society, erect that keep us small.  

         “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? Mary Oliver

CREATIVITY.  Wikipedia says that Creativity is a phenomenon whereby something new, something intangible or physical and somehow valuable is formed.  The action of ongoing creation, connecting with our own unique and urgent gifts we bring to the ongoing story of the birthing of Christ to our world here in this place, with these others, at this time in history.  Each experience will consider the breakthrough power of creative expressions that help us traverse past our limiting left brained boxes.  Expressing, creating, integrating, appreciating art, poetry, photography, dance, drumming, chanting, singing, articulating new ways of looking at life and God…these will be important elements of our gatherings.  

        “Our ultimate act of creativity is giving birth to who we are.” Matthew Fox

CONVERSATION. Listening and Responding with open hearts to The Great Conversation...we are part of it!   The blue jays are preaching!  The oak trees are teaching!  Listening to the glimpses of God deep within ourselves, and embedded in the other.  The Others:  how each of us have vastly different experiences of the holy, of reality, of Mystery, of God..we need one another to capture a more full experience of divine grace.  How the small white flower blooming out of season both exposes and praises the Mystery.  How the stars remind us that there is so much more than we can fit into our boxes.  

“Because if anyone is a listener to the Conversation, but is not a Poet/Doer, they are like one who looks in the mirror and understands the essence of themselves but immediately forgets when they look away.”  James 1:23