Thursday, September 29, 2011

On Unity, Energy, Diverging and Emerging Paths

Dear Amy,

I think it is time to look at oneness in Christ.  Clearly there are ways that the people of God are not of one mind, but it is the hope Christ prayed just before Gethsemane:  That we will be one!   (John 17)

After all, as time goes by, Christian denominations are increasingly dividing (including Lutherans) rather than showing that they are being drawn into Oneness.  On the other hand, there are those situations where oneness of heart and mind eclipse any differences.  Those situations tend to be when we are in touch with suffering and death:  the Cross.  When we stay there and open ourselves to the inbreaking of God’s power for resurrection, we move forward in oneness.  

Perhaps that helps to put words around the energy that is underlying this offering of Ventures Unknown.  

What are your thoughts?  


Dear Pamela,

When I was a child there was a trail that we used to walk on weekends that led to “BIg Lion’s Falls.”  There are points on the path where one trail goes up and another goes down but then they converge once more on the main path.  It just takes a bit of walking to catch up with one another as we would go our separate ways.  The goal was still the same, the end point was in common, but there were decisions to be made along the way.  For us as children the criteria of the choice had to do with “adventure” rather than any sort of principle, but it was a decision nonetheless.

We have talked at length over the years about the concept of differentiation of self in Bowen Family Systems Theory.  How do we exist together while being separate entities, separate people with separate identities, values, core beliefs, understandings and self-understandings.  For me, choosing to go another path in terms of “church” has been an ongoing process of discernment as well as differentiation of self.  It has not been fun or easy.  But it has deepened my relationship with the One who formed me and adopted me as his own.  I know this to be true for you as well as you stay the course in your denomination.  We may now have different affiliations which means we go to different meetings with a different set of disciples, but our Oneness is and remains in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Our Oneness exists in the holy catholic and apostolic church rather than in a particular branch of Lutheranism.  Our Oneness is grounded in our love for Jesus and more importantly his love for us.  My understanding of “church” has expanded immensely throughout this process as certain idols have crashed down around my feet.  What I was left with, amidst those shards of stained glass and steeples, was nothing less than my/our Savior.  We are still sisters in Christ, nothing, not even death can alter that relationship.  


I give thanks and praise for that Oneness.  It has moved us toward this untrodden and (so I am told) unheard of path as fellow Lutherans.   In different ways, we have each experienced God’s nudge drawing us together in this shared interest/mission/passion for Spiritual Formation.  
The words “I don’t know where I am going, but I am on my way” keep returning to me.  All I know for sure is that God is leading and supporting in Christ.  

It reminds me of the way hairpin turns work on some of the Forest Trails that I hike.  They wander about with a snake-like configuration.  Often there is another hiker who is at a different point on the trail, just over the rise.  The “other” is visible only when the foliage is down and is accessible only if I “bushwack” across the rise.  

Sometimes oneness in Christ requires that we do some bushwacking, don’t you think? 
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