Dave Brisbin 9.10.23
The purpose of a fish trap is to catch a fish. Once the fish is caught, the trap is forgotten.
The purpose of a rabbit snare is to catch a rabbit. Once the rabbit is caught, the snare is forgotten.
The purpose of words is to convey ideas. Once the ideas are grasped, the words are forgotten.
Show me a person who has forgotten words. That’s the one I want to talk to.

Chinese philosopher Chuang Tzu, wrote this three hundred years before Jesus, but it speaks to a timeless part of human nature. We are always getting means and ends confused. Missing the forest for the trees—missing the intent of a process by getting lost in its details, letting those details become an end in themselves, more important than the purpose for which they were put in place. This phenomenon of putting carts before horses is probably most clearly seen in religious practice.

An old joke: Why don’t Baptists allow premarital sex? Because it leads to dancing…

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When it comes to law, religious or civil, we have often followed the practice of prohibiting behavior that may lead to larger offenses. But what happens when prohibiting the gateway behavior becomes more important than the unlawful behavior itself? Or when the code of the law itself becomes more important than the community it was meant to protect?

This is what both Chuang Tzu and Jesus are confronting. The religious laws of the Hebrew bible existed to preserve the life of the community and promote the awareness of God’s presence…not as a test of righteousness. The Hebrew word we translate as law really means instruction or guidance, which means that the rules are not goodness in themselves; they can only point us in that direction—a means of personal formation, of assuming the values of the law’s intent. Expressed in scripture as writing the law on our hearts, law is only needed until we learn to love, then the law can disappear.

We have learned to follow rules as the proof of our goodness and acceptance, but… The purpose of the law is to catch God’s goodness. Once goodness is caught, the law can be forgotten. Show me a person who has forgotten law. That’s the one I want to obey.

 

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Everyone is recovering from something… Admitting this is the first step in spiritual life, because any unfinished business in our lives–trauma, unforgiveness, fear-based perceptions–fosters compulsive behavior and keeps us from connecting spiritually and emotionally.

Since we’re all recovering, we accept everyone right as they are—no expiration dates or deadlines. We don’t tell anyone what to believe or do. We present points of view that we hope will engage seekers in their own journey; help them unlearn limiting perceptions, beliefs, and compulsions; give opportunities to get involved in community, building the trust we all need to find real identity, meaning, and purpose. In other words, to engage the transforming Way of living life that Jesus called Kingdom…non-religiously understood from a first century Hebrew point of view.

 

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Embedded in the fun and laughter of each of our gatherings and events is the connection and accountability as well as the structure, discipline, and opportunity for service that authentic community is all about. We help create programs for physical support, emotional recovery, and spiritual formation that can meet any person’s needs. Such programs work at two levels: first to address a person’s physical and emotional stability—clinical, financial, relational,professional—anything that distracts from working on the second level: true spiritual formation centered around the contemplative way of life defined by an original Hebrew understanding of the message of Jesus.

Rather than telling people what to believe or think, we model and encourage engagement in a personal and communal spiritual journey that allows people to experience their own worthiness of connection and acceptance, to find the freedom from underlying fears that brings real meaning and purpose into focus.

 

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Seeing ourselves as a learning and recovery community that worships together, the focus isn’t on Sunday morning alone, but on every day of the week as we gather for worship, healing and support workshops, studies, 12 step meetings, counseling and mentoring sessions, referral services, and social events. We maintain a food pantry for those needing more support, a recovery worship gathering, and child care for those with little ones.

Our Sunday gathering starts at 10AM and our Recovery gathering on Tuesdays at 6:30PM. Both gatherings include worship with one of the best worship bands in the area. See our monthly calendar and our Facebook page to stay in touch with what is happening each week. You can also sign up on our elist for email enews updates.

 

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