Dave Brisbin 8.13.23
Ever heard of the nine dots puzzle? Nine dots arranged in a square, three equal rows of three, like tic tac toe. Challenge is to connect all dots using only four straight lines and without lifting pen off paper or retracing any lines. After snapping a couple of pencils and throwing up your hands, you find the solution looks like an arrowhead with its head on a corner and wings extending beyond the box of dots. We naturally assume the solution must be contained inside the box. There is no solution inside the box.

Puzzle imitating life.

We naturally assume every challenge we face must be solved inside the box—the scope of our life experience—because we can’t conceive of anything outside our box. You cannot speak of ocean to a well-frog, the creature of a narrower sphere, the philosopher said. As with the frog, the sneakiest part is: we don’t even know we have a box. It’s just life. Our lives. The laws of society, religion, physics, the dynamics of our family of origin, our traumas and training…all we know and have decided to believe, forms the walls of our box.

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I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say that everything Jesus does in the gospels is creating leverage to get us outside our box. The good news he’s telling of a degreeless and indiscriminant love can never be found inside our box. By definition, it violates any box we can imagine. Thoughts, words, logic, experience we’d use to try to understand and express it, were born in our box and can only describe its walls, never something outside. You must be born again; sell all you possess; you can’t see the wind or know where it goes; you must hate your father and mother, children, even your own life; pick up your cross daily; drop your nets at the shore, come and see, follow me.

Jesus leaves nothing on the table in a single-minded drive to break us out of the prison of our box. Boxes limit and contain. That’s their functional beauty. But the love and life Jesus is living can’t be contained and remain themselves. Only when we’re willing to get out of control, out of our minds, will the first glimpse of vast ocean come into view. Outside the box.

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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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