“all-y’all”

Dear Companions,

“We haven’t been this way before!”

This past week I noticed that expression emerge in several conversations:

  • A friend describing a camel ride during a once-in-a-lifetime trip
  • Someone mourning the loss of a life partner and all their once-clad dreams (actually this past week there were three separate conversations like this!)
  • A parent whose oldest child has started driving

I also found this phrase on my own lips as I recalled the compelling vision of God for us to create space and nurture a dispersed community of contemplative companions that eventually became known as Selah.  That’s us…or as my sister from Georgia says, “all y’all”…and who of us truly has been this way before?  Local and present communities are difficult enough…now add the distance factor?  Thankfully there are some helpful and supportive models but this journey is uniquely ours to make, a journey requiring our pausing energies, our listening discernment, our loving responses…with God, with each other and with our surrounding relationships.

That’s why I am particularly delighted to share with you dispersed companions these articulated Selah Values.  Over the past months one way the Selah Board has paused and listened and responded was by writing seven core values describing the essence of our dispersed community.  This huge effort of love sharpens our focus and shines clearer light on our way.

Remember the scene from the Wizard of Oz where Dorothy and her three new friends (and Toto too!) face the formidable forest?  Remember how they link arms and find their walking rhythm, and how their individual angst melds into a more confident pace forward?

In a way, that’s what these Selah Values provide for us – shared expressions around which we can link our hearts and arms and confidently walk forward into this unfolding, unknown way.

Here’s an idea:

Print these Selah Values and mount them in a visible spot for at least two weeks.

Review them slowly, prayerfully, reflectively, regularly.

Notice where these Values draw you in and where they don’t.

Spend some time with these.

Envision what kind of dispersed community we might be as we live into these Values.

And of course, let the rest of us know how you think these statements impact you and us.  We are always eager to hear!

So while it’s true that we might not have been this way before, what an amazing opportunity we have to experience something of God’s presence and of God’s intention and of God’s provision that we also haven’t experienced before!

How grateful I am for your companionship.

How grateful I am for Jesus’ companionship.

May I take your arm?

Would you take mine?

So be it.

Peace and love to you in this good day,

John

Mindless living

Dear Companions and friends,

Between teaching engagements and various travels, somehow for me May – full and active May – swept right into June…and I hear myself saying, “Now I can slow down.”  Really?  Will I?  Do I even want to?  Isn’t living fast and overfull more interesting?  Isn’t being busy and a bit blurry the preferred, and certainly the affirmed, way to do life these days?  Slowing down – reclaiming regular and ample pauses – can actually be terrifying.  What happens if I have nothing to do?  What happens if I have nothing to acquire or accomplish or prove?  What happens if I cannot outrun my internal voices far too eager to step right in to remind me I’m not good enough, loving enough, safe enough, successful enough, connected enough, extraordinary enough…or…or…or?   Whoa!  As long as I’m busy I don’t need to attend to any of this.  Let’s just get on to the next thing!

Hmmm…I guess mindless living on auto-pilot might sound easier…if that’s actually living.  Sounds instead like it might be more about hiding, dodging, avoiding, fearing, numbing which sounds like and actually is a whole lot more work in the end.  And what about getting to the end yet missing all the textures and details of authentic living along the way, not to mention all the intricate delicacies of oft messy relationships?  And what about missing that still small Voice that speaks healing and grace and mercy and unconditional love I deeply need and ultimately desire?

So here I am.  It’s June and I’m trying to pause and listen more deeply again.  I am trying to reclaim a more spacious pace.  I know it’s not only important…it’s life.  Hmmmm…slowing down certainly involves more than simply turning the calendar.

So be it.

Grace and love to you in this good day,

John