September 26th, 2013

Brendan Liturgy Part VIII

Brendan and his friends find those who understand; food is provided, and needful encouragement to trust God.

The workbook pulls from Part VIII the concept of “Living Simply”. To say that this has been a dominant thought of mine for years is an understatement. If one had a mind to slog through the copious amounts of mind drool, one would find earlier in this blog (Spring and Summer of 2010 mostly) extensive writing, angst and frankly, frustration from the author regarding pulling together multiple, fragmented “pieces of a puzzle” which seemed to represent independent prompts or impluses from God which had no realistic combined expression. This excerpt from July 6th 2010 expresses a “breakthrough” when 7 different “impulses” formed together into 3:

I have already written extensively about this. It’s not a dichotomy…it’s a septchotomy. Actually, I could really combine a couple of them for the sake of conversation:

Celtic style + Contemplative + Intentional Community + Simplicity = New Monasticism.

MBE + Social Action = AC3 Community Center

My Dad’s House

…THERE. That’s three. So the question will remain: How does a New Monastic and AC3 Community Center fit? Maybe they don’t. My dad’s house still stands alone.

(MBE stands for Mission Based Entrepeneur…or as we call it at AC3: Business as Mission)

In the 3 years since that post, things have simplified even more. Circumstances carried me along to the sale of my father’s house. This directly lead to 2 significant outcomes:

1) a life changing trip to the U.K. including a visit to Nether Springs – see pictures on home page of this blog – and

2) the purchase of a 30 year, fixed-rate mortgage of our home, thereby “saving” it from an impending disaster (we had one of those awful, variable-rate mortgages that was destined to sink us if we didn’t get a new one.)

So, from 7 unconnected “puzzle pieces” down to 3. Then, that third piece really disappearing, or more accurately, being absorbed into the other two. The trip to England solidified my relationship with the Northumbria Community (see puzzle piece 1 “New Monasticism”) the mortgage solidified our place in Marysville..(see puzzle piece 2 “AC3 Community Center)

In other words…all that work to sort through the pieces has resulted in them forming up together into something relatively simple: God is calling me to live out the Rule right here in my town.


The mechanisms of this “consolidation” appeared long before I was aware a consolidation was under way . For example,  my impulse to begin raising food at home again, the arrival of permaculture in my thinking, simple living (less stuff and activity),  – all point to steady, community centered, slow-paced, contemplative living. The Monastic.

The purchase of the coffee stand, reconciliation with the Tribe, the network of relationships within the broader community, arrival of key leaders at the Community Center, local economics, continued opportunities in the arts, and more – all point to an outward focused, compassion and arts based endeavor which will be self-sustaining. The Community Center.

I believe that simplicity “demands” that even these two coalesce into a whole. If God has been faithful to take 7 unconnected pieces and boil them down into two coherent pieces…I have little doubt that he is capable of bringing those resulting two together.

I do, however,  doubt my own capacity for patience and vision. I doubt my own work ethic. It’s almost like these two parts of me which I question are emblematic of the two different remaining pieces.

The Monastic requires a man to say “no” to activity and stuff. To be content in the moment, and free from the anxiety of “achievement”.

The Community Center requires a man to say “yes” to long hours, single-minded vision casting, example setting and high levels of innovative activity.

2 is certainly “more simple” than 7. But when the two appear to be in opposition to one another, a new kind of complexity emerges….

A reconciling may lie somewhere amongst these thoughts from Joshua Searle of the Northumbria Community:

“Steve Chalke, a leading figure in contemporary Christianity in Britain, has compared what he calls the “attractional model” and the “incarnational model” of discipleship in the context of British churches. Whereas the former expresses an attitude of “Come to us. You know where we are”, the latter emphasises the importance of the church’s involvement in the surrounding culture as a means toward an embodied witness to Christ. Chalke argues that the mission of the church in the twenty-first century should be both incarnational and attractional.

The Northumbria Community may perhaps offer an example of how these two approaches can be contextually embodied through a commitment to living as “Church without walls” and by living out the common hope in which all Community Companions participate. Such an approach is both “incarnational” and “attractional.” Nevertheless, with its emphasis on “covenant”, the community represents an advance on the “incarnational” and the “attractional” prototypes by offering a distinct third perspective which draws on the strengths of both. The Rule of Life is thus an expression of the covenant commitment that each companion makes to one another and to God. This covenant has an important bearing not only on the intrinsic life of the Community but also on the Community’s witness and missionary engagement. As well as the shared Rule, the covenant is also based upon “a common vision to see the kingdom of God extended in Northumbria… and to carry the torch of the Gospel wherever the Father leads.” This common vision serves as a focus for the Community practices in which all Companions participate.”

Hmmm. I will see about contacting Joshua to ask some questions…

In other news: I finally heard back from somone at the Tulalip Tribes…hope dawned for a meeting! Then the day of the tenative meeting came and went…it’s gone silent again. Will keep trying….


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