Saturday dinner and Sunday lunch, I participated in communal meals. One was planned and fancy; the other was impromptu and simple. Both had excellent food, good friends, and a larger purpose.
Saturday was Sanctify’s monthly dinner at Il Fornaio. Back in June, we had six participate (the usual number for months now); in July, we had seven and this past Saturday, we had eight. The growth is intentional, but friendship is primary. We gathered over good Italian fare, sharing life from work to family to sources for quality ink pens: real friendship in the presence of Jesus, casting aside ulterior motives.
Sunday lunch was different: fore core members gathered for an after-Sunday-gathering lunch at Tropi-Cuba. There was no agenda, save enjoying good food and good friends. Yet at this meal, a bit of the vision poked through: Why don’t we do things like this and Il Fornaio more often? Indeed.
Being the resident theo-geek, I continue to consider Sanctify’s journey through ecclesiological eyes. Three characteristics of the vision come to mind.
Low threshold. In the past, we have concentrated on creating opportunities for intellectual engagement with God’s truth. We had initial success, having ten or more at our Saturday Academies, and more than twelve at last year’s Bible Chewing and Beyond. But we are coming to realize that we may have exhausted the supply of folks willing to step over such a high threshold.
Low threshold gatherings, like eating together, are standard in our culture; they require little explanation, unlike theological dialogues and small group Bible studies. The kinds of gatherings possible are proportional to our interests and enjoyments. Indeed, as more friendships are formed, more options are opened. The real friendships developed here provide a safe place to share our deep needs and uncover the deep beliefs that enhance or hinder our lives.
High impact. Gathering in ordinary life produces real friendships that go well beyond the context of the gathering. Within these friendships, we speak and show Jesus and his truth flowing out of ordinary life, not planned in programs or brochures. As we grow in trust and live out that trust, we proclaim ever more clearly that answers outside Jesus are inadequate to our deepest needs.
Vision driven. There is a vision in my soul of a home open for drop-in meals (bring makings to share and see what happens); impromptu gatherings via text, Twitter, and Facebook; and soul-to-soul sharing. Some of this has peeked above the soil; some remains a germinated seed. What can we do in the meantime to enhance the vision?
- Leverage praxis and learn from the gatherings we already have.
- Engage soul-to-soul to clarify and strengthen the vision.
- Engage Scripture to add precision to and improve alignment of the vision.
Sanctify’s next dreaming session is Sunday, August 23. For those in Sanctify, let us pray, read, think, dream, and come ready to dance at Rudy’s. For others who read this blog, I ask you to pray for us: we’ve fears and inadequacies to bring before our Father. We trust, but we need his help with our lack of trust.