Sunday, July 21, 2013

Trust, Faith, and Synchronicity : or Winter is Upon Us.

The past year or so things with the community have been a little out of sync.  We have been going through a number of transitions: members leaving, new members coming in, working on developing a Student in Residence program, needing to move and becoming the first and founding House of an ecumencial religious order.  The transition from a single independent intentional community to first house of the Order of Jesus Christ, Reconciler has been in process since 2011, as forming a religious order just takes time.  Other things came unexpectedly, and were simply following opportunities that presented themselves, like the request to help a degree program at a local university to develop a student in residence program with intentional communities in chicago.

All of that would be enough stress on a community, if things were working out.  What has happened is that things just have been out of sync.  Nothing's been lining up.  A house was offered to the community but we'd have had to move in at the worst possible time, and back out of agreements we'd made.  Just then as we searched for other properties just as we thought we'd found what we needed things have prevented our getting those properties.  And of course what space we get affects our ability to take on any potential student's in residence.  Nothing is lining up nothing is working out or fitting together easily.

This lack of synchronicity and failure for things to work out has been an occasion to wonder what was God's call, was it time to move on? This might have been a temptation.  I don't know.  We are continuing on. Though, due to very recent turn of events, now the smallest we've been since our first few months as a community.

This has me thinking about time, timing, and that the realm of the Gospel and of God that Jesus announced  is it's own time (Barth I find argues for this quite well in the Church Dogmatics).  The community is seeking to live into and as our Rule says be a parable of this other time.  When there is synchronicity of various times and timing, I am confident of God being at work.  It's easy to see and trust when the times line up.  Not so easy to trust when everything is out of sync.  Difficult when God's time the time of the Gospel and the realm of God is out of sync with my won time.

Things are out of sync, it would be easy to conclude, even reasonable to do so, that this means that the community is doing something wrong, or even that we should give it up, move on to other things.

Yet..., even while nothing is lining up, and things are dwindling, people are affirming the ministry and witness of the community.  This feels contradictory, and admittedly it is confusing.  It's difficult to discern what to do, or what is the correct path.    Here is perhaps the place for the virtue of steadfastness and perseverance.  When things line up and all is clear, to push forward to maintain the course isn't a difficulty, doesn't really require steadfastness or perseverance.

Things are happening, but it looks like the community is definitely entering into a period of deep winter, of cutting back and pruning, and of no growth.  It looks bleak.  I'm reminded of the scene in the Secret Garden, when they first enter the garden and the girl asks, is it dead, and the boy replies no it is quick and he cuts a branch to reveal green and sap in the branch.  There is life here but it has been slowing down, and many external signs of life are fading away.  It looks like a long and potentially harsh winter ahead, but I trust God has prepared us for this winter.

I've written a more personal reflection on this same theme and


Anonymous said...

I really think you have found the right analogy, a time of winter and pruning, leading to greater fruitfulness. That encourages me. Thanks for sharing that! Love, Kay Setzer

Larry Kamphausen said...

Thanks Kay.
The analogy is something I'm recalling from seminary, in more than one course on ministry and pastoral care professors warned of a time when ministry and churches we would lead and pastor would experience a "winter" a time when it would be tempting to believe everything was dead or coming to an end. Winter's they reminded us are a normal part of life, they don't come as regularly as the seasons in organizations and ministry or churches but they do come.

Anonymous said...


1. (Hinduism, Buddhism) The concept of "action" or "deed" in Indian and Nepalese religions understood as that which causes the entire cycle of cause and effect (i.e., the cycle called samsara) described in the dharmic traditions, namely: Hindu, Jain, Sikh and Buddhist philosophies. The total effect of a person's actions and conduct during the successive phases of his existence, regarded as determining his next incarnation.

2. A distinctive feeling, aura, or atmosphere.

3. The idea that one reaps what one sows; destiny; fate.  

Larry Kamphausen said...

Karma being a Hindu and not Christian concept, I'd be interested if the person who posted the definition would be interested in expounding on how this Hindu concept fits with the content of this post. Always interested in dialog but mere posting of a definition as a comment doesn't really further the conversation.
So if you come back say some more.