A co-laborer at New Life recently encouraged me to watch The Central Park Five. It is the story of five teenagers – four blacks and one Hispanic, ages 14 to 16, who were arrested and charged with raping and beating, nearly to death, a 28 year old, white woman after dark in Central Park. The boys were portrayed as “beasts,” and “wild animals” with no remorse for their actions. Donald Trump placed full-page ads calling for the return of the death penalty. They spent the next 7-13 years of their lives in prison. Their lives and families were ruined. The problem: They were innocent. The murderer who committed the crime finally admitted it in 2002. This documentary is important to watch for many reasons. Here are my top three: 1. Social class and racial divisions remain a deep reality. The Central Park Five gives us an amazing portrayal of the injustice that befalls so. Read more.
King David led out of a place of deep rest and contentment. He sang: “My cup overflows” (Ps. 23:5). Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) changes the metaphor from a cup to a reservoir. I invite you to slowly and prayerfully mediate on this photo and his words. If you are wise, therefore, you will show yourself a reservoir and not a canal. For a canal pours out as fast as it takes in; but a reservoir waits till it is full before it overflows, and so communicates its surplus. We have all too few such reservoirs in the Church at present, through we have canals in plenty. . .they (canals) desire to pour out when they themselves are not yet inpoured; they are readier to speak than to listen, eager to teach that which they do not know, and most anxious to exercise authority on others, although they have not learnt to rule themselves. .. Read more.
Geri and I have been deeply influenced in how we lead teams and small groups by Circles of Trust developed by Parker Palmer and the Center for Courage to Renewal http://www.couragerenewal.org/ . The insights from Circles of Trust form the backdrop and foundation of our efforts to create healthy community at New Life. In fact just last month we launched our small group of 22 people! The following are a few sample guidelines we shared with our small group at our first meeting: Speak for Yourself – Use “I” statements as much as possible. No Fixing, Saving, or Advising – Jesus alone is the Savior Turn to Wonder – If you feel judgemental or defensive when someone is sharing, ask yourself, “I wonder what brought him/her to this belief?” “I wonder what my reaction teaches me about me?” Silence – It is okay to have silence between responses as the group shares, giving members opportunity to reflect. Share for Yourself,. Read more.