Over the course of our journey as a church community, our values have slowly surfaced to the top. They capture who we are and shape who we hope to become. It is these values that provide the motivation for what we do and how we live.
ARTISTRY. We are a community of makers. We live into God’s resemblance of artistry that was envisioned in the garden. The ultimate act of creativity is God’s redemption of the world back to its original vision. We’re invited by the Gardener to garden again. The narrative that some people are creative and some are not is false. We are all artists, makers and creators made in the image of God. (Gen 1)
POSTURE. God gives grace to the humble. And a posture of humility emerges as we receive grace in community. Jesus, though equal with God, emptied himself of power and made himself human. We are called to a deep acceptance of this messy humanity, both ours and others, just as Jesus practiced. We have God’s DNA yet live within our shadow, ashamed to live the fullness of God’s vision for our lives. Humility is choosing to see ourselves and others more accurately – both our light and darkness. Each person has profound intrinsic worth and carries God’s spark. We will work to consider others in addition to ourselves – recognizing that caring only for ourselves is just as damaging as neglecting ourselves which leads to another form of self-centered living. (Phil 2)
EMPATHY. Theologians use “incarnation” to refer to God’s radical act of empathy: God became like us, in order to be with us and experience what we feel. We strive to reciprocate that in our relationships. This means creating space to listen, feel, and be with people who are different than us. We try to be an intentionally diverse community including background, life stage, socioeconomics, sexual orientation, and orthodoxy. Sometimes we do that well, and sometimes we fail. However, we try to practice empathy for both the marginalized and the marginalizers, and allow that empathy to guide us in our responsiveness to injustice. Through authentic spiritual community we learn to be transformed through grace and Christ’s spirit. You will find people here who will embrace and bless you. You will also find people here who will disagree with and challenge you. All of that is a good thing, necessary for healing and wholeness. (1 Cor 8, 1 Cor 12)
PARTICIPATION. We live in a culture where being in a church means shopping and consuming community. We invite you into a beautiful alternative, Liturgy, which means “the work of the people.” Find your plot of the garden within the community and the world we live in and get your hands dirty. We welcome you as co-creators to become the hands and feet of Christ. Cultivate your soul, help us hold space for the spiritual journey of others, and lean into the literal call to care for and serve the earth we belong to. (1 Cor 12)
PECULIARITY. In the Sermon on the mount, Jesus gives us a picture of what our Christian communities should be striving towards. Holiness has been hijacked by rule based legalism/ fundamentalism. For us, to be set apart, is to live a life worthy of the calling we’ve received, messing up along the way, then limitlessly forgiving each other. This is strange and peculiar. Radically loving our enemies is the gold standard of holiness. It’s the ultimate difference in a darwinian, disposable world. This is our vision for the world Jesus came to restore today, bit by bit, and a world we want to live in. We seek to relentlessly offer grace to ourselves, one another and the world around us. (Matt 5)
MYSTERY. Our narrative begins with light, which is both finite and infinite based on speed. The Incarnation is God, who is timeless, slowing and entering into linear time. Within these parameters healthy faith is we who are finite, learning to be loved and love the One who is infinite. In ancient times people chased after the mystery of God in a pillar of cloud by day and by night a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. As a community we lean into the mystery of Christ leading us on our bright days and in our darkest hours. This type of faith involves doubt, uncertainty and learning to trust in the One whose name is Truth and Love. We invite you to become a people of healthy faith learning to trust what we hope for and do not see. (Ex 13:21, Eph 3:9, 5:32, Col 4:3, Hebrews 11:1)
[Photo by rhi ellis @ Flickr]