Every single person on the planet today is longing for love and for meaning, for wholeness and shalom, to come home to their true selves and to join in God's work of renewal in the world. [I blogged about this last week here].
And yet we know that the world around us is deeply fragmented with fear, hate and greed and hostile to the flourishing of our own souls, our communities, and our environment. And our own souls are fragmented too, captive to anxiety and fear, hustling to be enough and to escape the tyranny of our own shame. The gods of this age, individualism, narcissism, technology, and consumerism have promised the American Dream (which btw is not God’s Dream). But instead of freedom, they have actually enslaved us, oppressed us and ravaged our world. Our 24-7 frenetic lifestyles, addictions to screens and fragmented families and communities have left us anxious, ill, depressed and lonely like never before. And the world is literally on fire as glaciers melt and rain forests burn.
We believe there is another way to live. We believe that the church exists to invite people into love and meaning and to join God in the renewal of all things. As The Practicing Church, we join this work of renewal and healing in the world by practices that ground us in the love of God.
As The Practicing Church, we invite you to take this transformational journey into love. And it is a journey inward to heal from your wounds and to come home to your true selves. It is the journey outward as you step into your true vocation and your life’s work joining in this work of renewal in the world. And it is a journey we take together. We were never meant to do life alone.
And so in order to take this journey, we must engage in practices of formation, mission and community. As The Practicing Church we want to be followers of Jesus that are “practicing” our faith. We believe that living into the way of Jesus takes practice – and that our faith is much more than something we add to our already busy, stressed out lives, but rather, it is a way of life.
For there is no magic pill. We’re not just going to snap our fingers and instantly be transformed into a Mother Teresa, living a life of love and meaning. It doesn't work that way. We all know it takes practice to acquire a skill, whether we are practicing medicine or yoga or learning a new instrument, language or business. What we practice, we become. And so we know it will take practice to live into the way of love. For it is never convenient or easy. In fact, we will have to swim upstream against the tides of culture.
The Power of Community
In order to journey upstream, we believe we absolutely need each other. We cannot do it alone. There is power in community and this has been proven again and again in every context and culture. Where you and I might fail on our own, our chances of succeeding go up dramatically if we join with others around a common goal. Community holds you accountable to be the person you say you want to be, the person you are meant to be.
If we are to have any hope of embodying love in this world in such a way that is actually good news to us and to our neighbors, we must walk the talk. We must live true. We must be people of love. We must be healing and growing and practicing together to become the kind of people that the world is longing for the church to be. And we will need each other to reengage our faith as a profoundly earthy, bodily and communal experience in the midst of an age of secularism, technology, frenetic lifestyles, anxiety, fragmentation, disembodiment, and loneliness.
There is another way to live. Journey with others to practice the counter-cultural way of love and be a part of something good in the world. We will journey with you to take the road less traveled and to hold you accountable to be the person you were meant to be. Take the journey of transformation to come home to yourself and to step fully into God's work in the world!
by Jessica Ketola
Photo by Gian-Reto Tarnutzer