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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Afternoon session

This afternoon Larry Lewis presented a talk on renewal. We talk about it because our centenary is approaching. People also talk about renewal in times of crisis and we are in crisis. We have a lot to worry about and a lot to celebrate. We have 432 members and our median age is 76. We face a crisis of numbers. We face our mortality. If we had large numbers coming in we wouldn't even be having this all-important conversation.

We always were fragile, we always were inefficient. The greatest spiritual threat of our time, according to Thomas Merton is not lack of prayer or charity, but "Efficiency".

We won't and can't go back to the past. We've strategized about reformation. We need now to talk about renewal from our position of fear and vulnerability. According to Lewis, "We can't be in a better place."

Like Peter, when we as a Society were young we went about freely, but now as we grow older God has taken us to places we do not want to go.

Without doing mission with an awareness of our vulnerability, without accepting this fragility, no matter how many churches or schools we build overseas, we arrogantly go about destroying hearts.*

Will we pretend everything is OK? Or will we openly embrace this diminishment in and through which true renewal lies?

Dare we wait for God? We can renew on a level we could never have before. This is a time of grace for us.

*Larry shared this quote from Noel O'Donoghue, OCD, from "Heaven in Ordinaire"
..."for the heart is made for God and the wild glory of God's love and all that means of divination and fulfillment. Or to put it another way: the human psyche has within it an immense energy of self-receiving, of loving and of being loved, of sacrifice and aspiration. And it is this challenge in the depths of himself the anti-mystic has to meet in confronting the mystic, and the only alternative to accepting its motivation is to destroy it utterly. And once I choose the way of the invulnerable heart there is hardly any limit to my self-righteousness and destructiveness. Even when I build churches and schools I am still in the business of destroying the heart."

Sent from my iPad

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