Archive | June, 2011

Something to Strive For

15 Jun

As the houses have emptied and all that remains are a few dirty dishes, shampoo bottles, and some great memories of last year, I’ve begun to dream and plan for next year.  As many of you know, small groups are at the heart of what Vision 16 is about: they provide a safe place for growth, exploration, question asking, and development.  How do we make them better?  While asking this question I came across this video, and I think it really gives us something to strive for.  Trust me, it’s worth two minutes.  Enjoy!

Women’s House Openings!

10 Jun

Spread the word: there are still openings in the women’s houses!

If you or anyone you know is looking to experience living in an intentional, Jesus centered community, this could be the place!  17thave@gmail.com

Back to the Present

8 Jun

This time of year is full of talk about future, especially for those who are graduating.  You hear these conversations all over the place this time of year, especially at graduation parties: What’s next?  Do you have a job lined up? What’s your five year plan?  These questions rattle around students minds and many do their best to avoid them at all costs. Typically the only people who like being asked about their future are those who have it figured out.

In many respects, talking about the future is exciting: it’s unknown, full of promise and bursting with possibility.  Within the future lies the chance that we may encounter perfection.  It’s no wonder that many of us love to fantasize and romanticize what could be rather than what is.  Our hope gets placed on an ideal and betrays the gift of today, our present reality.  God told us that he is the great I am, not the great I will be.  God promises to show up here and now, not in some distant possibility or hope.  So while dreaming and longing are not inherently bad, and God did his share of casting vision and promise, they can become idols when they replace our living and breathing in the present.  Through the prophet Jeremiah God told the captives in Babylon to settle in, give their children away in marriage, build homes and gardens, and to work for the welfare of the city; he didn’t tell them to spend all their time longing for the future.  CS Lewis puts it best when he says “Gratitude looks to the Past and love to the Present; fear, avarice, lust, and ambition look ahead.

As talk of future hopes, dreams and plans (all good things, certainly) bounce around our heads and conversations, let’s keep at least one foot in the present.  As we are faithful to the present, God will lead us into a future that will far exceed our  hopes.

“We cannot think about the future, of course, for the future does not exist: the existence of the future is an article of faith. We can be assured only that, if there is to be a future, the good of it is already implicit in the good things of the present. We do not need to plan or devise a “world of the future”; if we take care of the world of the present, the future will have received full justice from us.”  Wendell Berry

Thoughts?  Comments? Objections? Improvements?  All welcome.

Next Year’s Facilitators

3 Jun

Not long after Vision 16 was started, small groups became an integral part of what makes this community unique.  Every student was required to be in a group of five-six other students to study scripture and share life.  For many students this was their first time sharing so deeply and honestly, and for some it was the first time cracking the bible.  Conventional small groups have a leader, the person who creates the study and is in charge of the group.  Vision 16 leadership didn’t like this model.  Calling one of the students the “leader” sets up a hierarchy that places one student above the others and limits the peer engagement.  So, quite intentionally, the name “facilitator” was chosen.

These students are to facilitate discussion rather than lead it; their job isn’t to have answers, but to have questions.  Their task is to create a safe and challenging environment where authenticity is fostered, where the scripture and each students’ life can be honestly explored and talked about.  The small group mentors (adult community members who participate in the small group and support the facilitator) act as a rudder to the conversation and also a source of perspective, wisdom, and experience.

Facilitator responsibilities aren’t limited to small groups, however: they are also responsible for house chores, servant leadership, and the general tone of the house.

It is with great pleasure and excitement that I announce the 2011-12 facilitators!

Men:  Jeff Hjort, Nathan Mori, Eric Parker, Ryan Overton, Alex Sundell, Evan Herman, Michael Griffith, & Cody Martinell

Women:  Soho–Carrie Rotta & Holly Erwin; Trio–Bekah Kennel & Alexa Parker; NoHo–Allison Snyder & Angie Anderson

Motivated by…?

1 Jun

I recently read a great article by David Brooks, a NY Times Op-Ed columnist, about some of the recent graduation speeches he’s heard this Spring.  It’s well worth five minutes of your time, and he poses some interesting and compelling questions.  What is it that motivates this new generation entering the work force?  Is it passion?  Is it need?  Is it opportunity?

Brooks claims that it’s the “baby-boomer theology” of “Follow your passion, chart your own course, march to the beat of your own drummer ” that is echoing in the ears of recent grads, and that these admonitions are ultimately dead ends.  This sort of language is not  foreign to my tongue, I must confess.  I can recall telling students that “Calling is where your passions and gifts meet the world’s needs.”  While that may be partially true, is it sound advice, let alone Biblical?  Is an abandoned pursuit of passion going to lead us into the fullest life possible, one of service, sacrifice, and relationship?

I’m curious to hear from you all.  What is it that motivates you?  Is it pursuit of passion?  What do you want to hear from a graduation speech?  Don’t be shy.  Leave some comments.  If you’d like to read more on this, check out a local pastor’s blog on the same article and topic: Fibonacci Faith.