Spring 2021: Practice versus Posture
A central question posed to who we are as a congregation and as a people is about our posture. What do we mean by posture? As Christians, we often look to the 10 Commandments for instructions on how to live faithfully. This list of “thou shalts” and “thou shalt nots” offers clear-cut rules about how we are to be. The Commandments points us to the guidelines or PRACTICE of our faith.
However, as we look to our faith heroes, from Ruth to David, from Mary to her son Jesus, from the earliest disciples to some of our more contemporary heroes like Dorothy Day, Oscar Romero, and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. we see something more complex than a set of rules. None of our faith heroes were perfect. Instead of being perfect in their practice, what sets them apart is their POSTURE -- the intention and the spirit with which they approached the divine and their own spiritual lives.
The prophet Micah’s call to “do justice, love kindness (or mercy) and walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8) is a call to a posture that seeks justice and kindness and that moves with humility. Jesus’ command to love God with all that we are and to love our neighbors as ourselves is a command about our posture: our first intention and the grounding to which we must always return is one of love.
Nora Smith shared with me the idea of kintsugi, an art form she was exposed to during her time in Japan, and how it speaks powerfully to the idea of posture. In short, Kintsugi is the Japanese art of putting broken pottery pieces back together with gold. This art is “built on the idea that in embracing flaws and imperfections, you can create an even stronger, more beautiful piece of art. Every break is unique and instead of repairing an item like new, the 400-year old technique actually highlights the ‘scars’ as a part of the design” (Tiffany Ayuda). The practice of kintsugi seeks not perfection but resilience, and it highlights the beauty of flaws and imperfections and the strength that can be found in healing. It highlights a POSTURE that values resilience and healing.
I want to share with you two quotes that speak to the power of posture in our faith community: “We come to church, we gather as community, not to have someone out there tell us how to behave but instead to fill our cracks with gold” (Rev. Nora Smith). In other words, we come to church to see and treat our individual and communal cracks as potential spaces for resilience, healing and a wholeness that can be more beautiful and indeed stronger than ever before.
“One of the ways to fill those cracks with gold is through loving communication” (Rev. Nora Smith). Church and faith communities more generally helps us to look at our individual and communal brokenness and then allow the Holy Spirit that works through each of us to be part of threading of those cracks with gold.
In the Spring of 2021, our Adult Education seeks to equip us for the work of healing and wholeness through loving communication. How do we approach our communication with each other? Beginning from a POSTURE of humility and love.
Part 1: “More than Talk: A Covenantal Approach to Everyday Communication”
Part 2: “A Hidden Wholeness” Book Study
Part 3: "Reading the Bible Again for the First Time" Book Study