Writings from The Church of the Saviour Community

Being Church NOW

There is absolutely nothing new about a new form of church. The church, the Body of Christ, is always changing. We take our form in the local and global environment of our particular period of history. We bring our society, the total global community, to God’s vision of newness, and we ask what Jesus would want his community to look like now, against this global backdrop.

During Jesus’ time he asked what his little band of followers needed to look like and be against the backdrop of Pax Romana, the clever moniker of that period of history. (Every Empire extends its deathly power in the name of peace or some other noble sounding cause, like freedom or democracy.) Jesus said to his little group, “This is how Pax Romana defines peace … and this is how the leaders of our own faith tradition define it in their institutional practices … and over here is how I’M defining it. I’ve summed it up for you in a little talk people are calling the Sermon on the Mount. Read more…

Following a Nonviolent Way

I was once at a friend’s house when she introduced me to a man who was helping her with household repairs. I still remember the kind and gentle spirit of this man; I don’t know many people who have made a better first impression on me. When I was leaving, I noticed his pick-up truck had a bumper sticker that promoted gun ownership. While I disagreed with the bumper sticker, I didn’t judge him. I remember thinking that I could see how a nice, gentle soul like this would want something strong to back him up.

One of the major reasons we want to hold on to the gun option is to protect that which is precious to us, whether it be our sense of dignity and self-respect, the physical safety of loved ones and ourselves, or something else precious to us, such as the land where we live. I felt compassion for this man and all who want to feel protected. I, too, feel protective since my daughter Sarah was born and since recent stories of tragic violence. So I get it. I am not naive. Hoping and dreaming for a nonviolent world, and wanting to be nonviolent in the process of creating such a world, can sound like a pipe dream. Read more…

Living Into Change

We are once again standing at a turning point in the life of The Church of the Saviour. The Potter’s House Church has set down its call, and the Eighth Day Faith Community, through the Banyan Tree Mission Group, has picked it up. For some, this time feels like death. For others, it is an exciting time of new birth.

When Peter and I arrived at The Church of the Saviour in 1976, we had read all of Elizabeth O’Connor’s books, and we eagerly anticipated a small, close-knit worshipping body that we could join. Instead, we found a rolling boil of change. The Church of the Saviour was giving birth to an unknown number of smaller churches. It seemed we had come just in time to bury The Church of the Saviour, and we were horrified! Read more…

The New Story

We are living in a time when all around us old stories are dying and new stories are struggling to be born. It is by story that we understand who we are, how we came to be and what we are about. We all live by story, and we are in trouble just now because we do not have a good story. New story emerges in many ways—as we let go of the old story and attend to ancient wisdom, to essence, to Sabbath rest, to dream, to song, to ceremony. Mostly it emerges as we try to live it out in the midst of the old story still around us, a process often filled with risk and conflict. Read more…

Intend God Altogether

When I first came to The Church of the Saviour, one of the things that attracted me most was the holding of disciplines. If we claimed to be disciples, I thought, we should live in a disciplined fashion, and here was a church that took this seriously. We would attend worship regularly (not only when we felt like it), pray daily, go on silent retreat at least once a year, contribute proportionally, participate in missions to the poor, practice love in all our relationships, promote peace personally as well as globally.

We soon learned that very few of us were faithful. We were hypocrites, saying one thing and doing another. Prayer, for many of us, seemed to be the big obstacle. How to communicate daily with someone as mysterious as God Almighty? I have found that the process, in itself, is the answer. Read more…