A Way to Live

What are Core Practices?

Our core practices grow out of our persistent desire to allow the life of God to live in us. Our commitment to the spiritual life means we turn our will and our life over to the care of God, praying for God’s direction in our lives and the power to carry it out. The practices are our humble attempt to describe what we have come to understand is a truly Christian way of life. We live in a world in which there are many confusing messages about what it means to be a Christian. In response to this confusion, we have sought to bring some clarity to the conversation by suggesting that Christianity is a way of life more than a system of beliefs. When we call ourselves “Christian” we mean that we want the kind of life Jesus lived to live in us.

The core practices we offer are specific enough to give some definition to our understanding of this way of life. However, they are also broad enough to allow us to explore how each of us might incorporate them into our own unique situations.

Creativity

And God saw all that had been created, and behold, it was good…

The Christian path is one of creativity. We are aware that to create is to express the nature of the divine in us. We are committed to nurture and explore our creative energies through play, innovation, and curious exploration. We will not minimize or criticize our own or others creative efforts, but will encourage the creative expressions of children and adults. We support innovation and originality in our homes, our workplaces and our communities.

Generosity and Hospitality

This is my body given for you…
Welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you.

The Christian path is one of generosity and hospitality. We are aware that much suffering comes from greed, exploitation, and accumulation. We are committed to practice generosity by sharing our time, energy, and material resources, especially with those in need. We will respect the property of others and will prevent others from stealing and from profiting from human and environmental suffering. We are committed to create a congregation of extreme diversity and will seek to develop relationships and understanding with those who are different from ourselves.

Healing

Just say the word and I shall be healed…
On the third day he arose because death could not hold him…

The Christian path is one of healing. We are aware that healing is not always about being cured, but is about being made whole. The life cycle of dying and rising is at the heart of our faith and this is the essence of all healing. We are committed to bring healing to our own lives and the world by looking deeply at the sources of our suffering. We are honest about the causes of our suffering and will seek to transform habits, addictions and social ills that create pain and misery. We seek forgiveness and reconciliation whenever possible and will make amends to those we have harmed. We will be compassionate toward one another’s pain and will work together to make healing resources available equitably to all.

Honoring the Body

I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you…

The Christian path is an embodied path. We are committed to honor embodiment as a way in which we understand, experience and express our relationship with God. Our bodies are gifts we care for by making healthy living choices. We will honor others by working to see that the basic bodily needs of all are met for food, healthcare, and housing. We will actively seek treatment for addictions which diminish and destroy our bodies and spirits. We recognize touch as an expression of embodied affection. We respect one other’s boundaries and will honor our own sexual commitments and the commitments of others. We recognize the earth as an expression of God’s body and will treat physical and material realities as a sacred trust

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Peacemaking

If it is possible, so far as it depends on you,
live peaceably with all.

The Christian path is one that seeks to bring justice through non-violent means. Jesus death and resurrection is a testimony to the power of non-violent activism. We recognize that we are deeply connected and that acts of violence and disrespect cause all beings to suffer. We are committed to cultivate compassion and to use it to explore all possible means for non-violent solutions to conflict. With compassion we will seek to create peaceful environments in our congregation, our homes, and communities. We are committed to avoid all forms of killing and will not support acts of killing in the world, as our conscience and God’s guidance direct us.

Loving Speech and Deep Listening

Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is
useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words
may give grace to those who hear.

The Christian path recognizes the power of words – to hurt and destroy; to build up and to heal. We honor our connection to one another through listening deeply without judgment, seeking only to understand. We are committed to listen in places where it is not always comfortable for us to do so. With God’s help, we will refrain from speaking in ways that can cause division or discord or that cause friendships, family and community to break. We are committed to speak in ways that bring confidence, joy and hope. Our desire is that deep listening and loving speech will infuse our meetings, our fellowship and our life together in a way that strengthens the bonds of true community.

Mindful Consuming

The one who had much did not have too much,
and the one who had little did not have too little.

The Christian path is one of balance and equity. We recognize that there is much suffering as a result of mindless consuming. We are committed to consider carefully what we consume. Food, material possessions, media are all useful things, but when consumed unmindfully they can become toxic to the body, mind, and spirit. We are committed to consume things that bring health, well-being, and joy to our lives. We will resist consuming more than is necessary in order to build a sustainable social order. We will seek to live simply, so that all may live.

Keeping Sabbath

….On the seventh day God finished the work
that he had done, and he rested...
So God blessed the seventh day and made it sacred….

The Christian path is one of freedom. We are aware that the dominant culture demands too much from people. It often leaves us overworked and overuses the earth’s resources. Keeping Sabbath releases us from the bondage of overwork and frees us from our addiction to producing and spending. We are committed to set aside a regular day in which we rest, give thanks, play and enjoy the gift of creation.