Feb
18
2010
1

Gotta tend the earth if you want a rose

This Sunday, Feb. 21, we’ll meet at Karthaus’ at 4 pm. Our worship/discussion will be on Tokbox at approx. 5:30 pm. We hope you’ll join us! Read on to see what we’ll be discussing to prepare for the conversation, and if you can’t be with us on Sunday leave your thoughts and comments on the blog so we can include them. Here’s a taste:

Penance as guilt is just what our monkey minds want.  The part of our brain stem that focuses on survival and preservation of the status quo often gets its way by imposing anxiety and fear, and guilt just piles on to its agenda.  But repentance — the ultimate aim of “doing penance” — is about taking action. The word literally means to “turn around,” to “head in a new (right) direction.”  Guilt, though, feeds on our insecurities and need to blame and, left unchecked, leads us to despair.  It is the root of thinking that we’re not good enough, that we can’t do anything to solve a larger problem that causes the guilt, and so leads to inaction — the exact opposite of repentance. 

Read on for more reflections and discussion questions. (more…)

Written by Bob Fisher in: gatherings,lent,service,spirituality |
Feb
06
2010
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Imitating Christ’s humility

christhumilityTomorrow Kairos will gather at 4 pm at Barbette’s (Call or email Bob at 267-702-4262 for directions/info.)

Our focus will be “Imitating Christ’s humility,” drawing on Paul’s beautiful description of Jesus’ emptying himself for us, taking the form of a slave, in Philippians 2. We’ll look at how our response to Jesus’ kenosis (emptying) plays out on the global stage (as in aid to Haiti and Africa) and how we might express similar solidarity with the poor and marginalized.

Read on for more about the gathering.

(more…)

Written by Bob Fisher in: gatherings,lent,spirituality |
Feb
04
2010
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Kairos Winter Retreat Feb. 28

celticcrosssky

Join Kairos Community for a day of connecting with the Source.

Where: Upper Tinicum Lutheran Church Parish House 1426 Bridgeton Hill Road, Upper Black Eddy (Lat/long for GPS 40.561731, -75.114597)

When: Sunday, February 28 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Chronos, not Kairos time). Please plan on arriving early so we can get our coffee*, etc.  We would like to start promptly at 9 a.m.

Who: Interested adults and teens. Feel free to invite others or bring a friend.  This is an adult event. No child care will be provided.

Leader: Pat Herbst has been a spiritual director for many years and formerly was a pastoral assistant and educator at Assumption B.V.M. parish in Colesville, outside Bethlehem. She’s excellent!

Cost: Asking for donation of $25 per person to cover costs.

For more information contact Bob via email.

Jan
21
2010
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On Haiti

Our kids have directed their Advent collections, a little shy of $50, to Haiti relief through Lutheran World Relief. You can text LWR to 40579 to donate $10 to their efforts. LWR is a great organization that puts all relief donations to work to help people in need.

In the face of such destruction, many people are moved to ask how a loving God can let something like this happen — again and again — to Haiti.  Aside from the theories of Pat Robertson, this is a question that theologians and regular believers struggle with.

Check out this article in Newsweek which asks “If God is good and intervenes in the world, then why does he make innocents suffer? Why, as Job might have said, would God “crush an impoverished people with a tempest and multiply their wounds without cause? He will not let them get their breath.””

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Written by Bob Fisher in: service,spirituality |
Jan
21
2010
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Gifts for the journey

This coming Sunday we’ll meet at 4 pm at Karthaus’.  We’re going to continue our discussion from last week of “Expedition Behavior” or gifts we have been given for our journey of faith.

Last week we talked about these key points:

  • Jesus’ rule of thumb: Do for others what you would have them do for you.
  • Jesus’ promise – this expedition with God requires energy and focus.
  • God gives different gifts to each of us, and then weaves us together in community to create a beautiful whole.
  • God’s gifts are not given as an all-or-nothing thing; we’re all called to embrace what we have, develop our strengths and overcome the hurdles.

Since we’re on an expedition together, we looked at the principles of “Expedition Behavior.” EB means being prepared, on time, organized, flexible and humble; seeing the humor in everything; exercising a tolerance for adversity, uncertainty and discomfort; and putting the needs of the group and others on the same level or above one’s own needs. It’s a tall order but while on expedition it has magical results. (more…)

Written by Bob Fisher in: gatherings,spirituality |
Jan
19
2010
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Expedition behavior

Our gathering Jan. 17 started our conversation about the journey we take together as Christians in community:

12“Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God’s Law and Prophets and this is what you get.

13-14“Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires total attention. (Matt:7:12-14)

Here at the end of his “Sermon on the Mount” – or what Brian McLaren calls his Kingdom Manifesto – Jesus calls his disciples to a challenging journey. Following Jesus is not a show, not a switch we flip on and off, but a journey that we take for our entire lives, in our vigorous, attentive moments and in our weaker, more distracted moments as well.

The best part is that Jesus does not call us to prepare for and walk this journey alone. He’s given us each other to both offer our gifts and to help carry each other when we are not able to walk on our own. (more…)

Written by Bob Fisher in: gatherings,spirituality |
Dec
05
2009
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Advent: sharing our blessings

blue candlesLast week we began our Advent journey by exploring the “good news” that Jesus came to proclaim, the prophecy of Isaiah that he brought to life in front of a hometown crowd:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

We saw that the people of Nazareth found Jesus’ “good news” – God’s favor for the poor, the blind, and the outsiders, not just for them – to be bad news. (Luke 4:14:30, http://bible.oremus.org/?ql=126423915)

We also started a benevolent project, using an Advent Giving Calendar that we distributed. This calendar asks us to look at what we have been blessed with and then respond with a small gift for those who are less fortunate. Together, we’re collecting the coins the calendar asks us to set aside, and after Christmas we will pool the resources and decide on a worthy cause to support.

You can download the calendar here: http://goodrichdesign.net/adventgivingcalendar.htm

Don’t worry if you didn’t start on the first day. Just jump in where you are. You can always catch up if you desire. Whatever you can do is a way to embody Christ’s message and “bring good news to the poor.”

Written by Bob Fisher in: advent,being church,gatherings,lent,service,spirituality |
Nov
22
2009
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Persistent faith

Luke 18:1-8

“Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart.”

Last week’s Kairos explored this parable, in which Jesus calls the disciples to persistent prayer. In this story, Jesus tells of a widow denied justice by a judge. She keeps going back to him, petitioning for justice. Eventually this judge gives her what she asks for. Not because he respects God or wants to do justice, but essentially to get this woman off his back. Jesus caps the story by saying the God, who loves us more than the judge cares for the widow, will be even quicker to respond to our cries for justice.

As we discussed this, several of us admitted to being uncomfortable with badgering God for what we want. One of the group expressed it well: “If I’m resting in my faith that God is supporting me all the time, then continually asking for what I want seems to mock that trust.” Someone else pointed out that the widow is seeking “justice,” not her own advantage; perhaps that is an acceptable thing to ask for.

Another question came up: Does Jesus have a deeper meaning in telling us to “pray always and not lose heart”?  What could he be pointing to? The parable’s example of asking for justice, and our discussion about asking for our needs/wants, are focused on outward circumstances, looking for God’s intervention in our external world. What would it look like if we focused Jesus’ example on our internal reality? (more…)

Written by Bob Fisher in: being church,gatherings,spirituality,worship |
Sep
28
2009
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For us or against us?

Sunday’s and Monday’s readings repeat the story of the unknown follower casting out demons in Jesus’ name, and the disciples attempt to stop him.

Both renderings are very much the same. The disciples come across someone they don’t know using the Master’s name to heal. What would you do in this situation? For the disciples the answer is clear: This fellow isn’t following Jesus with them (and to be fair, they seem to be pretty much alone in this journey, against a lot of powerful opposition), so they try to stop him. They might be thinking this man could be a spy attempting to draw them out and make them know to authorities who could stop them, or they may be afraid that he is using Jesus’ name incorrectly, or maybe their identities as the closest followers of Christ are threatened. But the bottom line is that they make “being one of us” more important than “doing the work of Jesus.”

Read more and join the conversation at Bob’s blog.

Written by Bob Fisher in: being church,spirituality |
Jun
18
2009
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Praying together

Today’s Gospel reading is the story of Jesus teaching his disciples how to pray.

Reading this story again this morning, I was struck by the fact that Jesus is teaching his followers to pray as a community. That’s easy to miss in our highly individualistic culture, where we think about my food, my debts, my God. Jewish culture was communal, and Jesus is teaching the disciples to pray corporately. Listen: “Our Father…” “Give us daily bread…” “Forgive us our debts…” “Rescue us from evil…”

Jesus was, of course, brilliant. This focus gives the prayer the shape of the cross, reaching up to God and down to us, of course, but also opening its arms wide to embrace all of God’s people around us. (more…)

Written by Bob Fisher in: being church,spirituality |
Apr
06
2009
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Palm Sunday: Missing the point

A summary of the message presented on Palm Sunday:

It’s time to celebrate!  Israel has its king!  God has heard our cries!  God is acting to free us from the terrible power of Rome!  All hail, King Jesus!

Right? (more…)

Written by Bob Fisher in: spirituality,worship |
Jan
22
2009
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What piano are you tied to?

This is a recap of the homily/scripture discussion from our Jan. 18 worship service.

So here we have two really interesting texts, but what do they have to do with each other? I think these texts are two aspects of the concept of “call.”  Paul speaks about it theoretically, on an almost cosmic level, in Romans. The calling of Jesus’ first disciples is the down and dirty reality – where the rubber meets the road. (more…)

Written by Bob Fisher in: spirituality,worship |
Jan
20
2009
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Prayer for our new President

O God, stir up your Spirit to inspire, encourage, and sustain President Barack Obama as he assumes leadership of our nation. Grant him the wisdom to address the many challenges facing your world, and the courage to propose bold and difficult solutions. Help him to lead in ways that reflect the responsibility conferred by our nation’s wealth, might and power to shape global culture. Guide him and all of our leaders to fashion a government that works for the well being of all our your people. Use the outpouring of involvement and goodwill among Americans to infuse hope into your people, particularly those who are poor, suffering and marginalized. Amen.

Written by Bob Fisher in: spirituality |
Dec
15
2008
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Be still and know

Our Taize service last night was a wonderful time of waiting and contemplating the gift God gives us in Christ. We prayed. We sang beautiful music. We savored silence. We made room in the inns of our hearts. (more…)

Written by Bob Fisher in: advent,gatherings,spirituality |
Nov
16
2008
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Dec. 14 \\ Taize worship

Advent — the 4 weeks leading up to Christmas — is often a hectic, non-stop time for many of us.  This year, with much uncertainty in the world, is likely to be even more stressful.

Join us for an evening of quiet, contemplative worship on Sunday, Dec. 14 at 6 p.m. at United Friends School (1018 W. Broad Street, Quakertown, PA 18951)  We will focus on song, prayer and scripture after the manner of the Taize community, an ecumenical fellowship in France that draws people (including many young people) from around the world.

This will be a time to de-stress and focus on God, with simple prayer and readings and meditative chant. If you’re frantic from the holiday stress, or if the season leaves you blue or lonely, you may find a space for God to speak to you at this service.

An offering will be taken to benefit the Quakertown Food Pantry.

For information call Bob at 267.234.7262 or 267.377.7192 or email.

Download a flyer here: taize2008

Written by Bob Fisher in: advent,announcements,gatherings,spirituality |
Nov
16
2008
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Spirituality resources

A brief listing of some resources you might find helpful in exploring your spiritual life.

Pray-as-you-go
Prayer/Scripture podcast every M-F, guides you in reflecting on how a text fits with your life.

Sacred space
An online form of Daily Prayer

Missio Dei breviary
Another online Daily Prayer which offers traditional readings and prayers.

Online prayer labyrinth
Explore virtual prayer stations from the comfort of your computer.

Our daily readings discussion
Join us as we discuss the daily Scripture readings as we hear them here and now. If you want to get them via Email, subscribe to both of the lists below.

Written by Bob Fisher in: lent,resources,spirituality |
Nov
16
2008
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Be prepared!

Nov. 16. 2008 \\ On Matthew 25:1-13

This text can seem a bit harsh. Five of the bridesmaids have to go off to find oil, and they’re locked out of the banquet? The bridegroom doesn’t know them?

Though there is a “Left Behind” sense to the text, it is not a threat for people who aren’t ready at the right time and in the right place. Instead, it is an invitation to live in a rhythm that connects with God so that we are always ready. And it is a warning that something is lost if we lost track of relationship with God — not our salvation, but the opportunity to live kingdom moments here and now. (more…)

Written by Bob Fisher in: gatherings,spirituality |
Nov
07
2008
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Oct
16
2008
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October 13, 2008 \\ On Matthew 22:1-14

What’s the most wonderful party or banquet you’ve ever been invited to?

When have you received an invitation to something you just really didn’t want to go to?

What’s the lamest excuse you’ve ever come up with to get out of going to an event you just did not want to go to? (more…)

Written by Bob Fisher in: gatherings,spirituality |
Sep
13
2008
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Sept. 12, 2008 \\ On Luke 5:27-39

These three stories – the calling of Matthew (Levi), the confrontation with the Pharisees, and the teaching about old/new cloth and wineskins – are of a piece. Together they make a point about how radical is the new kingdom Jesus is proclaiming. (more…)

Written by Bob Fisher in: gatherings,spirituality |
Sep
11
2008
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Live. Serve. Grow.

The URL of our website — liveservegrow.info — may not exactly roll of the tips of your typing fingers. You might wonder why we use this address, since it doesn’t point anyone to Christians @ Large directly. Over time, it has become clear to me that this website name describes our approach to the life of faith in a simple trajectory: Live. Serve. Grow. (more…)

Written by Bob Fisher in: announcements,being church,service,spirituality |
Sep
01
2008
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On vocation: More than just a job

At our gathering Friday night we talked about our labor — in our jobs and our callings as Christians. As another Labor Day passes, here are my notes from preparing for our discussion, some food for thought as we gear up for work and school this fall. Peace, Bob:

We tend to think of our calling in occupational terms.

We celebrate the gifts that God has given us and the ways we use them as parents and children, as neighbors and friends, as students and teachers and artists and techies.

Martin Luther affirmed that the work of our daily lives… of changing diapers and herding kids, of writing lesson plans and fixing computers and pushing papers and making copies… is all holy work.

But our true calling is more than what we do. (more…)

Written by Bob Fisher in: gatherings,spirituality |
Feb
06
2008
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Be different this Lent

Reading: Joel 2:12-18

Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing. – Joel 2:13

For a season in my life Lent was about sacrifice: dropping extra change in a collection box or giving up dessert. Later it was about taking on something for God (sometimes another job in the church). This year I hear a more personal call from God, an invitation not to do anything but to be different.

God’s call is intimate. “Rend your hearts and not your clothing,” verse 13 begins. God always looks past the external things we like to show the world (and God), and knows and accepts us as we really are. God’s desire is that we come to know him more fully, not that we look like we’re sacrificing (though the two can go hand-in-hand).

God’s call is also communal. “Gather the people. Sanctify the congregation; assemble the aged; gather the children.” That’s why Christians @ Large will gather this Friday for the imposition of ashes and to be on holy ground with our merciful, loving God who relents from punishing.

Lent (which begins today, Ash Wednesday) has traditionally been a time of spiritual renewal and clarifying our place in God’s story. If you think about a Lenten “discipline,” consider a practice that will change who you are, not just what you do.

  • You could start or recommit to a daily time of reading Scripture and prayer. (The pray-as-you-go podcasts and the daily readings linked from our website at are good places to start.)
  • Try spending more of your prayer time listening to God, and less time talking. Notice what feelings and longings Scripture brings up in you, and let that guide your conversation with God.
  • If you are led to give something up for Lent, consider what changes would be good for you not just for 40 days but as permanent changes, and use the discipline of Lent to help you make your life more sustainable.
  • Pay more attention to what God is doing in and around you. The prophet Joel’s call summons brides and bridegrooms to leave their wedding for the assembly, which simply means that God uses our willingness to pay attention to him to shape our lives.

May this Lent be a time of refreshing our faith, clarifying who we are as people created by God, and renewing our commitment to live in the Way of Jesus.

God’s peace,

Bob

Written by Bob Fisher in: being church,lent,spirituality |
Jan
11
2008
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a starlit darkness

starlit sky

a starlit darkness

exploring faith in the real world

a worship experience for the season after Christmas
from Christians @ Large

 

Sunday, January 20, 2008
3 p.m.

 

United Friends School
1018 W. Broad Street
Quakertown, PA 18951

 

Info:
www.liveservegrow.info
Call Bob @ 267.234.7262

 download a starlit darkness worship flyer (pdf)

 

 

Written by Bob Fisher in: gatherings,spirituality |
Dec
24
2007
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Not just any night…

A Christmas Eve reflection:

This night carries so many memories and feelings.

We remember the excitement of getting and receiving gifts.

We long for the warm fuzzies proclaimed by the greeting cards that somehow don’t match our real lives.

We relish the feelings of joy and wishes for peace that fade after a few days.

But this night is more.

This night is the beginning of … a revolution.

The birth of this child fractures the status quo.

He was born not to bless our ways of doing things but to radically shift them.

It is a revolution that levels playing fields, that fills the hungry and sends the rich away, that makes the last first.

His is a revolution that redirects us from trying to position ourselves for God’s favor and instead calls broken, fragile people like me and you to be his heart and voice and hands and feet right here and now.

His is a revolution that reveals the margins of life as a place where God is powerfully and mercifully active … perhaps, even more so than at what we call the center.

A revolution that embraces the poor, the broken, those who don’t have it all together, and that leads kings and priests to want to stamp it out.

This child loves you so much that empties himself of power and privilege to take on your burdens.

He doesn’t ask for your gold, for your Chanel, for your iPod, for your investments.

He asks for you.

He asks you to redefine your life in the light of that night in a Bethlehem stable — and that Friday on a hill near Jerusalem, and that Sunday morning outside an empty tomb.

The revolution has begun.

Are you in?

Written by Bob Fisher in: Christmas,spirituality |

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