New Beginnings

Look With New Perspectives

    Yesterday we viewed, the movie Dark Waters, and read Sacrament by Olaf Olasson, dealing with the evil that pervades our large institutions–the Church (all institutional churches) and large industries, in this instance DuPont. 

    They both are the stories as old as time, of the evil that humans are capable of, as we see in the story of the Tower of Babel in the book of Genesis.

    We who follow Jesus struggle with our own need to be loved, and to be provided for, and those needs are often taken advantage of.

    And so in seeking to meet those needs we must be aware of the evil that manipulates , and pervades our lives.

    We must be aware there are no black and white solutions, but only the teaching of Jesus to “Love one another,” and it is in that teaching that Brian McLaren writes of our need to think in terms of working from the bottom up, following the tradition of Jesus, and individuals like Dorothy Day, and Peter Mauren:

Brian writes:

More and more of us are hoping, praying, and dedicating ourselves to a [new] form of Christianity. This new kind of Christianity can only emerge as a trans-denominational movement of contemplative spiritual activism. . . .

This emerging or emergence Christianity . . . will be decentralized and diverse rather than centralized and uniform. In other words, it will have the shape of a movement rather than an institution. It will be drawn together . . . by internal unity of way of life, mission, practices, and vision for the common good. . . .

Instead of hoarding and centralizing resources like expertise, education, mentoring, and authority, we need to multiply them and democratize them.

This, of course, was Jesus’ original approach. He never announced to his disciples: “Hey folks, we’re going to start a new, centralized, institutional religion and name it after me.” Instead, he played the role of a nonviolent leader and launched his movement with the classic words of movement, “Follow me” (see Matthew 4:19, for example). He used his power to empower others. He did great things to inspire his followers to do even greater things [see John 14:12-14]. Rather than demand uniformity, he reminded his disciples that he had “sheep of other folds” (John 10:16). . . . He recruited diverse disciples who learned—by heart—his core vision and way of life. Then he sent these disciples out as apostles to teach and multiply his vision and way of life among “all the nations” (Matthew 28:19).

As he repeatedly explained, the dangerous, turbulent, uncertain times, together with the failure of existing institutions, made this strategy essential: “The time is ripe,” he said (Luke 10:2, slightly paraphrased), “and we need more laborers.” (This pattern of multiplying leader/teacher/practitioners is exactly the pattern we find, not only with Jesus in the Gospels, but also with Paul throughout the New Testament, in places like 2 Timothy 2:2 and 1 Corinthians 11:1.) . . .

In dangerous times like these, . . . we have to produce generations of dedicated, courageous, and creative contemplative activists who will join God to bring radical healing and change to this damaged world, before it’s too late.

We need this movement—not someday, maybe, but right now, definitely.


Gateway to Presence:
If you want to go deeper with today’s meditation, take note of what word or phrase stands out to you. Come back to that word or phrase throughout the day, being present to its impact and invitation.

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Fr. River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164


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