Some of the groups use the following as a litany to open each meeting.
Our lives are filled with so many challenges, struggles and hurts. They make it hard to be the free people God longs for us to be. What makes it even harder is that we are isolated we feel disconnected from others and find it hard to trust each other.
We believe that new ways are possible. We know that when people come together, new things can happen. One amazing example is Alcoholics Anonymous, which 70 years ago no one knew about. Now the 12 step program is practiced around the world and has saved millions of lives. This gives us hope. Maybe there can be a group that meets for support and prayer that can help all of us deal with what life brings our way, a group that helps us all to grow more free to become the people God wants us to be. Maybe this can save our lives.
Our desire is to be a group that claims our birthright as children of God. We will take into our hearts a deeper understanding that each of our lives is a blessing needed by the community and the world.
OUR HIGHER POWER IS JESUS CHRIST
Jesus loves all people. He challenged the oppressive systems of his time. Our desire is to follow his way of love in our time, in our lives. Our world says that we are not supposed to care about and love people who are different from us. Our world tells us not to be friends with or to love people of different races and backgrounds. Our world says our worth is measured by what we own, how much money we have, who our friends are and what we look like. We believe these worldly assumptions are lies, and we desire to break down these walls of hatred, mistrust and isolation, and to become the free people God created us to be.
AN AFFIRMATION or BELONGING
Having been called out of the world’s systems into God’s system:
- we recognize the injustice of the world’s systems; we recognize our addiction to these systems
- we recognize our helplessness to break our addiction and to heal ourselves
- we cry out for a Saviour and a community of support
- we commit ourselves to becoming recovering cultural addicts
- we will give pioneering servant leadership in every dimension of Christ’s call on our lives.
The following statement of commitment has been used for many years in The Church of the Savior churches. It is a standard that we still strive to embrace and practice in community.
- I come today to join a local expression of the church, which is the body of those on whom the call of God rests to witness to the grace and truth of God.
- I recognize that the function of the church is to glorify God in adoration and sacrificial service, and to be God’s missionary to the world, bearing witness to God’s redeeming grace in Jesus Christ.
- I believe as did Peter that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.
- I unreservedly and with abandon commit my life and destiny to Christ, promising to give him a practical priority in all the affairs of life. I will seek first the kingdom of God and God’s righteousness.
- I commit myself, regardless of the expenditures of time, energy and money to becoming an informed, mature Christian.
- I believe that God is the total owner of my life and resources. I give God the throne in relation to the material aspect of my life. God is the owner. I am the ower. Because God is a lavish giver, I too shall be lavish and cheerful in my regular gifts.
- Realizing that Jesus taught and exemplified a life of love, I will seek to be loving in all relations with other individuals, groups, classes, races and nations, and will seek to be a reconciler, living in a manner which will end all war, personal and public.
- I will seek to bring every phase of my life under the lordship of Christ.
- When I move from this place I will join some other expression of the Christian church.
Reading together about spiritual and cultural subjects will enrich a group seeking to be in authentic community. Following are some of the resources we have found helpful in our own explorations.
- The Dream of God by Verna Dozier
- The ‘Givens’ of an Authentic Church, sermon by Gordon Cosby
- Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
- A Possible New Form of Church, sermon by Gordon Cosby
- What on Earth is a Kingdom of God? by David Buttrick
FACING OUR CULTURAL ADDICTIONS
- Breaking the Taboo: Talking About Faith and Money in the Church by John Sonnenday
- The Other Side of Sin, ed. by Andrew Sung Park & Susan L. Nelson [In particular see chap. 5 ,
Beyond the “Addict’s Excuse”‘ by Ched Myers
- Pathologies of Power by Paul Farmer
- Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger by Ron Sider
- When Society Becomes an Addict by Anne Wilson Schaef
JESUS AND JUSTICE
- The Biblical Jubilee and the Struggle for Life by Ross Kinsler and Gloria Kinsler
- The Biblical Vision of Sabbath Economics by Ched Myers
- Cadences of Home: Preaching Among Exiles by Walter Brueggemann
- Good News to the Poor by Theodore Jennings, Jr.
- Jesus’ Plan for a New World by Richard Rohr
- Jesus the Rebel by John Dear
LOVE AND MERCY IN COMMUNITY
- The Art of Spiritual Direction: Giving and Receiving Spiritual Guidance by W. Paul Jones
- Awakening from the Sleep of Inhumanity by Jon Sobrino
- Becoming Human by Jean Vanier
- Community and Growth by Jean Vanier
- Life of the Beloved by Henri Nouwen
- Love Set Free by Martin Smith (out of print; check used bookstores or internet sources)
- Centering Prayer by Basil Pennington
- Invitation to Love by Thomas Keating
- Open Mind, Open Heart by Thomas Keating
- The Power of Now by Eckart Tolle
- The Way of Love by Anthony DeMello
STAYING TRUE TO THE ESSENCE
- The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard
- Living in the Vision of God by Dallas Willard
- Radical Newness: the Essence of Being Church by Gordon Cosby and Kayla McClurg
- Reluctant Saint: the Life of Francis of Assisi by Donald Spoto
- Saving Jesus From Those Who Are Right by Carter Heyward
TELL US OF OTHER TITLES IN THESE SUBJECT AREAS THAT HAVE BEEN HELPFUL to YOU.
The checked titles are available from Tell the Word or Potter’s House Book service. Others are available from any book supplier. We appreciate your support of the Potter’s House Bookservice at (202) 232‑5483 or www.pottershousebooks.org.