I was reading a garden magazine along side a lectionary text for this week and I just couldn’t help thinking… Practically speaking, we have had an outbreak of dandelion in our neighborhood and I was talking to a neighbor who shared my interest in removing them from our lawns. That was last night. This morning I read a parable about wheat and weeds (Matthew 13:24-30; 36-43) being allowed to grow next to each other because their roots get tangled and you might do damage to the crop by plucking the weeds. Now I have heard a lot of interpretations of this parable over the years. One of the most common is the observation that the weed (the darnel) is very hard to distinguish from wheat when it is young. It is only in maturity when its roots are entangled with the wheat that you can tell the difference. But then it is too late to pull it because it will pull up the wheat as well. O.K., but how does that play with my situation? It is something to chew on. Dandelion, it turns out is also very healthy. This magazine article suggests, “Eat all parts of this pant, including flowers, root, and leaves. One cup of raw greens packs more than 100% of your daily value for vitamin A. Dandelions are also a surprisingly good source of calcium.” Well it doesn’t sound to appetizing to me but it makes me wonder… If there is health in a weed, what does that mean for this parable?
I was reading an article in Kosmos magazine entitled Ecosophy putting the eco-system at the heart of philosophical reflection. Frankly all philosophical systems have their foundation in some centering value, why not care of creation? A quote from the author, Elizabeth Sahtouris is provoking in in the dialogue between science and religion:
“The most exciting and beneficial things I believe happened to humanity in the past century were physicists’ recognition that ‘the universe is more like a great thought than like a great machine’ and astronauts lifting far enough from Earth to see, feel and show us how very much alive our planet is. Those events led to a wonderful sea change from the older—and rather depressing—scientific story of a non-living material universe accidentally giving rise to all within it, devoid of meaning or purpose.”
The photo above is of Ta Prohm Temple, Angkor, Cambodia | photo credit photography | wikipedia commons | phillip maiwald
As we move into the second half of 2014 the Session (our governing board) is aware that the previous visioning process needs to be reviewed. A Mission Study done ten years ago included a mission statement which the Session reviewed last year examining its authenticity for emerging life of the congregation. That Mission Study also included a vision statement that was to blossom by 2015. A lot has changed in 10 years but the Session believed that the Mission Statement was still relevant and the congregation was polled this year in a survey and their is a strong consensus that Central is and should remain committed to being a caring, inquiring, inclusive congregation of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A.
However, we are not the congregation we were 10 years ago and there is significant interest in the leadership and the congregation to engage again in a vision process. Among the issues that need to be addressed are the impact of our building on our ministry, the size of the staff, the direction and focus of ministry, and our relationship with other Presbyterian congregations in Eugene. To that end the Session has appointed three task forces to address the issues of: 1) the usefulness of our building to our ministry including whether we should maintain, renovate, or sell the building: 2) Begin a conversation with other Presbyterian congregations about sharing resources and ministry including mission, worship, and staff and, 3) Appoint a vision team to lead us in a conversation about what should be the focus of our ministry in the years ahead.
Another change is benefiting the life of the church and that is changes in our denominational polity. We are gaining more freedom to structure the life and leadership of our congregation in ways that will be more effective for the size and context of our congregation. With this new flexibility the Session is engaged in a conversation about how we all may be more engaged in ownership of our ministry and decision-making. At the July meeting the Session may adopt some significant changes in both structure and process. I look forward to sharing those with you as the Session discerns the best direction to move ahead.