Early last Sunday morning, I quietly crept into our living room at 5:30am, with a coffee, fuzzy slippers, and a book I wanted to read. Well, truthfully, it was a book I also needed to read. It had been loaned to me by Mthr Jennifer, and it was one of the primary books we are using for the “Curry on Christ” Bible study/discussion group that is happening on Tuesday nights at the church.Bishop Michael Curry. I had read some of Curry’s earlier work and knew of him through my work on the Diocese, but hadn’t yet read this book, a thoughtful, funny, upbeat, and immensely readable reflection on the power of love. Often my habit when reading is to take a picture on my phone of any page where I encounter a good passage or reference. This is fine for a solitary quotation here or there that I can later copy into a journal. But if there’s a lot of good material, I might instead photocopy pages and interleave them into said journal. But on that Sunday morning, as I was curled up under a cozy blanket with a perfect cup of java and the house blissfully still and quiet in predawn darkness, there was no way I was leaving my comfortable nest and traipsing down to our basement home office to photocopy pages. So, instead I just kept snapping pictures of noteworthy passages. Two hours later I had finished the book and accumulated 57 pictures on my phone. Later that day I put Love is the Way on my Christmas wish list.My turn to lead the group was coming up, and I had been procrastinating on doing my homework. The book was Love is the Way: Holding on to Hope in Troubling Times by
Here’s one of the first pics I took. I have highlighted the passages that caught my eye at the time. I think you might like them, too.
For the last three weeks, a small group of us have been meeting weekly at the church to read some of what Bishop Curry has written, to connect it to Scripture and to the world today, and to share what we think about it.I confess it’s been a small group, because honestly the turn out hasn’t been great. Maybe we didn’t advertise it well enough. Maybe it’s a bad time of year when it gets dark earlier, and the nights feel cold. Like my lazy self not wanting to get up and photocopy pages last Sunday morning, sometimes on a Tuesday night I wish I could stay home and not have to go out for a “church thing.” (And I am part of the team that put this together!) But when I get there, I am so glad I did!
The conversation has been so nourishing, and everyone has such insights based on their own learning and lived experiences as Christians.Each session is a stand-alone topic built around a keyword from Curry’s sermons and Christ’s own call to us. First, it was the command to “come.” Then, “love.” And last week, “trust.”
This week, we’re looking at “nourish.” How do you feed your own soul these days? How do you strengthen yourself and others to see the world with loving, trusting eyes when there is so much that challenges and discourages that hope? How do we find the courage and energy to “put ourselves out there [as Christians] with all the vulnerability that requires”?Bishop Robert Wright, and it focusses on adaptive leadership as exemplified by Christ’s own three years of public ministry. He writes:I encourage you to come out next Tuesday (7:30pm) and I heartily thank those who have committed so far to joining this conversation. It has been really encouraging to me personally, and I am looking forward to leading this upcoming session. I promise you I won’t make you look at all 57 pictures, but we will read a bit, and talk a lot, and listen to some music, maybe. Bishop Curry has another little book you might like called Following the Way of Jesus. It’s a series of essays and reflections by Curry and others, as part of the “Church’s Teachings in a Changing World” series. It sounds heavy but it’s not. One of the reflections is by TEC
“Perhaps the most life-giving aspect of Jesus’s leadership behaviour is this: there is no failure, only learning. The leadership activity of Jesus is entirely experimental. You see it in Jesus’s sending out of his disciples and Paul’s pin-balling missionary endeavors.”
Elsewhere the author remarks that Jesus “is a non-credentialed son of a day labourer. His followers have no experience at community-organizing and public speaking.” And yet, Jesus commanded those followers to come, to love, and to trust. I note that he didn’t command them to do it perfectly, and he didn’t necessarily even expect that they would. Indeed, the fact is a few of them made a real mess of it.
I find that empowering and freeing, both as an Adult Christian Education leader and as a learner. And I hope to see you Tuesday, so we can talk about it more.Prayer: “I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” – Ephesians 3:17-19