Prayer, Bono. and You Too!

“You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might pray also in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance. For what is prayer but the expansion of yourself into the living ether?” ~Kahlil Gibran

A Whim or a Prayer?
By Ian Lawton

I’ve been thinking a lot about prayer. Whatever prayer is for me, it can no longer be God’s “to do” list. Its been a long time since I thought God was an active agent in the universe in the sense of changing the course of history or altering my life from above. At the same time, I have never stopped praying. So what do I mean when I say “pray”?

I always liked the story about the Civil Rights protesters who felt that when they were marching, “their legs were praying”. So, it seems very cool that Bono can share his vision for a changed world at a national prayer breakfast with the President. That’s one way to get results; get onto the President’s “to do” list.

Then again, thats Bono! Most of us have less powerful audiences than that. So what is prayer for us commoners?

Well, I could list all sorts of intellectual possibiilties. I could parallel prayer with meditation. I could take a horizontal perspective where prayer is the passing of energy from one being to others.

However, rather than talk ABOUT prayer, maybe its most helpful to just PRAY with you here online. This is the prayer we used on Sunday morning at church. Maybe it will touch something inside you, or motivate you in some new way. If that were the case, my prayer would be answered.

Let peace and justice be our constant and lived prayer…

We quiet our minds and spirits and listen for the sounds of community,
All we hear is breath, and the sound of pretence dropping all around us.
We are amongst friends and fellow journeyers.
There is nothing to prove and there is nothing to fear.

We connect our stories with the stories of others and with the story of our traditions.

We remember with gratitude those who have inspired us to greater and fuller humanity.

We honor with admiration Bishop and Christine Spong as they bring to us a message of more deeply engaging all that we can be. This is a message that they live and breathe and have in their being.

We call to mind the words of Joseph Campbell, “to follow our bliss”, knowing that when we follow our bliss we put ourselves on a track that has been there all the while, waiting for us, and the life that we ought to be living is the one we are living.

We quiet our minds and spirits and listen for the sounds of community,
All we hear is breath, and the sound of pretence dropping all around us.
We are amongst friends and fellow journeyers.
There is nothing to prove and there is nothing to fear.

We honor the Ground of Being. We claim the power of the present moment, that perfect teacher who is always with us.

With snow lightly falling, and puddles of sunshine breaking through clouds,
With tender moments of hand touching hand and words of encouragement that pierce the bleakest winter,
With random acts of kindness and the gift of lives shared,
We know that there is sufficient sacredness, mystery, wonder and reverance in this present moment to fill our spirits to overflowing.

We quiet our minds and spirits and listen for the sounds of community,
All we hear is breath, and the sound of pretence dropping all around us.
We are amongst friends and fellow journeyers.
There is nothing to prove and there is nothing to fear.

We send out good thoughts and peaceful wishes to the four corners of the earth and join our thoughts with the Source of Life.

To the south we send love
to the north we send mercy
to the east we send peace
to the west we send joy

Into every troubled heart, into every unjust structure, into every aching tragedy, we send our loving energy, thinking particularly of the war ravaged Middle East and the Philippines town swallowed by a mudslide.

We quiet our minds and spirits and listen for the sounds of community,
All we hear is breath, and the sound of pretence dropping all around us.
We are amongst friends and fellow journeyers.
There is nothing to prove and there is nothing to fear

We pray in the name of the Source of Life and Love, the Ground of Being, the God within, between and beyond.

Let peace and justice be our constant and lived prayer.

Listen to Bono’s Inspirational Address at the National Prayer Breakfast

If you enjoyed Ian’s recent sermon on the separation of church and state then you will see a connection in this address by Bono at the National Prayer Breakfast at the White House.

Bono also explores his approach to religion, ways he sees the interaction of religion and politics, and the social issues of our day, especially AIDS and global poverty. You will not want to miss this inspiring address which you can read in entirety, or can listen to, by following the link below. Here is a brief excerpt:

“I’d like to talk about the — the laws of man, here in this city, where those laws are written. I’d like to talk about higher laws. It would be great to assume that once there’s the other, that the laws of man serve these higher laws, but, of course, they don’t always. I presume that, in a way, is why you’re all here. I presume the reason for this gathering is that all of us are here — Muslims, Jews, Christians — are all searching our souls for how to better serve our family, our community, our nation, our God. And some of us are not very good examples, despite what Norm [Coleman] says.

I am certainly searching, and that, I suppose, is what led me here. Yes, it is odd, having a rock star at the breakfast. But maybe it’s odder for me than for you, because, you see, I’ve avoided religious people most of my life. Maybe it’s something to do with having a father who was a Protestant and a mother who was a Catholic in a country where the line between the two was, quite literally, often a battle line; where the line between Church and State was, at the very least, a little blurry and hard to see.”

Audio and text of Bono at National Prayer Breakfast

Don’t Miss the Mardi Gras Celebration this Sunday!

Mardi Gras is a time to celebrate humanity, in all our beauty and diversity. It is a party time where we let our hair down before the more reflective season of Lent.

Join us for one gathering at 9:30, which will be a family-friendly, rollicking festivity. The Weideman Family Band will be back again this year to sing some festive tunes. The youth dancers have prepared a special routine for the celebration.

Come wearing your brightest, boldest clothing and hairstyles, and be ready to join in the fun.

Annual congregational meeting following the morning gathering.

Check Out the Bulletin for This Sunday and the Bulletin Archive!

The C3 Bulletin Archive has turned into a great resource center for other progressive communities around the world. Check out our Bulletin Archive for more progressive Christian liturgies today!

May we join together as one community across divides of geography and time to be united and inspired by these gathering words:

There is a time for everything and a season for all activities under the sun. Now is the time to unleash our unbridled delight in nature, in human companionship, and in life’s adventures. Soon there will be time for reflection, for soul searching and for hard questions.

Yet for now we let our hair down. We unleash this great celebration of joy and dance. Our joining together today beckons love out of the closet in all of its diverse expressions. Our gathering affirms that light always outshines darkness and gloom.

Click Here for Bulletins

Making Peace with Easter at C3/CCC

Easter can be a wonderful opportunity for progressive Christians to renew their spirituality. As we explore new and expansive understandings of the Christian faith, we struggle to reconcile our deep previously held beliefs. As we wrestle with old ways of thinking we seek to experience our faith as it both includes and transcends these older beliefs. This struggle is never more evident than at Easter time, where we move through a season traditionally spotted with sin, penitence, and bodily resurrections.

As we did in Advent, this Lent we will honor the vast range of interpretations of the life and death of Jesus. We will begin with our view of sin on Ash Wednesday and evolve through Lent culminating on Easter Day with a celebration of the experience of resurrection which is all around us and is ever-present. Join us during this transformative season.

Ash Wednesday
Gathering at 7:30 p.m.
March 1- “Unoriginal Sin” Ian Lawton Speaking

Lent 1 & 2: A Pre-Critical Approach
March 5- “The Crucified God: Jesus and Personal Liberation” Ian Lawton Speaking
March 12- “The Crucified God: Jesus and Social Liberation” Ian Lawton Speaking

Lent 3 & 4: A Critical Approach
March 19- “Jesus the Religious Skeptic” Ian Lawton Speaking
March 26- “Jesus the Social Revolutionary” Ian Lawton Speaking

Lent 5 & 6: A Post-Critical Approach
April 2- “Who Do You Say That I Am: A Jesus Retrospective” Bob Kleinheksel Speaking
April 9- Palm Sunday- “Triumphant Entry, Triumphant Awakening” David Beighley Speaking

Easter Celebration: A Progressive Approach
April 16- Easter Sunday- “The Cosmic Christ is Risen in Us Today” Ian Lawton Speaking

Don’t Miss ‘Resurrected’ Premiere March 24

In May of 1996, Grand Rapids based rock band The Verve Pipe released Villains, their first album on the RCA Records Label. Thanks to the multi-format success of their single The Freshman, the CD went on to sell over a million copies in the U.S. After a hugely successful World Tour, 4 top ten singles, a number one hit, and multiple television appearances on shows such as The Late Show with David Letterman and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Verve Pipe seemingly disappeared. The details surrounding the band’s fall from commercial grace have been largely unheard… until now.

Former Bassist Brad Vander Ark presents Resurrected, a documentary featuring his previously untold perspective regarding the problems that led to The Verve Pipe losing favor with, and eventually being released from, their contract with RCA.

The film begins where Villains ended, and through interviews with Brad and brother and lead singer Brian Vander Ark, traces the inside story of the events which occurred that forced their second RCA release to be delayed – with songwriting arguments, recording delays, and political wrangling being among the predominant themes.

Also documented is Brad’s move to New York City in the summer of 1999, his collaborations with artists there, including Craig Wedren, former lead singer of Shudder To Think, and composer of film scores for such financially and critically successful films as School of Rock, High Art, and Wet Hot American Summer.

And finally, to the present, a time when Brad and the other band members have moved on from the corporate rock world, and back to simpler creative times. And thus, Brad’s ‘resurrection’, in which he has found that artistic success is measured not only by record sales and hit songs, but also by the ever-present need for an artist to simply create without the boundaries set forth by other musicians, managers, or record companies. This transition happens organically, and almost unconsciously, and is relatable to all of us, artist or not, in work as well as in life.

We are thrilled to have Brad and his artistic expression shine throughout the ministry he does here at C3/CCC.

A sneak preview of the film will be shown at C3 on March 24th, 2006 at 7:30 p.m. Cost of admission is $10.00.
The event will include an introduction by Brad Vander Ark, followed by a showing of the film, and a live performance by Brian Vander Ark. The documentary with bonus features and artwork will be available for purchase of $15.00.

Following the premiere join us for an after party at Old Boys Brewhouse.

Donate to C3/CCC with Meijer Community Rewards

Shop at Meijer and earn money for Christ Community Church. Meijer Community Rewards program donates up to 4% of purchases to the organization of your choice. Sign up is easy! Pick up an application at your local Meijer store, at the Growing Place at C3/CCC, or you can sign up online by following the link below. You will receive your Meijer Rewards Card in the mail within two weeks and then just swipe your card at the check out. It is that easy! You can have your contribution split among multiple organizations, so if you already have an account, please add Christ Community Church (organization # 533101) to your account today!

Meijer Community Rewards

Don’t Miss The I-WET in Chicago!

Experience the power of integral thought and practice first-hand! Join the folks of Ken Wilber’s Integral Institute for a two-day immersion into the next wave of human evolution — and discover a compelling new approach to personal growth.

A team of ILP experts from Integral Institute will lead the Integral WET weekends, two powerful days of presentation, participation and media, facilitated with both individual and group processes. You’ll be introduced to the foundations of Integral Life Practice (ILP), and learn through direct, engaged experience the principles for carrying your practice forward. You’ll also connect with local practitioners in your area who are committed to this emergent approach to human transformation.

If you would be interested in attending the I-WET in Chicago March 25-26 with a group from C3/CCC please contact Allison Rockey for more information.

“Call Me Malcolm” Movie Premiere

Don’t miss “Call Me Malcolm”, a documentary feature about a transgender seminary student, and his struggle with faith, love and gender identity.

Sunday, February 26, 2006 at 5:00 p.m.

At Extended Grace: 17234 Robbins Rd. Grand Haven (behind Pizza Hut)

This event is Free!

Michigan Premiere with refreshments to follow and an interactive discussion with Joseph Parlagreco, producer.

Join us March 12th for a Presentation by ANSWER

Sunday March 12th come check out the presentation of ANSWER’s (American Nepali Students & Women Education Relief) Display of Needy Children in Nepal in the Narthex, between and after the services.

These students are currently enrolled in schools in Nepal, but are in need of sponsors to continue their studies. Unlike many such programs, these children have been selectively screened from destitute, low caste families and are enrolled on college prep pathways in excellent native schools, taught in English, and with a high success rate. Besides being tax-deductible, the administration is self-supporting, so that all of your donation goes towards the child’s education which costs just 50-60 cents a day. Letters to the children will be going out soon, so now is the perfect time to begin a sponsorship and your correspondence.

Also check out two powerful, short films smuggled out of Nepal and Two young, local filmmakers just back from Nepal after the 9:30 a.m. gathering.

One film is a local award winner; the other is still in production. Tulsi Bhandari and David Ruck will answer questions about the civil war and their recent experiences there. Unbeknownst to most, this war is now 10 years in the running, the bloodiest war in Asia, and one of the most complex and enigmatic political fronts anywhere. What is at stake?: Nepal is a 500 mile buffer state between the two most populous, and rapidly developing nations in the world. Paradoxically, China has now supplanted the USA in arming the King’s forces against the Maoist insurgents! Please come and gain the insights of these two daring young men.

Explore Your Options to Donate to C3/CCC

We now have two options for online giving.

The Network For Good is a secure online donations collection website for non profit organizations. Through the Network for Good you will have the option of either making a one time donation or signing up for automatic monthly recurring donations. You must be a U.S. resident to donate through the Network for Good.

Donations can also be made now through Paypal. By accessing the support c3 page on our website you can make a one time donation, or a recurring donation of $10 through Paypal. You do not have to have or create a Paypal account to use this service. Paypal accepts International payments.

As explored in our recent community financial meeting donating through The Network for Good or Paypal is more efficient than using the merchant account that Christ Community Church has set up. With both The Network for Good and Paypal there is no flat service fees. Both services retain 3% of the donation amount to cover their processing fees.

You will need to enter your own information into either Paypal or The Network For Good we cannot transfer that information for you. If you would like to stop into the church office we will be happy to assist you.

Donations made to Christ Community Church are tax deductible. Please consult your tax advisor if you have any questions.

We cannot thank you enough for your support of Christ Community Church.

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