Ah, a new year and with it the theme for Forest Hill United Church in 2019. This theme has been bubbling under the surface of the work that Ellen and I have been planning but it wasn’t until I listened to an episode of CBC’s, Tapestry, that I had the big ‘Ah Ha’.
As an aside, we are in the season of Epiphany which literally means ‘Ah Ha.’ So the theme is “A Year of Digging Deeper.” (Reactivate Your Spirituality). As I said, it came to me listening to the discussion that the host of Tapestry, Mary Hind, had with a blogger by the name of Dan Cain. Cain said that he has a guitar, a pile of books on speaking French and a number of oil paints and other art supplies in his house but in each case they are gathering dust.
He thought that if he were in prison and didn’t have access to anything other than what he already had, he would be a good guitar player who speaks French and has time to paint as well. Hind asked him what stops us from using the things we already have? Cain guessed that it is an addiction to novelty. He said, “it’s like we have a sweet tooth for novelty.” So he, in an off-handed way, blogged that maybe we need to do a “depth Year.” A year that people would go deeper not wider. The response for those who read his blog was immediate and excited. “I’m in” one of his readers exclaimed and then she detailed what she was going to do.
When Ellen and I thought about her new study starting Wednesday, January 16th at 7:14 pm, based on the book “We Make the Road by Walking” by Brian McLaren, the pieces really dropped into place.
“He said, “it’s like we have a sweet tooth for novelty.”
What stops us from having a deep and rich spirituality? The reasons range from fear that we don’t know enough; that we are lacking in our Bible knowledge or prayer life; or that the way spirituality has been offered just doesn’t work for many. Yet all the roadways past all these stumbling blocks are already in our house. It just means taking the opportunity to focus in on the gifts to which we already have access. It is a challenge to try and stop ourselves from buying new things or if we do buy something new, to commit to fully exploring that new thing so it doesn’t gather dust in the corner. I would ask you to think about what one or two things you want to focus in on in the next year?
Many of us have a stack of books not read, an instrument not played, a spiritual curiosity not pursued. Think about the pleasure that comes when you conquer what you have right now!
For example you not only get to enjoy the books you have but you get to see that pile of the ‘left undone’ being reduced. In effect the challenge is to replace the sweet tooth of buying new with the sweet tooth of going deeper.
Ellen will have the book study. I’ll be scheduling a time for folks to gather for coffee, conversation and support in how we might ‘go deep not wide.’ And in all things that’s what we will encourage the leadership at FHUC to be doing in 2019.