Beloved Community

Two posts in one night, so clearly you won’t hear from me again for months. This is the same as the last one, just a different topic. I could have combined the two, but that would have been incredibly long and you may not want to know what I think of both, so you want to skip one. This makes skipping easier, you’re welcome.

The second topic I am supposed to be commenting on is what do I think “Beloved Community” looks like.

The first thing I thought of when I saw this question was Baptist Student Union during my undergraduate career. There was and still is I would say, no where else I felt more safe and at home (then at home, of course, but I don’t think that counts). This was where I first really gave the notion of a call to ministry serious consideration. This is where I was mentored, and encouraged as I discerned that call. It was where I met some of my best friends. They were the people I shared my life with for three years. I transitioned with BSU as an individual and as part of the organization. I went through the growing pains of college as a student, and I went through the growing pains of a leader in a transitioning organization. They were there for me for the mountain tops and valleys, the late night cookout runs, and the early morning breakfasts. They were my support and stability in a time when life so easily becomes unstable. I can honestly say that without a few key people at BSU, I would not have stayed in college.

So after that, I again, went to the theme passage. Colossians 3:12, 14 (NRSV):
As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience…14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

So what does this mean? This, like a lot of things in the Bible, reminds me of the greatest commandment. Love is the greatest commandment. It bears all, believes all, hopes all, and endures all. Without it, there is not much, if anything left. Same here. Without love, you cannot be compassionate, kind, humble, meek, or patient. It’s not possible. Without love, you cannot be genuinely concerned for another person. Without love, you cannot be kind and good. Without love you cannot be modest in your view of yourself. Without love you cannot be gentle. Without love you cannot tolerate a difference in someone or something else.

You also can’t learn and develop these traits on your own. You cannot love by yourself, not well. You cannot be compassionate without having someone to show compassion to. You cannot be patient, unless you have someone testing your patience.

So what does a beloved community look like to me?
A group of people, that not only gives you the opportunity to learn true compassion, kindness, and patience but also gives you the opportunity to make and watch love become an action.

So again, what do you think a beloved community looks like?

-S

Transformed into New Life

I meant to do this weeks ago… so obviously I started at the last second. Go figure.

This weekend I am going to a conference in which I will be helping with a video. In the video they want me to briefly say what I think the word “Transformation” means to me. So, I’ve been thinking about it, but for some reason I can’t think of what I think of the word. So naturally, I went to google. Google said transformation is “a complete or major change in someone’s or something’s appearance, form, etc…” Which, that makes sense. I can back that definition. But what does that mean to me?

So then I went to the theme verse for our conference. Romans 12:1-2 (NRSV):
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Right. obviously I can back that verse. But what does that mean to me? So then, I started thinking of transformations I had seen. The Biggest Loser transforms peoples bodies and lifestyles. Butterflies are transformed from caterpillars who crawl on their bellies to beautiful creatures who fly and would never dream of crawling on the ground.

So what do these things have in common? They are both losing or gaining something. They are both in essence, just as they were before. But there is a drastic difference in which they would never dream of going back to the way things were. The man or woman how loses hundreds of pounds on The Biggest Loser would never dream of going back to the unhealthy, potentially harmful life they once lived. They are still themselves, they are just different healthier. The butterfly is still a caterpillar in body, they are just capable of something they were never capable of before.

You and I as humans are just that-humans. From the day we are born until the day we die, we never stop being human. Humans were made by God, and for God. When we know who Christ, we are still humans – made by God, for God. But we are a different human. Not better, but different. We are forever changed. To truly be transformed means never going back to where you were. Transformation is the process of making a permanent, complete change.

The butterfly remembers being a caterpillar, but it would never dream or desire to become a caterpillar again. The weight loss champion remembers being extremely overweight, but they would never desire to be that unhealthy again. By allowing our minds, bodies, souls, and hearts to be transformed by the Word of God, we are allowing ourselves to do things we were never capable of doing before.

So what does Transformation mean to me?
By being transformed we are allowing ourselves to become someone and do something we would previously never have been able to do. We are remaining ourselves, but allowing God to completely and permanently change us for the better.

What are your thoughts on the word Transformation?

-S