#TheLentProject

The Lent Project Week 6: Majority World Diet

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Week 6: The Majority World Diet

We are accustomed to eating large quantities of food often and in great variety. The simplicity and small quantity of our food choices during this week's Majority World Diet remind us of the abundance that we live in on a daily basis. During this week we encourage you to pray for those around the world who regularly eat these simple meals or don’t have sufficient access to basic food and water.

During this week, we invite you to:

(1) From Tuesday through Saturday, eat a diet of rice, beans, and oats (ingredients and instructions here: Majority World Diet 2015).

(2) Guided by the provided prayer prompts and the promptings of the Spirit, pray regularly for those around the Bay Area and around the world with insufficient access to basic nutrition.

(3) Catalog your journey using #TheLentProject hashtag.

The Prayer of Examen (An Open Door Adaptation)

About the Prayer of Examen 4.2.7The Prayer of Examen is a daily spiritual exercise typically credited to St. Ignatius of Loyola [1491-1556], who encouraged fellow followers to engage in the practice for developing a deeper level of spiritual sensitivity and for recognizing and receiving the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.

At the heart of the practice is increasingly becoming aware of God’s presence and the Holy Spirit’s movement throughout your day.

Practicing the Prayer of Examen

The Prayer of Examen is primarily an exercise in remembering. One is invited, through four movements [presence, gratitude, review, and response], to concentrate on experiences and encounters from the past 24 hours. The beauty of the practice is its simplicity; it is more a guide than a prescription. If some portion feels especially important on a given day, feel the freedom to spend all or most of your time in that portion. The purpose is to increase awareness and sensitivity, not to finish or accomplish a task.

For this practice, a comfortable and relatively quiet location is likely most conducive for reflecting. The experience doesn’t need to be a certain length—as little as ten minutes could be sufficient, and you could spend more time on certain portions compared to others.

It might be helpful to journal your thoughts and recollections or to write out what you notice during your times of prayer.

Consider sharing your experiences: allow encouragement and insight from others to influence you and cheer you on, and when appropriate give the same, together striving to be an ever-faithful “community of contemplatives.”

Presence

Begin this practice by recognizing the presence of God. Remind yourself of God’s presence with you and His desire to be with you. Consider praying for the Holy Spirit to help you be attentive to God’s presence. To become more focused, it might be helpful to repeat a simple phrase during this time, like “Be still and know that I am God” [Psalm 46:10].

It’s important to begin this practice in a calm and centered state. There may be days when you’ll need the entire time to remember and focus on the nearness of God. Don’t rush past this portion. Take the necessary time to wait and find comfort in God’s presence.

“Gracious God, in these moments please remind me of your presence and generosity, and give me the wisdom and courage to live gracefully with myself, others, and the world you have wonderfully made. For the sake of Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. Amen.”

 

Take some time and focus on the nearness of God. Open yourself to His presence.

“The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” [Psalm 145:18]

“The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. All you have made will praise you, O Lord; your saints will extol you.” [Psalm 145:9]

Gratitude

“If the only prayer you say in your entire life is ‘Thank You,’: wrote Meister Eckhart, “that would suffice.” (Palmer, A Hidden Wholeness). As you think about the past 24 hours, what causes you to be thankful? Look back over the past day, the big and small aspects of life, and recognize what reasons you have to be grateful. Focus on these experiences and encounters, helping your mind and spirit center on the goodness and generosity of God.

If you’re using a journal, consider capturing your thanks in writing, expressing words of gratitude and giving testimony to God’s generosity and faithfulness. Find encouragement and reminders of God’s goodness, and be thankful.

Looking back over the past 24 hours, for what are you most grateful? What makes you feel thankful? Using simple words, express your gratitude to God.

“Praise be to the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens.” [Ephesians 1:3]

Review

Over-packed lives can rob us of the opportunity to learn from the past, to see how yesterday might inform today. “Where did the time go?!” we ask ourselves, often struggling to remember what we did just a week ago. Here we can benefit again from taking time to look back over the past 24 hours. By intentionally reviewing our interactions, responses, feelings and intentions, we can avoid letting days speed by. We can pause to learn more about ourselves and about God’s activity in our lives.

Try to look back objectively as you review. Rather than interpreting, justifying, or rationalizing, the intent is to observe and remember. Allow your mind to wander the situations you’ve been in and to notice details. The questions in this exercise should help you bring specific experiences to mind.

When or where in the past 24 hours were you cooperating most fully with God’s action in your life? When were you resisting? What habits and life patterns do you notice from the past day?

“Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul...Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.” [Psalm 143:8b,10]

Response

Having spent time remembering, it seems natural to want to respond in some way. Take time to journal or pray, expressing your thoughts on the actions, attitudes, feelings, and interactions you’ve remembered as a part of this exercise. You might need to seek forgiveness, ask for direction, share a concern, express gratitude, or resolve to make changes and move forward. Allow your observations to guide your responses.

Beginning today, how do you want to live your life differently? What patterns do you want to keep living tomorrow?

“Ever-present Father, help me to meet you in the Scriptures I read and the prayers I say; in the bread I break and the meals I share; in my investments at work and my enjoyments at play; and in the neighbors and family I welcome, love, and serve, for your sake and that your love and peace may reign now and forever. Amen.”

“May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” [Hebrews 13:20-21]

God’s peace be yours.

The Lent Project Week 5: The Commuter/Environmental Fast

If everyone on Earth lived, drove, ate, consumed, etc. like the average American, studies show it would take about four planets to sustain the world's population. How do our personal and cultural habits reflect the invitation to serve as good stewards of God's creation? 20150218_the_lent_project_banner

During this week, we invite you to:

(1) Make decisions to reduce your gasoline consumption by half (choose public transit, casual carpool, walk/bike, tele-commute, etc.).

(2) Consider what you notice about your regular commuting habits, your neighborhood's built environment, transit infrastructure, etc.

(3) Catalog your journey using #TheLentProject hashtag.

The Lent Project Week 3: Digital Detox Media Fast

20150218_the_lent_project_banner What does the “life to the full” that Jesus invites us into look like? How do we find it? And what if the comforts, securities, and pleasures surrounding us might actually distract us that life?

We’ll be asking these questions throughout Lent and, each week, we’ll experiment together with a specific practice of denial and fasting to help us stand in solidarity with the Majority World and seek the life of abundance Jesus promised. Each week of Lent will involve stories of practice, hearing the words of Jesus, and invitations into a shared week-long experiment.

Week 3: Digital Detox Media Fast (full schedule here)

We spend 35.2 billion hours on Facebook and Youtube each year. The equivalent of 9 full DVDs worth of media content are received by each of us each day. We see hundreds and thousands of images and ads on a daily basis.

Each day these messages are forming our brains, hearts, and lives. We're shaped by what we see.

During this week, we invite you to:

(1) Turn off all media (computers, tvs, tablets, phones, etc.) each day from 8pm-8am. (2) Instead, tune in to silence, rest, and community. (3) Catalog your journey using #TheLentProject hashtag.

The Extras Purge and the Great Material Continuum

20150218_the_lent_project_bannerKrissy wrote this last year while living in Hollywood. It resurfaced for her this week as she's been processing through #TheLentProject Extras Purge this week with Open Door. The Great Material Continuum (Krissy Kludt)

When I was younger, I bought few clothes, and I kept them forever. I still had clothes in college that I had worn in middle school. I had a closet full of things at my parents’ house that I never wore, but kept just in case they would come back into style. Sometimes things do: in high school, Nikki and I gave my dad the hardest time about his too-tight jeans, begging him to get something looser; ten years later, jeans got skinny again. As my dad put it, delighted, “I lapped myself!”

When we moved to Hollywood, I found a new system for clothing. Trends change more quickly here, and thrift stores have an abundance of (almost) current fashions. In Wisconsin, Goodwill has mostly XXL T-shirts; in LA, it’s full of Forever 21, H&M, and Urban Outfitters. Angelenos acquire more often, and they get rid of things more often. I found myself inheriting clothes from friends all the time, many days wearing entire outfits that were cast-offs of Abby’s or Bethany’s. Rather than “keep forever, never buy,” my new motto was “hold all things loosely.” I, too, acquired things more often – at yard sales or thrift stores or from friends – and I got rid of things I stopped wearing, trusting that I wouldn’t regret it.

Dave and I have our geeky moments, and in one of them a couple of years ago, we watched a whole lot of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. If you are less geeky and therefore less familiar with Star Trek, you may not know about the Ferengi aliens and their pseudo-religious belief in economics. The closest they have to a god is their belief in the Great Material Continuum. They call it the “Great River,” believing that all places have too much of one resource and not enough of another, but that all material things flow in the “Great River,” eventually ending up where they are needed. (Ideally, of course these material things flow through the Ferengi and provide them with plenty of cash along the way.)

I have started to believe in the Great Material Continuum. I cannot tell you how many times I have needed something, asked for it (or not asked for it), and waited until it came to me. I needed clipboards for school, but not badly enough to go out and buy any. (This was in our early Fuller days when we lived and paid for Dave’s school on my new teacher’s salary, and cash did not feel particularly abundant.) One day we helped some friends move, and they were throwing out a box of clipboards. I’d wanted an old wooden chest for years, and one day one appeared at a yard sale next door to HomeState. Dave needed more pants, and one day he found a pair of H&M jeans on the sidewalk in his size. It happens to us all the time. I am starting to believe that what you need will come to you if you are willing to wait.

There is an economy in East Hollywood of which we were once completely unaware, but we began to observe it and participate in it. There is an economy beyond that of cash and credit cards, when you begin to look.

A few weeks ago there was a family sitting outside of Burger King across the street from us with several large suitcases. They had two small children with them. It is unusual to see homeless kids in our area, so I assumed they had some other story – ended up in our neighborhood off the metro, waiting for a ride from friends, something like that. It turns out they had just gotten off the Amtrak from West Virginia, and were waiting until Monday (this was Saturday) for the homeless shelters to open for intake.

I brought them diapers and a few groceries, sat on a suitcase and chatted with the mother. Their son wore the same sized diapers as Everett. My heart broke for this mother. Our instinct to take care of our children is so strong, and this family was struggling so much to do so. I prayed with them. While I sat with them, one man gave a few dollars to the little boy, a woman dropped off cereal and juice, and another man called the police for them, assuring them that the police department could probably get them into a shelter that night. These people were strangers here, and so alone, and yet their most basic needs were being met by the people walking by.

The next night we went to the Manna Room after our church gathering. The Manna Room is a food pantry that brings in and sorts almost-expired, dented and otherwise unsellable Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s food, and it opens for the church on Sunday nights. After Everett was born and I left my job, we were tighter on money than we had been in a long time, and we were grateful for this abundant provision. Some weeks we found more in the Manna Room than others; some weeks we needed more than others. On this week, we had bought groceries for several people besides ourselves. That night, the Manna Room was overflowing, full of things that were on my list for the grocery store, where I was headed afterward: pesto and goat cheese and diced tomatoes and fiber cereal for Everett. I was full to the brim with gratitude.

We live in an economy of grace. Somehow, our needs continue to be met, again and again, in the most unexpected ways. When I worry I’ve overspent our food budget for the month, the Manna Room happens to have everything we desire. Just when I think I don’t have energy left to make it another few hours until Dave gets home, Everett decides to take a three-hour nap. When my house is a disaster and I haven’t had a moment to think and Everett doesn’t seem to want to ever nap again, one of our housemates shows up and plays with him in our yard so I can do the dishes and sit down for a few minutes.

An economy of grace is an economy of abundance. When we live out of abundance, like the loaves and the fishes, what we have multiplies. We have enough time, enough food, enough money. We have more than enough love.

Am I the woman – the mother, wife, child, friend – I wish I were? Not even on my best days. But I live in an economy of grace, an economy of abundance, and in that economy, by owning my own insufficiency, I become enough. When I choose to live in the economy of grace, when I do the hard work it takes to believe in abundance, joy grows within me, sending roots down deep into gratitude. I have enough. Roots soak in nourishment from that fertile soil and send stems skyward. I have more than enough. Leaves unfold, open to the sky. By grace, I become enough. There will be space enough for growth. There will be room enough for love. There will be time enough for revelation.

One day I stopped to chat with a homeless woman named Amariah who lives in the park up the street. She told me she needed toenail clippers and a jacket, and asked if I had either to spare. She told me her story. Then she pulled me over to her pile of belongings and asked what I needed.

“I don’t need anything; I have enough,” I said.

“How about shampoo? Do you need shampoo? When I get it I pour it out into smaller bottles and give it to the other women in the park. I asked the salon over there if they needed it, but they said no. I gave it to them anyway.”

I smiled, “That’s ok, I really don’t need anything.”

She started rummaging through a suitcase. “Here,” she said. “Take these.” She handed me a pair of jean shorts.

“Really, you don’t have to. I don’t need anything.”

“Take them. They’re nice – they’re Lucky brand. If you have two, you’re supposed to give one away, so that’s what I’m doing.”

I didn’t tell her that I was walking back home from Goodwill, where I had tried on several pairs of shorts without finding any that fit.

“We’re neighbors, you know,” I said to Amariah as I hugged her goodbye.

“No,” she shook her head. “We’re sisters.”

The Lent Project: Denial, Solidarity, Life

What does the "life to the full" that Jesus invites us into look like? How do we find it? And what if the comforts, securities, and pleasures surrounding us might actually distract us that life? 20150218_the_lent_project_banner

We'll be asking these questions throughout Lent and, each week, we'll experiment together with a specific practice of denial and fasting to help us stand in solidarity with the Majority World and seek the life of abundance Jesus promised. Each week of Lent will involve stories of practice, hearing the words of Jesus, and invitations into a shared week-long experiment.

  • February 18 - Ash Wednesday Online Liturgy (www.abluedoor.com/ashes)
  • February 22 - Invitation to the Extras Purge, Steward Team-hosted Family Meeting (during the Gathering)
  • March 01 - Invitation to Essentials Only (Soup dinner following the Gathering)
  • March 08 - Invitation to the Media Fast (Soup dinner following the Gathering)
  • March 15 - Invitation to the Comfort Fast (Soup dinner following the Gathering)
  • March 22 - Invitation to the Environmental/Commuter Fast (Soup dinner following the Gathering)
  • March 29 - Invitation to the Majority World Diet (Soup dinner following the Gathering)
  • April 3 - Good Friday Passion Sojourn
  • April 5 - Sunrise Hike + 5PM Easter Gathering