Monthly Archives: June 2014

Turning the other Cheek

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We, The Dale’s Tuesday night Bible study, are currently reading through the Sermon on the Mount. This week we grappled with the passage where Jesus tells us not to repay evil for evil, but to turn the other cheek. In this same passage Jesus tells us to give more than is asked when someone sues us, do more than is required of us by an authority figure (go an extra mile with a Roman soldier, in Jesus’ context), and to give freely to those who ask to borrow from us.

We talked about how these things do not constitute a new set of laws that Jesus asks us to follow legalistically, but are examples of the kind of people that we will be when we are transformed by his love. We are to choose the Kingdom alternative to the usual “fight or flight” options; we are to show genuine concern for the person in front of us, despite the fact that they are not showing concern for us. By choosing love over anger, we turn the situation upside down.

We also talked about how this is much easier to talk about than to do! We asked the tough questions, like “what about genocide? What about abusive relationships? Should the other cheek always be turned?!” We talked about how the Bible makes it clear that oppression and injustice are not God’s will, and that we are called to act on behalf of those who are treated unfairly.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been noticing that when conflicts arise at The Dale, it often has to do with the perceived need to defend one’s honour, to make it known that one is not vulnerable, etc. I totally understand that impulse. And yet we are called to be a people who turn the other cheek, in an act of counter cultural love…

We also frequently encounter situations where a member of our community is experiencing abuse, coercion or marginalization, and we are called to be a people who name, challenge and oppose oppression and injustice…

Lord, may we learn to read and apply your word faithfully, in a world that is anything but straightforward. May we learn to love others in the self sacrificial and counter cultural way that you love us, and also take seriously your call to seek justice for the oppressed.

Stumbling along The Way

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Erinn wrote a great post this morning about a question that we sometimes hear… “What difference does The Dale make?” I really couldn’t have answered that question any better, so here is her response:

http://erinnoxford.wordpress.com/2014/06/18/whats-the-diff/

One of the lines reads: “The journey is not a straight-line: it is marked with fumbles and missteps and requires patience and grace.” As Erinn would agree, this applies to all of us.

I have felt the weight of my own fumbles and missteps quite keenly this week. I have lost patience, offended people without meaning to, missed important verbal and non-verbal ques from those around me… I have come face to face with my brokenness; my humanness.

And I have received beautiful gifts from God, through this community. In a moment when I was feeling particularly out of sorts, someone I had just met shared some words of encouragement that nearly knocked me over with their grace-infused potency. A good friend gave us a thoughtful gift- a plaque with a poem called “Don’t Quit”, encouraging us to keep on keeping on.

I’ve also seen a number of those “almost imperceptible” changes that Erinn mentions. A friend who often comes across as very angry with the world started a conversation by thanking me for a bit of help we were able to offer last week… and then didn’t say a single angry thing in the whole conversation. Another friend who is marginalized in a number of ways explained to us that he hopes his music will contribute to peace, and that he intends to keep working on getting it out, into the world.

So, as we stumble along the road leading to ultimate restoration in the Kingdom, we remind each other to keep on keeping on by the grace, and through the strength, of God.

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The Great Outdoors

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Being outside is just good for the soul. I spent part of this afternoon weeding our plot in the community garden, and it was great. Sure, I grumbled a bit about the very luxurious dandelions that had taken root, but being outside, tending a plot of earth is one of the loveliest, and most satisfying ways to spend time.

I really love living in Toronto, for many reasons. I also really love getting out of Toronto every once in a while, being in wide open spaces, breathing forest-fresh air, jumping into quiet, tree-lined lakes, gazing at the stars, and hearing the sound of silence.

This summer, from July 6-9th, The Dale is taking a trip out of the city, up to a lovely little camp outside Parry Sound. People have been talking about this trip for months and months, and excitement is growing as the time gets nearer. People are talking about fishing, canoeing, hiking, and just being.

Many folks from the community have committed to contributing towards the trip financially, which is wonderful. And we still have a ways to go, to cover the cost of the trip. So we would like to invite you, dear reader, to consider helping us bring as many people as possible up to camp! The cost per person is approximately $120.

If you’re interested in contributing, just click on the “Donate to the Dale” tab, use any of the methods listed, and make a note that it’s for the Camp Fund.

Thanks for considering this!

Peace to you.

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