I grew up in a Free Church, and we didn’t really pay attention to saints. We were a ‘low church’– no liturgry of elaborate service. But I like the idea of saints, because they are exemplars to remind you of what we should be and do as Christians in the world. Deano is a friend of ours in the neighborhood who is a little slow but he diligently goes around picking up aluminum cans in a 4-block radius from his house (he won’t venture beyond that). I’ve begun to think of Deano as a patron saint of recylcing. Deano has eyes to see the potential where others don’t.
I was having breakfast with Robbie this morning at 11worth and we were talking about Simple Free being a place for some Christians who are on the edge or periphery of the church. Honestly, some of us are sort of misfits, for various reasons. Delightful fantastic misfits, of course, but misfits. Maybe the mantra ‘Reduce, Reuse Recyle’ kind of captures what we can do at Simple Free as we encourage each other to be in community and connect with other Christians.
Reduce: Simple Free is into reducing in that we try to remain a low-maintenance low-overhead group– no paid staff, no rent, sticking to traditional liturgical service, and having inter-congregational study where we learn from each other. We don’t have great programs and great production. We do have simple though, and simple is sometimes pretty great.
Reuse: I don’t throw stuff away. I am a keeper, not a thrower. And many times I’ll discover I have something I really need already. We use hymnbooks each week that I found in the attic of my old country church out by Marquette Nebraska. They have green duct tape on the corners and edges to cover the fraying. They hadn’t been used for 20 years, and I said we could use them– and we do each week. We use the liturgy and scripture passages from the Anglican church instead of coming up with a new service plan each week. And if we get too big for our space, we want to find an existing underutilized space and use it.
In terms of reusing people, Simple Free has people with a lot of potential who are in many ways underutilized– who have a lot to offer the world, but who need to just be reengaged. I think we mutually reenergize each other to move forward and to be active. Mutually encouraging one another towards love and good deeds, as the Bible says…helping each other use our lives well.
Recycling is taking stuff with potential that has been put curbside and figuring out how to reutilize it, rengage it, put it to new use. It usually needs to be transformed in some way. St. Deano has an eye for the recyclable. He sees potential where others don’t. In this way at least, I want to have the eyes of Deano to see in people the potential– the ways in which they can be fully used by and for God, and the ways in which they can be grace and a blessing to others and the world around them. Until we find how we can be this, I don’t think we can ever be really happy, because in one way or another, this was what we were born to do– to be people for and with others for the sake of Christ. — andy gustafson
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