this week, thursday and friday, our 'reflection pool' comes to new haven again. they are a group of 24 senior pastors, youth pastors, lay people and theologians who are meeting together over three years to make some sense of how to better foster living of faith daily and in all spheres of life. or how to rediscover, live, and teach "christianity as an eastern religion" as i put it a few days ago.
we're outlining conversation along the spheres of life (bonhoeffer called them 'divine mandates' -- see his ethics, pp. 286 ff) and we're focused on what arguable are core: family, work, citizenship, and what we're calling 'arts and culture.' bonhoeffer offers a really interesting aside from a letter from prison included as a footnote in ethics and dated 23 january 1944 on the place of liberty in relation to the spheres:
"it almost seems today, and is perhaps in fact the case, that the concept of the Church can alone make it possible once again to understand the free expanse of liberty, the field which includes art, culture, friendship, and play. Perhaps, then, what Kierkegaard calls the 'aesthetic existence' far from being excluded from the domain of the church, should be given a new foundation within the church. i really think so; who, for example, in our time can still with an easy mind cultivate music or friendship, play games and enjoy himself? Certainly not the 'ethical' person, but only the Christian."
this time our gathering will think about faith and family, and we are discussing among other things our practice of hospitality since at the heart of our understanding of family is that Christ made a home with us, and calls us to therefore make of our homes a place of openness to the stranger. as David mccarthy, our guest theologian whose book the good life we've all been reading, says: "it is the guests who are the measure of the home."
anon, and +peace