SUNDAY WORSHIP

  • 8:00AM Traditional Service, Rite II

  • 9:00AM Nursery

  • 9:15AM Adult Formation Bible Study

  • 10:30AM Sunday School for Children through 6th grade. 

  • 10:30AM Contemporary Service, Rite II​

  • 11:00 AM ROOTS Youth Group 

3520 W Whitestone Blvd, Cedar Park, TX 78613, USA

(512) 267-2428

©2019 Christ Episcopal Church, Cedar Park, TX.

11/7/2019

For the next few weeks as I begin my transition from being rector of Christ Church to being a priest of the world, I will write several musings. Today's musing is a parable by Danaan Parry.


Please note: please ask permission to copy or forward this parable. http://www.earthstewards.org/


This parable has been put to a music sound track by Fran McKendree.

http://www.franmckendree.com/?section=music-4


The Parable of the Trapeze

by Danaan Parry

Sometimes I feel that my life is a series of trapeze swings. I'm either hanging on to a trapeze bar swinging along or, for a few moments in my life, I'm hurtling across space in between trapeze bars.


Most of the time, I spend my life hanging on for dear life to my trapeze-bar-of-the-moment. It carries me along at a certain steady rate of swing and I have the feeling that I'm in control of my life.


I know most of the right questions and even some of the answers.


But every once in a while as I'm merrily (or even not-so-merrily) swinging along, I look out ahead of me into the distance and what do I see? I see another trapeze bar swinging toward me. It's empty and I know, in that place in me that knows, that this new trapeze bar has my name on it. It is my next step, my growth, my aliveness coming to get me. In my heart of hearts I know that, for me to grow, I must release my grip on this present, well-known bar and move to the new one.


Each time it happens to me I hope (no, I pray) that I won't have to let go of my old bar completely before I grab the new one. But in my knowing place, I know that I must totally release my grasp on my old bar and, for some moment in time, I must hurtle across space before I can grab onto the new bar.


Each time, I am filled with terror. It doesn't matter that in all my previous hurtles across the void of unknowing I have always made it. I am each time afraid that I will miss, that I will be crushed on unseen rocks in the bottomless chasm between bars. I do it anyway. Perhaps this is the essence of what the mystics call the faith experience. No guarantees, no net, no insurance policy, but you do it anyway because somehow to keep hanging on to that old bar is no longer on the list of alternatives. So, for an eternity that can last a microsecond or a thousand lifetimes, I soar across the dark void of "the past is gone, the future is not yet here."


It's called "transition." I have come to believe that this transition is the only place that real change occurs. I mean real change, not the pseudo-change that only lasts until the next time my old buttons get punched.


I have noticed that, in our culture, this transition zone is looked upon as a "no-thing," a noplace between places. Sure, the old trapeze bar was real, and that new one coming towards me, I hope that's real, too. But the void in between? Is that just a scary, confusing, disorienting nowhere that must be gotten through as fast and as unconsciously as possible?

NO! What a wasted opportunity that would be. I have a sneaking suspicion that the transition zone is the only real thing and the bars are illusions we dream up to avoid the void where the real change, the real growth, occurs for us. Whether or not my hunch is true, it remains that the transition zones in our lives are incredibly rich places. They should be honored, even savored. Yes, with all the pain and fear and feelings of being out of control that can (but not necessarily) accompany transitions, they are still the most alive, most growth-filled, passionate, expansive moments in our lives.


We cannot discover new oceans unless we have the courage to lose sight of the shore.


Anonymous       

 

So, transformation of fear may have nothing to do with making fear go away, but rather with giving ourselves permission to "hang out" in the transition between trapezes. Transforming our need to grab that new bar, any bar, is allowing ourselves to dwell in the only place where change really happens. It can be terrifying. It can also be enlightening in the true sense of the word. Hurtling through the void, we just may learn how to fly.


From the book Warriors of the Heart by Danaan Parry.

You can find this book at: http://www.earthstewards.org/

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We live in anxious times. I don’t think I can state this with much more clarity.

Rabbi Edwin Friedman in his book A Failure of Nerve described a highly anxious system (society) as having five characteristics. Friedman wrote this in 1996. Murray Bowen, the pioneer of family systems theory, wrote about societal regression in the 1970’s.

The characteristics are:

1. Reactivity

2. Herding ( to ‘reverse the direction of adaption toward strength, and it winds up organizing its existence around the least mature, the most dependent, or the most dysfunctional members of the system—see article cited)

3. Blame Displacement.

4. The Quick Fix Mentality.

5 . Poorly Defined Leadership (In the chronically anxious society, the leaders chosen will tend to be immature, without the capacity to resist sabotage, reactivity, and dysfunction.)


We live in anxious times. Friedman writes about the difference between a chronically anxious system and acute anxiety. Acute anxiety happens everyday—short term events that trigger reactivity. However, as more acute anxiety events happen, they become more and more difficult to navigate. The inability to navigate and be resilient can be a result of or lead to a chronically anxious system—it is anxiety that has been passed along from generation to generation.


I write this not because Christ Episcopal Church is a chronically anxious system—it is not. However, in the past several months there have been events that might have caused acute anxiety. The hiring of a new Christian Formation person after the long tenured person. The launching of visioning sessions as we talk about 10 years in the future. Hiring a site planning architect as we talk about how we might change. There have been major illnesses in the congregation. These are just a few examples. I am sure there are more, and each could be very personal. My guess is that many feel it without being able to put a finger on what it is. Naming it is important!


What will be called for in the next year is resilience. What will be called for in the next year will be prayer. What will be called for will be remembering why we are the church--The mission of Christ Episcopal Church is to restore [creation] to unity with God and each other in Christ.


What will be called for is hope that our vision is in line with God’s vision. What will be called for in the next year will be leadership that is working from core values. What will be called for is leadership that avoids being pulled into homeostasis (herding), and yet stays connected. What will be called for will be--hmmm? Sounds like the kind of leadership that Jesus of Nazareth displayed. As the body of Christ, we are all called to be a light to the world—that light that shines through the darkness of fear and anxiety. That light that shows the love of God in all we do. Let Your Light Shine!

For a more thorough synopsis of this thinking please look at the article found at this website. https://alastairadversaria.com/2012/01/10/summary-of-edwin-friedmans-a-failure-of-nerve-part-2/

If you have questions or concerns, we want to hear your voice. Please contact me—make an appointment to come and talk. Or email me at rectorcec@cectx.org.

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In case you haven’t noticed, there are hundreds of homes being built all around the church property. At night, on the hills to the west of us are covered with lights from homes. Five years ago, there were no streetlights in that area. On the south side of our property, more homes are being constructed. Take a look at these pictures! This home sits on the property line of Christ Church and more are being built. The skyline is to the west.


So, as I looked this home I wondered: Who will be living there? What type family might be occupying the rooms that make up this sizable home? Will the person living there be single? With children? Will there be a multigenerational family there? What will be the faith background of the occupants? What will be the stressors they face? What will be the joys they celebrate? Will they even notice that there is a church in their backyard?


What do we have in place that might fit the needs of the occupants? Will faith formation be important? Will they need medical or mental health resources? Will they be looking for a community where they can be safe and less anxious in an anxious world? What can learn from them? What resources might we share together? The possibilities are endless as are the questions.


The point is that our neighborhood is changing and growing. To be a community of faith that grows with the neighborhood, we have to be curious about who they are. We have to change because those around us are most likely people that bring in new ideas and new perspectives.


You see, I don’t think that the “church” is dying. I believe that the church is being awakened from a long sleep. The chapel of ease is dead—a place where folks show up—get something—and go home. That chapel of ease was never the church. The church—the Body of Christ—is a vibrant community that is curious about our neighbor and growing spiritually in order to tell the story of the Good News. More importantly, to live the story of the Good News.


I also think place is still important. Christ Church sits on a parcel of land that will be an oasis among homes and commercial buildings. What would it look like if seven days a week we had activity in our buildings and on our grounds? What would it look like if the worshiping and learning community looked like the neighborhood? It would look like the church.


Do we want to be a place where people are safe? Where people find meaning and community? Yes! And, when that happens, we will grow both numerically and spiritually. My prayer is that Christ Church is a prayerful community that embraces the Gospel which tells us to love and spread the Good News in Jesus Christ. Let’s build a gate on our fence and welcome with open arms those who are uprooting their lives to find a new home.




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