The mission of the blueporch

The BLUEPORCH COLLECTIVE is an interaction around experimental community involving a set of practises for spiritual community and missional living with a Kingdom of God lens on all of life.

The practises we want to call each other to live by are:

1. The authentic life

We want to be true. The journey away from our false self to our authentic self is a lifelong process. To live from internal motivations not external ones is where the authentic life leads us. Insecurity and pride keep us living out of our false selves. Self-disclosure is the first stepping stone towards the authentic life. To live freely in God, to be transparent with our fears, pain, dark and to be vulnerable with our hopes, dreams and longings is part of defining an authentic life. It takes courage and commitment to be authentic. It is much easier to hide in our false self. Authenticity is not about being led by our feelings but rather out of who we are. Authenticity can only be lived out in community and relationship to be real.

2 The poured out life

Worship and justice meet in God. Without worship justice is incomplete and without justice our worship is shallow. At the heart of every life is the question of worship. What gets our greatest devotion and affection? The answer to that question is in what or who we worship. When our worship is towards the one whose love we cannot earn more of and whose love we cannot weaken then our heart is where it was meant to be – in Christ. Injustice is the carnage of a broken humanity. Injustice often shows its face to us in the lives of the marginalized and the oppressed. A life of worship is a life of seeing things restored to the way they were meant to be. The least and oppressed are often the greatest casualties of injustice. When we pour out our lives in worship we will be compelled to pour out lives for the injustices in and around us. Due to the vast access we experience as a global village we must contend for the injustices both here and abroad. The world is too interconnected to ignore it. That is a poured out life.

3 The missional life

Mission is a way of life. People are not a project; they are individuals in which we share life, love and faith. The incarnational way of life is to be with people in relationship. Christ showed us this way of mission by the life he lived. He lived our life in a missional way. He lived with us and among us, before he served us. The incarnational way of living invites us to embrace people without them believing what we believe to belong to us in relationship. The “who belongs” question surfaces when we live our lives in an incarnational way. However, the questions answer is different. Often believing (or those invited to belong) has meant ‘to think like I think’. You belong if you think like I think about spiritual things. However, believing isn’t the prerequisite to belonging in spiritual community. Believing involves an encounter with God, not just a process of thinking right. Cannot those encounters with God happen after a person belongs to us in relationship? The goal is not conversion, the goal is to love and conversion is the process God orchestrates. We can live expecting his encounters and orchestration.

4 The sacred life

We cannot shrink wrap God’s activity in the world down to an organization. In that system of thought it is determined that God prefers hanging out with people that are “in”. The idea of what it is meant to be “in” becomes synonymous with being committed to the organization. Furthermore, the measure of personal devotion to God in that framework is the degree of one’s separation from the world outside the organization. The kingdom of God is the lens we want to place over the organization, rather than the organization the lens we place on the Kingdom. A Kingdom oriented approaches to life seeks to leverage the gospel into people’s lives right where they live, work and play. The Kingdom of God is wherever the followers of Jesus are. While we practise community gatherings there is no spiritual hierarchy to our work, play, home or pub, church meeting or holiday when it comes to spiritual life and calling. The lines blur in terms of our expectations to see and experience God at work around us and in our lives. The playing field for “calling” expands in this mindset. Every Christian a priest and every sphere of influence a spiritual place as the organization becomes a connector not a destination. Spirituality is a life lived with God and others not just a rhythm of meetings we attend or do not attend.

5 The kingdom life

To be human is to be tribal. Often the quest of relationship is to find our “own” people. As we encounter Christ our hearts enlarge to embrace what would be often considered outsiders. We begin to embraces races, classes, socio- economic positions, and outsiders as we may have never before. We find we reach beyond what is familiar and comfortable. Embracing the marginalized and the poor in our lives is often the indicator that our hearts are expanding. It is one thing to serve the poor but a completely different thing to invite friendship with the poor and marginalized. Bringing them into the middle of our lives and community is a mark of the kingdom life. The maturity of embracing the Kingdom life blossoms fully when we love and embrace our enemies and those in the lowest places. A welcoming heart and life define the Kingdom life. Hospitality, though an expression of the inclusive heart, may be more of a gift certain people (requirement of elders for example) led out in, but the idea of an inclusive heart is something all followers of Jesus experience growing in them as the seed of a Kingdom life.

6 The supernatural life

The Holy Spirit is active today. We live with an expectancy to encounter God in the routine of our lives and when “two or three gather in his name”. Without the manifest presence of the Holy Spirit life change is not sustained. Also collective times of prayer and worship can be places for those encounters to be experienced. We live in an “already, not yet” lens on the work of God on earth. In that lens we know the Kingdom of God has come, is coming and will yet come. As followers of Jesus we are human with a seed of the divine. Therefore we live out the work of the Holy Spirit in a naturally supernatural way. Anchored in an earthy spirituality and in ‘place’ we can anticipate the power and presence of the spirit to heal, deliver, cleanse and empower us and those around us. We can also anticipate times of loss and pain because we live where we experience “tastes of the Kingdom” not the fullness of the Kingdom. We live in that place of tension and we hold the tension knowing the ultimate will of the Father is for “no more fear, pain and tears”.

7 The expansive life

One of life’s hopes is to become fully alive. Life is a process of expanding into a poetic, creative relationship with God as we live out a Kingdom life with him. To grow spiritually is to develop the whole of who we are. The assumption in most spiritually driven organizations is that people will be better off if they participate in activities the church or organization has sanctioned. The problem is in study after study the active church members do not reflect different values than the culture at large. People are not necessarily expanding and becoming more alive that way. Learning the art of relationship and not just processing people is important for becoming more alive. We must change our idea of what it means to experience people’s spiritual development. We need to shift our emphasis from studying Jesus and all things spiritual in an environment protected from the world and join him in his redemptive mission as friends. It is in the practise of life and community that our spirituality is refined. A better church does not always equal better people. Followers of Jesus will no longer be content to just help their church be “better” at doing church. Spiritual leaders must adjust their lens from doing better church to seeing people become more fully alive. Helping people grow is messy and hard work and is not something you start and finish in a 12 week course. It requires relationship, transparency and sharing some life together. Sometimes dying to things is the way to life.

8 The creative life

Every human has creative potential. That creativity can be expressed in a multitude of ways. Discovering our voice includes unlocking the creative part of who we are as individuals. Part of the journey to a complete life involves embracing the creative part of our design. The Artistic voice has been a unique voice within creativity. The Arts utilize mystery, symbolism and the language of the heart to call to the heart and to bring heart connection. The traditional arts include music, visual imagery, writing, movement, etc. Yet hospitality, beautiful spaces, architecture, thriving gardens, creating entrepreneurial business all speak to the heart and to the creativity of God. The creative life honours God.

Our Activities include:

• A yearly get together – called the Kingdom Collective, for the purpose of inspiration, conversation, sharing life and hearts
• Regular blog with thoughts, inspirations and stories around the values above. Hoping to stimulate further conversation
• Connecting in smaller segments, where we can further influence and support each other through doing stuff together
• Coaching and calling forward facilitators of community through regular relationship, connection, support and resourcing
• Encouraging People to invite one another into their worlds to share what they have with each other
• Reaching for the marginalized the poor and making a place for them in our lives
• Together be involved in arenas of injustice locally and globally
• Sharing of financial resource to support each other
• Development of any training experiences and resourcing
• Cultivating artistic expressions of communication as the dominant language for connecting to life and connecting to the heart.

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