The Herb Of Grace

Theology and Poetry, Politics and Prose

Things That Sustain: Community September 29, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Joel @ 10:37 pm

This is a talk I gave yesterday at one of our main community gatherings.  The link below has both the audio and keynote presentation (which i think got frigged up on our website and so will be ugly, sorry.)

It’s Too Hard To Be A Person by Joel Mason

below I’ll post my outline.

title:  its too hard to be a person
1. introduction: beginning assumptions
a.  Jesus is king over every other king, whether the other kings know it or not
b. his community is better than any other system of ‘being together’ whether we or they know it or not.
c. both his kingship and community are james bond style infiltrations
2.  we are called and empowered to practically be the people of God, not individuals but a people.
two reasons why it’s too hard to be a person
3.  the prevailing winds: our culture and the individual
a. the individual’s right to succeed and pursue happiness
b. the individual’s salvation
c. the individual’s bearing of their own guilt
d. What they didn’t tell you: the individual must be violent
i. Our constitutions, canada and the united states (Cavanaugh explained or quote)
4. Different answers to the problem of the individual
a. top dog
b. all rats
c. chicken run: the Church
5. The growing under current: the Church and a better culture
a. right to succeed vs. privilege and power to serve
b. individual salvation vs. communal process (mennonite story “ask them”)
c. human right to punish with pain and isolation vs. the command to forgive…or else (story amish and shooter)
d. the violent individual fearfully and frantically protecting his/her turf vs. the generosity and patience of God as expressed by his people


What we didn’t know: the national culture is an individualistic culture which seeks to empower those who help themselves, those seeking to make money, and that this must always rest on violence (suing, causing bankruptcy, murder, etc)
What we are called to remember:  It’s too hard to be a person, we must be a people.  and not just any people, but the people who try together, toether, together, to follow Jesus.
this is more of a privilege than we will ever know. (hauerwas quote, “i who had no people now have a people.”)
Conclusion: Welcome gives birth to Challenge
our community, what we have experienced
mission for us today, a city on a hill
beginning to learn how good our story is without being an ass.


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