As you’ve
probably noticed I haven’t blogged regularly.

The main reason
for this is that I’m fasting technology during Lent after 5pm.

It is not the
only reason.

The other is
that I’m going through a very intense wilderness in person and also with the
community I’m part of.

This wilderness
is an experience brought on by God, so no need to panic.

Yet, this
wilderness is showing me a lot of “new things” about God, myself and the
calling he has called me with.

That phrase,
“new thing” has popped up in the last week in different places.  Yesterday I prayed through Isaiah 43 …
the part where God talks to another group of wilderness dwellers/exiles.  God speaks through Isaiah and

18         Do
not remember the former things,

consider the things of old.

19         I
am about to do a new thing;

now it
springs forth, do you not perceive it?

I will
make a way in the wilderness

and rivers in the desert.

I have this intense inner stirring that something new
is coming.  Last week one of my
good friends spoke at Claypot’s gathering on her journey into God’s calling
over the last year. She said at one point that it saddens her when people use
the “newness and excitement” of what God is doing in her life as a substitute
for not living their own story. 
She then encouraged everyone to find their own story and not just “use”
her story.

This reminded me of mother Teresa who always
encouraged people to “find their own Calcutta”.

Another place where this newness struck me was when I
listened to Peter Block’s amazing book “Community: the structure of
belonging”.  In it he makes two
statements that grabbed my attention. 
In the first one he talks about the danger of always listening to
stories about other communities’ success. 
He goes on to say that,

“… that narratives of success give us hope and places
to visit, but do not build our
(emphasis mine).  Social fabric and successful
communities elsewhere cannot be imported. 
What works somewhere else ends up as simply another program here, which
might be useful but does not shift the fundamentals we are after.”

Later on he warns against a methodology that “…
becomes technique” and a “practice that becomes imitation”.

I sometimes wonder how much of networking really
changes our communities.  Is it
birthing something true, authentic and more importantly – transformational in
our community (community in this sense includes church but involves the actual
cities around these churches)?

The last corollary to this “newness” came in the form
of a quote sent by the people of Inward/Outward and I will quote it in full
  Gordon Cosby notes that,

The majority of
people are settlers. They like to settle a land pioneered by others. There are
fewer paradigm shifters and paradigm pioneers, those who are ready, and sometimes
even eager, to enter the new. The biblical understanding is that the new is
always beckoning us. God, by definition, is "One who does a new
thing." And our desperate need is for the new. A new neighborhood. A new
city. A new world which respects and honors and cares for all of its people.
The paradigm shifters and the pioneers are the ones who lead us into that

Source: Sermon
(September 7 1989)