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2015 04 26


DOOR annual celebration
Easter 4
April 26, 2015
For First Mennonite Church of Denver
Vernon K. Rempel, 2015

Narrative Lectionary Bible Reading
Acts 14:8-15
In Lystra there was a man sitting who could not use his feet and had never walked, for he had been crippled from birth. He listened to Paul as he was speaking. And Paul, looking at him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And the man sprang up and began to walk. When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in human form!” Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates; he and the crowds wanted to offer sacrifice. When the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting, “Friends, why are you doing this? We are mortals just like you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them.

The longing for meaning, significance

They saw magic and apparently interruptive power.

But what makes these so compelling?

Green lights all the way to 13th from Littleton!
 did make me feel odd
  like any winning streak - hmm? What's going on?

We long for control

The Harry Potter Effect: The Science Behind Why We Like Magical Things: What Harry Potter tells us about our brains Post published by Melissa Burkley Ph.D.
Jul 14, 2011 The Social Thinker

Importantly, the results of this study offer a clue as to why the average person believes in magic. We constantly have access to the thoughts that knock around in our heads, so therefore our own thoughts are often the thing that is most salient in a situation. And when those salient thoughts seem to be consistent with an event (I think about that stop light turning green and then it does), our mind automatically makes a causal connection (I must have caused the light to turn green) . Thus, we are hard-wired to overestimate our control over external events.

Vkr - we tend to have mini internal emperors who overestimate the extent of their realms

In addition to this cognitive explanation, there is also a more motivational explanation as to why we believe in magic. The truth is that magic makes us feel like we have more control over our lives than we really do .

One such superstitious belief is the reluctance to "tempt fate."

Tempting fate is often thought to occur when people become too confident about an event and therefore cause themselves bad luck. This is why people are often afraid to comment on a streak of success in fear that they will "jinx" themselves. Or why people think that it is more likely to rain if they bring their umbrella to work or wash their car. Even people who insist there is no such thing as bad luck experience that "gut feeling" that tempting fate increases the odds of a bad outcome.

We have connection-making minds - same article

But it is good and wonderful how we are
  wired for connection
 the universe is wired for connection
  strings, branes, curved space

Maker of heaven & earth
 this is the gospel in all creation
  and the loving salvation in the heart of the man

The man in our story is saved
 his healing is a symbol of that

But healing! Instant!
 he did walk

What really happened
 hard to know - ancient world
  perception & reporting so different
   such different science

But here's what didn't happen
 Paul was not enriched
  not even gratified
   his ego and person not served in any way

Only the gospel
 the good news of the maker of heaven & earth
  is promoted

We imagine connection
 can also mean we want to manipulate
  serve our ends

The crowd does see ego
 does see the usual project
  wants to offer rewards

No understanding of freely the gift is given
 how it merely flows through Paul to the man
  how Paul desires nothing from it but
 that the crowd discover the maker of heaven & earth

And in that discovery,
 learning that we're all in this together
  all connected in our successes & failures
 bad fortune & good
illness & health
 earthquakes & shootings
births and new loves
 all the mix; all of us

Heaven & earth is a vast matrix
 of interrelated processes
  and we humans are of that stuff
 only with the capacity to think about it

One recent TED talk
 Deborah Gordon - ecologist
  The Emergent Genius of Ant Colonies
Ant colonies are like the Internet
 non-hierarchical interactive systems

Humans keep trying hierarchy
 Lycaonians want to make gods of Paul & Barnabas
But they tear their clothes in grief
 that's not what it's about
  it's about connection
 the divine flow of the maker of heaven & earth

 but Gordon argues our systems may be helped
made stronger and more resilient
 if we reduce hierarchy and increase paying attention
  to many interacting parts
Like Jazz - how do jazz musicians improvise
 so that it works - by listening to each other
   and moving with it
(See Stefon Harris - There are no Mistakes on the Bandstand)

Cornell West calls for a jazz politics
 a more pliable interactive participatory politics
  founded on listening and responsiveness
 more than on who's in charge and leverage.
(In Race Matters)

We're all in this together
 let us reach out and listen

Why we do outreach, mission, exploration
 we are seeking greater connections
New connections of love
We are so wired

DOOR connections
 freely offered; freely received

Randy F
Tyler Schrock

What do you enjoy or love most about the work of DOOR?

What are one or two moments where you have seen DOOR really make a difference for someone?

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