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Evangelical Lutheran Church in America ELCA Liberation Affirming LGBTQIA+ Queer Theology Christian Christianity exvangelical

Um, what is this?

Image by Anup Ghag

In many ways, that's up to you.

We have ideas of what we hope this community will be (see below), some starting values, and some clear boundaries, but we really want the community to be shaped by the people who feel called to show up to create this new thing.

 

At it's heart, the Community of Spiritual Practice is an attempt to create the world we want in the here and now: a justice-oriented spiritual community by & for people who often haven't felt like they fit in traditional religious communities, people who find value in ritual (both ancient and new), and people who want to engage in spiritual practice as a way to root ourselves as we act for justice and equity. We aim to create a fractal of the kind of world we want to live in.

Rooted in Christian faith and practice but open to everyone (and we really mean that):

Our faith is more, "that which you did to the least of these, you did to me," and, "it is easier for a camel to get through the eye of the needle than a rich man to enter heaven," than John 3:16; Howard Thurman, not John Piper.  We want to create space for people who want to engage Christian practice but have been harmed by Christian community and/or feel like they can't be their full, authentic selves in Christian community but still want to engage scripture and Jesus. We also want to provide community and connection for people who want nothing to do with Christianity but do want to root their lives in spiritual practices that are authentic to who they are and their ancestry.

CSP is a community centered in love, and you can't have love without justice*.

A lot of American spiritual life in the 21st century seems to be shallow, self-centered self-improvement and/or judging others on the basis of individual morality (and a fair amount is white people stealing practices from indigenous cultures around the world). We want to be something different: a community that challenges one another to be transformed by love while transforming the world through love. Not passive "love and light" love, but love that shows up on the streets and in mutual aid collectives.

CSP is a community that engages in practices to connect to self, neighbor, nature, and something bigger than themselves.

It's for people trying to figure out who they are, folk just trying to get by, people who need encouragement connecting their spirituality to the world and activists and organizers who need fuel for their work. It's for people who want to be transformed through connection and, in turn, to transform the world.

CSP is a mission start of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, which may make a lot of the above sound like bullshit. Some people in the ELCA recognize the church is going to die (or possibly is already dead) and want to nurture communities that support the needs of people whose needs aren't being met by the church, and to live into our belief in resurrection.

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