By Joshua Grace, a pastor, pitcher, parent and DJ in North Philly
*This is the second installation of a year-long series of posts from contributors all over North America each answering the question, “How would you define radical discipleship?” We will be posting responses regularly on Mondays during 2019.
Radical discipleship doesn’t lend itself to the typical rat race towards better answers. We’re trying asking better questions. What does it mean to be a human being in our past, present, and future social and natural locations? How can our practices toward bioregional health shape our approach to faith and how do our spiritualties contribute to the health of the communities we root into? How can we contribute to the mission of God with eyes open to systemic oppressions, levels and layers of privilege, and hearts open to healing? Continue reading
By Joshua Grace, a report from Circle of Hope
At Circle of Hope, we have the advantage of being small (over 50 cells – circles of 10), medium (5 congregations of 100-200 people), and large (we get together several times per year). Some of our expressions happen when people form Compassion Teams (we have 20 right now) that lead the church in an effort according to the passions, gifts, and limits of the folks who lead. Our most recent Love Feast, where people from all cells and congregations gather, was an expression of the Holy Spirit breathing life into all levels of the body. Continue reading
…moving forward on the journey of being organized agents for transformation…from the inside out.
Warren Cooper (photo right)
During a wonderfully painful & hopeful confluence of the #BlackLivesMatter and #ICantBreathe spotlights on systemic racism and the release of the film Selma, Philadelphia joined many other US cities in the effort to reclaim the MLK holiday as a day of disrupting the status quo. Our church, Circle of Hope, has been making some concerted efforts this month to be shaped deeper by the legacy of Dr. King as well as open our sails wide to the winds of the Spirit.
Joshua Grace is an ENFJ on the MBTI, hits cleanup for the Kensington Royals, is a longtime member of the Psalters, pastors at Circle of Hope in Philadelphia, is married a brilliant woman who turned out to be quite the social entrepreneur. They have two daughters, now in middle school. Joshua spends his free time blogging and other creative endeavors to stop wars, watershed keeping, affordable housing, land use, immigration, and ending handgun violence. You can access his blog Ghostride The Whip here.
I’m not totally sure how I got on an Ezekiel kick, but I’m on one. While talking to a couple of cool pastors the other day at the Urban Anabaptist Ministry Symposium in Philadelphia we got on the topic. They told me that they stick to Ezekiel’s “greatest hit” – the Valley of Dry Bones. The other week I dipped into this prophet while going through the story about the destruction of the cities Sodom & Gomorrah. God, through Ezekiel, explains the sin of Sodom was that “She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” If there ever was an Old Testament prophet with a one-hit wonder for pastors – it’s Ezekiel with Valley of the Dry Bones and its “B-side” about Sodom.
The prophet Ezekiel