Love Dinner Tomorrow!

Love DinnerEight powerful women of God are gathering at my house tomorrow night for the first-ever Love Dinner and I AM SO EXCITED.

Besides the candles and the wine and the prayer and the giggles, we are really focused on one thing:

Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. Matthew 22: 36-40

So how do we do that:

  1. Among ourselves
  2. Out in the world.

We’re going to fuel up on chocolate cake and good coffee, then dream up ways of loving God and loving people well. Then we’ll unleash ourselves on the world, spending one whole month testing our ideas and reporting back.  In the process, we’ll be spreading the love of God and practicing how to order our lives around Him.

Taylor Swift

It’s kind of a joke around my house that I’m like Taylor Swift. If you’re in relationship with me in any capacity, you’ll probably wind up on my blog.

The gals seem ok with that, so expect to hear their triumphs and failures here as well. All 12 founders of Love Dinner welcome you to join us online. We will pray specifically for you tomorrow night and for what you bring to the table.

 To jump in with us, comment below.

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On Yosemite, Zambia and Smog

Years ago, I spent a whole summer high in the Yosemite back country, eight miles from the nearest road, at a place called Sunrise High Sierra Camp. Watching these crazy wildfires threaten that place breaks my heart. Prayers for you brave firefighters!

My God I love this place.

Cloud’s Rest. Yosemite. Circa 1999.

Back then, when I wasn’t working as an employee of the park, I played frisbee golf with my co-workers, using ancient Sequoia trees for holes. We ran everywhere, swam in sapphire glacial lakes and camped out at night. Flanked by mountains in every direction, we climbed them in the dark, just to watch the stars come out and the moon rise over them.

Here's what I mean.

View from Sunrise High Sierra Camp.

But then the earth tilted. The meadow grass gave way and what leaves there were, turned red and fell, and we knew we couldn’t stay.

Driving home along the Merced River, high above the Sacramento Valley, I saw the smog and bustle below and sighed. Life in the manifest presence of God, unspoiled by the tyranny of civilization, was over.

I wasn’t thinking in those terms at the time though, because I was mostly ignoring God. I just had grief I couldn’t explain.

I didn’t know I was leaving Eden.

For ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature and attributes, that is, His eternal power and divinity, have been made intelligible and clearly discernible in and through the things that have been made (His handiworks). So [men] are without excuse [altogether without any defense or justification]. Romans 1:20 AMP

See?

Upper Cathedral Lake.

Coming back from Zambia has been like that.

When you throw followers of Jesus into a foreign country and ask them to do difficult things, they cling to Jesus like a needy kid clutching his father’s leg. In Zambia, my regular boundaries between sacred and secular disappeared. We hugged, wept, sang, laughed and prayed like our lives depended on it – every day.

Then we came home, to the smog.

Here, in our workaday lives, our radical dependence fades and we forget how sweet the unbroken presence of God is. Here, naked vulnerability before God is a little too “out there” “too wacky” for an increasingly post-Christian culture.

So we cover it up and grieve.

Love DinnerThat’s why Christians love conferences. Thousands of people worshiping God, changes the environment in a football stadium so thoroughly, you never want to leave. It’s a reprieve from the daily catastrophe of Syria and climate change and incessant global poverty. It feels like hope.

And that’s why I’m starting Love Dinner.

I want to remember that God is the same in Texas, in Zambia and Yosemite. He invites us to erase the boundaries between sacred and secular and recognize it’s all His. But I think that takes practice, especially for those of us who grew up in secular America.

At Love Dinner, eight of us will create a mini-kingdom, practicing God presence so we can live as beacons in the smog, just like Jesus said to, and invite others to light up as well.

Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.” – Jesus. John 12:36

If you want to join Love Dinner Online, follow this blog or Erin Kirk-Writer on Facebook.

This Is Love Dinner – Want to Come?

Love Dinner“When did we quit living the Bible and just start studying it?”  – Jen Hatmaker author of 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess.

I hope she forgives me if I misquoted her, but I read 96% of Hatmaker’s book 7 while traveling around Zambia, then I left it on the plane.

She’s right, we do spend a lot of energy studying the Bible, which is a good idea, but how much time do we spend actually doing what it says?

Stuff like this:

Do not be quick in spirit to be angry or vexed, for anger and vexation lodge in the bosom of fools. Ecclesiastes 7:9

The mouths of fools are their undoing, and their lips are a snare to their very lives. Proverbs 18:7

For if you forgive people their trespasses (their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment), your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Matthew 6:14

There are a million little pearls like that, but I picked those for a reason.

At one time, my mind was like a smouldering fire barrel. Every day I stoked up my grievances and burnt heaps of mental garbage. Not surprisingly, some of that toxic smoke billowed out of my mouth and into my environment, where other people wound up charred and sooty.

Now I’m sure that’s just me, you…would…never…

Then I started reading the Bible, and all its talk about renewing my mind, shutting my mouth, forgiving people, not being arrogant and judgmental started to sting, and I realized I could put the fire out if I wanted to. I just had to figure out how.

Luckily Jesus boiled it down to two things: Love and Love.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:35-40 NLT

I’ve spent the last three years studying the Bible and changing my mind, and today my life is different. But as Hatmaker suggests, is it even about me? Or is that just phase one in a grand design?

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. James 1:22

candles

(Photo credit: rogerglenn)

So what if I quit making excuses and got down to loving God and loving others like I mean it – every day in practical, biblical ways? Would my own lingering broken parts heal up as a result?

And what if, rather than going it alone, I teamed up with seven girlfriends (and a few hundred online friends) once a month, over red wine and dinner? What if there were taper candles and chocolate dessert, good coffee and long communal prayers?

What if we picked one scripture that fulfills Jesus’ mandate and spent the next month just doing that? Forgiving? Submitting? Loving the unlovely? What would that look like, especially over time?

To me it looks like Love Dinner and it’s starting at my house next month.

Want to join us? Like Erin Kirk – Writer or follow this blog by email. Then let me know you’re here in the comment section.