04 July 2007

this beautiful mess

One of the most intriguing ways to connect with another human being is to read the same book. It's odd, really. You never have to touch or make eye contact. You don't need to be in the same room or even on the same continent. And somehow, it binds two souls together, so that when a hug is finally had or my eye meets yours we share something intimate and wonderful.

With that in mind, Stef and I will periodically share with you what it is we are reading. Maybe, from 9100 miles away, we can connect over a good book.

We've been wading through a thoughtful book by Rick McKinley. It is called "This Beautiful Mess - Practicing the Presence of the Kingdom of God". The subtitle immediately brings Brother Lawrence's "The Practice of the Presence of God" to mind. And if this was intended to be a modern companion, it does the former work justice.

Rick McKinley is the Pastor of Imago Dei, a progressive church in Portland that embraces activists and weirdos as integral parts of the body of Christ.

The most striking point of the book, as it's been interpreted by our hearts, is the idea that the Kingdom of God (or Kingdom of Heaven) is not something that needs to be stoked or "advanced" as is said in many Christian circles. Instead it is to be inhabited. McKinley likens our role in the Kingdom to that of a gardener. Lovingly, the gardener weeds and waters and creates a place where growth can occur. But the gardener cannot force growth. No amount of fertilizer can make it happen. He can do everything right - but in the end he is reliant on God to bring the new life from the dirt, from the remains of a broken seed. We are to be signposts to the truth of God and the Kingdom, seeking places of beauty and wonder in the world that has become much too cluttered, in the world that makes recognition of a living God more difficult every day.

"This Beautiful Mess" is a beautiful book. Maybe we'll discuss it over coffee one day. :)


  1. i will read this book with you :)

  2. stef-you are amazing. i love and miss you. know that you are in my heart and prayers. donna