Meeting Ground is a community of ‘spiritual misfits’ aiming to orient around a set of values, rather than gathering around a particular program. We seek to live these out collectively — but they are also an open invitation to any of us who want to embody them in our home or neighbourhood.
Let’s unpack that further:
VALUE #1: INCLUSION
When we talk about inclusion, we’re primarily thinking about those who have experienced exclusion. Inclusion isn’t something you even have to think about when you’re part of the ‘in group’. But do you ever think about how accessible or welcoming the average church on the corner is for:
People with social anxiety?
People with physical health challenges that prohibit regularly attending a Sunday service?
People who are neurodiverse or have differing levels of ability?
We sometimes think about these groups through the lens of Jesus’ parable of the 99 sheep and the one who wandered away. Why did that sheep feel the need to wander? Was it excluded somehow? Was it different from the rest of the tribe? Either way, the way Jesus tells the story, that one sheep is as valuable as the 99. So we’re going to where the one is. We’re not perfect and no doubt we still have our blindspots — but our value of inclusion is about becoming the kind of people who do everything in our power to ensure those who are typically overlooked or an afterthought are treated with dignity, consideration and love.
VALUE #2: HOSPITALITY
Hospitality is about inviting people into the intimate spaces of our lives. Hospitality conjures images of meals and tables. But these can also be thought of as metaphors for how we live our lives. Are we creating space ‘at the table’ for others? Are we making room for others to share their story? Are we living lives of open-hearted welcome — even to people who are very different from us? (These are things we can creatively find ways to do, even when we are in a COVID lockdown and limited in our capacity to meet around physical tables!)
It has been observed that Jesus ‘ate his way through the gospels’. He turned water to wine. He multiplied fish and loaves to feed the masses. He accepted dinner invitations from unexpected hosts. He partied. He spoke about offering his own body as bread and wine.
Relationships deepen, stories are exchanged and our lives are renewed around the table. If this resonates with you, join us in seeking to become people who live lives of deep and genuine hospitality.
VALUE #3: LEARNING JESUS
Jesus didn’t ask his disciples to write PhDs on atonement theory (no offence if you’ve done this). He didn’t ask them to start a philosophy club or a debating team. He called them to be apprentices, learning to live a different way in the world. He didn’t just die for the world. He lived. And in doing so demonstrated the fullest way to be human. When we hunger for violent revolution, military power or influencer status and an MTV crib…Jesus calls us into subversive, radical, enemy-loving, generous lives of self-giving love that seek to participate in the renewal and restoration of all things.
Learning Jesus is about integrating a new way of life into our minds and bodies. It’s integrating critical thinking and practical action. And we all learn differently — so what does it look like to learn the way of Jesus, within your context, personality and learning style?
Obviously our image of Jesus comes from scripture. But many of us have struggled with the ways scripture has been used to support ideologies and agendas that seem thoroughly counter to the liberating, compassionate and inclusive way of Jesus. What if the problem isn’t the Bible itself — but the interpretive lenses that have been applied to it? The technical word for this is ‘hermeneutics.’ No one reads the bible without interpreting it. There is no ‘plain reading’ — this is a big, fat myth — that once again helps to support certain ideologies and agendas.
A Christ-centred hermeneutic interprets scripture through the lens of Jesus, as revealed in the gospels.
VALUE #4 :JUSTICE
Authentic Christian spirituality doesn’t see justice as an optional extra for a few impassioned ‘social justice warriors’. It is deeply interwoven with the good news of Jesus — that God is always on the side of the oppressed, working to make wrong things right and overturn the domination of empire.
For many of us whose lives are privileged— whether through gender, race, economics or other factors — the first act of justice is to become aware of that privilege, and listen deeply to those who have not had it.
As we listen and are transformed by the stories of others, there are many ways we can respond with our voices, actions and resources.
VALUE #5: COMMUNITY BEYOND US
Healthy faith community can be a wonderful and life-giving thing. But one of the risks of any kind of group, tribe or community we are part of is that it can become insular. It can become a ‘bubble’. An echo chamber. A clique (or at its worst even a cult!) In our well-meaning enthusiasm for community we can start programs, sign-up for rosters, and book every space in our calendar with activity.
All these values — inclusion, hospitality, learning Jesus, justice — can be expressed collectively. But they can also be outworked in our unique homes, streets, schools and workplaces. In order to do that though we need to have time and space in our lives and calendars. We need to be present and available, listening to the neighbourhood we live in. Good community helps us to do this, and encourages us to maintain space in our life to be interwoven with the fabric of our local place. To be people of presence.
When we live like this we don’t only have something to ‘offer’ the neighbourhood. We receive from it. We are integrated within it. We live in mutual relationship with the place we are located.