Saturday, October 10, 2009

What Kind of Fruit Will We Bear

This is the question we are asking ourselves these days.

If a peach tree is planted in Georgia, the peaches will taste somewhat different than if that same tree is planted in California. The soil and the air, and the trace minerals in the water, all will contribute to the unique taste of the fruit.

But is is still a peach.

We believe there may be a variety of fruits we bear over the months of each year.

So as we look to The Orchard Master, we are wondering how our context will influence our "taste", but on a deeper level we are wondering "What kind of fruit will we bear in this current Autumn season?"

How about you?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009

New Sprouts

On Sat 15th August The Orchard Community had the wonderful honor of celebrating the dedication of Catherine Marie "Cate" O'Connor

Cate & Grandma
Cate & Great Grandpa
Cate & Grandma
Dedicating Cate
Hanging out with family!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Time To Stop

Today is the Summer Solstice -- literally "Sun Stands Still". The following is unashamedly cut/pasted from Inward/Outward

By Barbara Brown Taylor

For years I had kept hoping that intimacy with God would blossom as soon as I got everything done, got everyone settled, got my environment just right and my calendar cleared. I counted on it to come as a reward for how hard I had worked, or at least as the built-in consequence of a life of service, but even when I managed to meet all of my conditions for a day or two, I was so exhausted from the effort that I could not keep my eyes open. Slumber spirituality took over, and when I woke up I was right back where I started with miles to go toward the home I never quite reached.

Soon after I moved to the country, a friend from the city set out to see me and got seriously lost. These were the days before cell phones, so she was on her own with nothing but my directions and a badly out-of-date map. Already an hour later than she wanted to be, she was speeding through a little town when she saw the blue lights in her rearview mirror.I forgot to warn her that it was a speed trap. Busted, she pulled over on the shoulder of the road and had her license ready when the officer arrived at her window.

“I am so sorry,” she said, handing it to him along with her registration. “I know I was speeding, but I’ve been lost for the last forty minutes and I cannot find Tower Terrace anywhere on this map.”

“Well, I’m sorry about that too, ma’am,” he said, writing up her citation, “but what made you think that hurrying would help you find your way?”
what made you think that
would help you
find your way?
What made any of us think that the place we are trying to reach is far, far ahead of us somewhere and that the only way to get there is to run until we drop? For Christians, at least part of the answer is that many of us have been taught to think of God’s kingdom as something outside ourselves, for which we must search as a merchant searches for the pearl of great price.

But even that points to a larger and more enduring human problem, which is the problem of mortality. With a limited number of years to do whatever it is that we are supposed to be doing here, who has time to stop?

Barbara Brown Taylor is a writer and teacher at Piedmont College in Georgia. She was ordained an Episcopal priest and writes about the life of the church—and the church of life. This excerpt is from her book called Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith.

I think the real question is not "How can I afford to take time to stop?" but instead "If The Master has ordained the sun two times every year to stand still, how can I afford not to follow the example set in the heavens for all to see?"

Thursday, April 30, 2009


It is Springtime in The Orchard and as the dreary grey days move away and brother sun shows himself more (more frequently and more hours per day!) it is tempting to make lists of things to do. It is easy to think that with Winter gone, activity should become paramount. While it is true there are things to be done, the deeper truth is that any action must spring (pun intended) from a deep place of rest in our beings.

The following is taken from a letter dated March 4, 1968, about seven months before Thomas Merton’s untimely death. The recipient is Sister J. a young nun who wrote to Merton about her order’s experiment of living in groups of five.
The idea of community really needs reviving: it has got lost in the idea of institution. Community and person are correlative. No community without persons; no persons without community. Too organized an institutional life tends to stifle both community and personality. Primacy tends to be given to an organizational task. Community is an end in itself, not a means to carry out tasks. Community is ordered to life, as a good in its own right. It is life-centered, person-centered. Hence we should not get too anxious about “getting anywhere” with community, except that community itself should “be” and celebrate itself in love. Probably one of the things about it is that it is too simple. We have forgotten how to be that simple. But I am glad your generation is finding out about it again, and maybe the rest of us can learn from you.
What stood out to me:
No community without persons;
no persons without community.
I understood “no community without persons” intuitively. It is like saying “no silverware without forks, knives, and spoons” But the 2nd half grabbed me. “No persons without community” -- to be fully myself, I must be a part of something greater than myself. In the story Into the Wild the main character learns much too late that living alone is not the best situation for a person – because there is no one with whom to share. In fact, he dies because he is alone.
Community is an end in itself,
not a means to carry out tasks.

Community is ordered to life,
as a good in its own right.
It is life-centered, person-centered.

Hence we should not get too anxious about
“getting anywhere” with community,
except that community itself should “be”
and celebrate itself in love.
If there is a correlation between community and personhood, then the importance of a person learning to “be” naturally fits into community life as well. I’d never thought of that. I think of the church as the spiritual "nation of Israel", which the Bible says is – “blessed in order to be a blessing” – but I always thought of that in terms of activity: food given away, cars washed, money donated, moving boxes hauled – all the practical ways a community can “give” to others. But this idea that somehow the world is made a better place simply by the community “being” – just by the community “celebrating itself in love” is foreign to me. Refreshing, but foreign. So if Cathy & I and some others get together and have dinner and enjoy one another and celebrate together the wonder of God’s sovereignty in bringing us together as a community…this is “enough”? Only? Ever?

In personhood, there is a time for “be”ing and a time for “do”ing – as long as “do”ing flows out of “be”ing. So likewise with community. Anything we “do” must flow out of who we “are” and are “becoming” and that only happens as we dwell together.

King David wrote about this in Psalm 133:1-3 when he began:
Behold how good and pleasant it is
when brothers and sisters dwell together in unity
What I hear God saying in this:

I made you with an innate appreciation for being alone but, at a deeper level, I made you for community. I made you to be with others: you *need* them in order to *become* completely you. I’ve called you out to individuate, yes -- but a part of that leaving home and family is joining to a new home and family –- a new community I am building around you. The Orchard is a part of that but there is more/other besides that.

Before anything was created, I AM community. Out of me -- out of community -- springs all life and all personhood; all blessing.


Teach me my need for others. Teach me to seek them out and then allow them to be used by You to help me become who You’ve called me to be. May we gather together and learn to “be” as a community – that You may be shown to be a God of love and togetherness and peace in this busy and fast-paced world.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

New Growth

Today is the first day of Spring, and we're enjoying the warmth of brighter days and clearer skies.

We've begun meeting with another couple for weekly dinner and discussion. We've been sharing our stories thus far and looking forward to how we want to explore faith and community together. We come from a variety of faith backgrounds and levels of understanding, and are really enjoying the warmth of friendship and clearer futures.

The buds are just starting to form, but the growth deep inside (eagerly waiting to burst out and bloom!) is there and raising our hopes; fulfilling our dreams.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Kingdom & Missionality

Cathy & I recently attended a 2-day gathering in Vancouver, WA featuring Rev. Todd Hunter & Dr. Winn Griffin. It was an inspiring time, and I provided a tweet-stream under the hash-tag #kmvanc. For those of you who didn't get to follow it, you can get the stream here. As with a blog, you'll need to go to the last page and read bottom-to-top to get the chronological feel of it.

~ Keith

(I had thought of cutting and pasting each tweet, and creating links and such...but that would be WAY too much work!)