We believe that, as Brian McLaren so wonderfully phrases it, “the church… must be above all a school of love.” Worship, mission, biblical study, evangelism, and all else we can do as a church have their origins and fulfillment in love. More specifically, in our ability to hold loving relationship between God, self, and others. And this is not easy! It takes learning, practice, and Spirit’s help to grow our ability to live out the Christ’s Way of loving!
In our “School of Love,” this is just what we do! We gather to learn relational skills such as “healthy boundaries,” “overcoming feelings of guilt and shame,” “what to do with anger,” “how to engage in true dialogue,” “honoring the humanity of all people,” and more! We first learn them by looking at scripture, to see how Jesus taught and modeled such relational interactions for us. And we learn how the Christ Spirit teaches us how to love well through other Wisdom Teachers and mystics, such as Martin Buber, Ivan Nagy, Thomas Merton, Richard Rohr, Cynthia Bourgeault, the Buddha, Christine Valters Paintner, Thich Nhat Han, Meister Eckart, the Enneagram, and many others.
Not just a place of rote learning, our School of Love is discussion and interaction based. We share our ideas about the topics, share real-life stories and needs to work on together, and sometimes engage in practices such as role playing scenarios, artistic expressions, symbolic actions to understand ourselves better, and other hands-on learning.
While we gather to look deeply at our personal spirituality, and to do so in the context of an intentional community, this is not intended to be the extent of our faith lives. The inward exploration is always meant to lead to outward action. That is, we don’t work on our own spiritual practices of loving relationship just for self-improvement. We work on these spiritual practices with the intention that they will move all that we do toward living further into the Christ’s Way of Love. By learning better how to meet others in loving relationship as the Christ does, we are aware that all of our interactions with others, and perhaps all that we do, is done with greater love. As we do our spiritual work, and are intentional about how we interact with the world, our inward work of learning to relate like Jesus improves our outward expressions of love for all of God’s creation.