Monday, January 09, 2006

What's in a Name?

I've been thinking a lot about the Ring lately. Most of my time has been directed toward community groups and praying for ways to strengthen the community that is the Ring, but some of it has been broader in scope, asking even what it means to be "The Ring". What does the very name mean? How does it form and inform what we do as a community and how we define ourselves? I think for a long time we defined it as the thing we would put people into, if that makes sense. We were certainly not alone, as this is the generally accepted method for churches around the world.

As we've been giving it more thought, though, it seems that there are some different components to this name and what it might mean for us as a community. One of these new components we've discussed before and I'll post it again tomorrow night. For now, though, I'd like to talk about the Ring not so much as a "thing" or a "place" but as an aural reminder of a different reality.

Just as we're called to be salt and light, and even a pleasant aroma, I think the Ring is representative of our community simply sounding like good news to Baton Rouge. The picture I got while thinking about this was of the phones in The Matrix. When it begins, the phone ringing opens up a world of mystery for Neo and for us as the audience as well. There's a new reality lurking on the other side of that ring and Neo has to answer it and trust the message.

It takes a couple of times for the message to sink in, which is kind of important, too, but we'll talk about that stuff later ;) Towards the end of the movie, though, that ringing becomes more and more important. It's life or death, and when the people hear it, it brings simultaneously a sense of relief and urgency.

Can we be that sort of community? One that proclaims the Kingdom as good news and the truth of reality, even when it is unseen? When people are around us, do they feel drawn to the sense of relief we offer, or are we the type of "ring" that just annoys people. Do we sound off at the most inappropriate moments? Are we offering our world grace and hope? More importantly at the moment, are we the type of community that gives them freely to each other?

I think the choice is ours, we can be The Ring for Baton Rouge, a community being affected daily by the Kingdom. All we have to do is point to it, to how we see God moving to heal and redeem BR and the world, and to trust in His Kingdom when it seems more invisible than ever.


At 8:03 AM, Blogger taylor said...

I agree the choice is ours, and as we choose we only have to remember that we are first called to a person, Jesus, not to a thing or a place. From there as God directs our paths we will find our place or thing and live in that constantly conscious that we are His living for Him. At the same time for me it has not only been a decision to follow but also a need to follow. It has taken me a long time to realize this ‘calling’ is not just to me as an individual but to me as a part of a larger corporate calling, and that is where your giving freely to each other of grace and hope has shown me it is okay that I am traveling on a road that I have not arrived at the end of yet. This grace and hope has come from Jesus through people at The Ring and yes that sound draws people…at least this one ‘people’.

At 10:40 AM, Blogger Jared said...

wow, well put, taylor. i think there's a definite sense of community and corporate calling fulfilling that desire or need in me as well. there's always that need to feel connected to something larger than oneself, but for those who follow Jesus it means even more than just that. getting to know Jesus is a never-ending journey, and it's awesome that he invites us in to that relationship.

At 4:09 PM, Blogger Christina said...

I enjoyed reading what both of you wrote. good stuff.


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