I am eternally grateful to Dallas Willard for gently and patiently opening my eyes to the reality of the kingdom of God in and around me right here, right now. Like many Christians I had come to experience relating to God as someone who loved me dearly, dearly enough to sacrifice His very life for me and enough to give me His Word so that I could know His heart and mind better. I had been blessed by significant intimate interactions with God through Scripture. Yet it wasn’t until I read Dallas Willard’s Hearing God that I came to sense that God might actually want to carry on a personal dialogue with me, not contrary to Scripture, but as a natural outflow of what I was learning about Him through His Word.
I have been blessed with three beautiful daughters who I love dearly. As I was reading Dallas’s book a dear mentor of mine, Maureen Donohue, asked me if I would be satisfied to give my girls a book filled with descriptions of how much I loved them and then step back and not continue to interact with them. I was humbled for how much greater is God’s love for me than the best expressions of love I can muster for my girls.
Then I read Dallas’s Divine Conspiracy and was introduced to what seemed like a radical notion to me at the time. He suggested that eternal life is not something I am waiting to enter into when I die but a quality of life that became available to me the moment I opened myself to Jesus’s work in my life. I had been involved in doing “mission” for God from the time I was in high school but the thought that God was inviting me into partnership with Him in what He is doing in the world transformed my life. I was challenged to reconsider my plans in light of the availability of the resources of His kingdom rather than limiting myself to the resources I could rationally count on.
Twelve years ago I began to partner with Brian Donohue living out the reality of the Kingdom of God in a squatter community in Mexico. Brian had spent years fleshing out Jesus’s teaching on His kingdom with stories and illustrations that spoke to teens. I began to take groups of teens to Cuirim House in Mexico to experience Brian’s teaching and the reality of that teaching lived out with Mexican brothers and sisters serving children and families in the surrounding community. As the years passed I saw the value of inviting parents to join their children in this experience and watched how deeply they were touched by the reality of the Kingdom of God among us as Brian taught and led us. At the heart of Brian’s challenge to us was that the reality of God’s kingdom was not limited to serving in a place like Nogales but was available to us in our own homes and communities.
With that reality in mind we are thrilled to be able to partner with Brian to offer the foundations of this teaching in a one day Coracle retreat here in Baltimore on April 28th. The flow of the day will be true to the ethos of a Coracle retreat providing rich times of discussion and reflection around Brian’s teaching coupled with ample time to be alone with God in a comfortable home surrounded by acres of beautiful woods to explore. If you would like to join us you can register here. Spots are limited in order to maintain the intimacy of our community for a day. We hope this will be the beginning of partnering with Brian and Cuirim Outreach in the months and years ahead.
Thanks be to God that He has not left us alone but is alive and well and moving among us to bring us and our contexts further up and further into the reality of His kingdom!