We Value Authenticity

Authenticity Teaching Segment Part 1 – by Susan Suzuki:

So authenticity has become one of those buzzwords that has worked its way from describing ethnic foods at restaurants to church.

So… As I watched this definition of authenticity on YouTube I was reminded of a Buddhist story I was told when I was a kid.

One day Buddha was sitting peacefully in his home, when suddenly the demon God Mara showed up knocking on his front door. Instead of freaking out or locking his door, Buddha invited the demon in for tea. Buddha decided he wanted to get to know Mara better.

Buddha made a choice in that moment and had enough courage to be vulnerable enough to invite Mara into his peaceful home. He invited Mara in to see grace, love and a feeling of belonging rather than seeing darkness and gloom. And… that is a powerful way to live.

I find this story fascinating, because I think it teaches us about embracing darkness and gloom whether it’s our own or others.  Darkness is not bad, it doesn’t need to be suppressed, it needs to be heard. These fears or gloomy astpects are as much a part of us as all of the good stuff, and if we suppress them we are denying ourselves of our wholeness and who we are.

So, if any darkness or negativity come up in your mind instead of hating them or rejecting them, take the time to accept them. This will change your human experience.

Just like in the spring, sometimes the darkest of days and the gloominess of rain will bring the most beautiful of flowers.

The Commons defines authenticity as a way for us to appreciate that we are all on very unique life journeys and that we don’t all need to look, act, or think alike to be able to learn and grow together. For us, it’s less about being authentic as a group … and recognizing that we are all authentic and unique people

I’m reminded of our Commons beach day. It was Susan Neudorf who said people must wonder who we are? When people look at our group they must wonder who we are because we are all so unique as individuals. We don’t appear to be a family gathering or church gathering and yet we are all here together.

What I love about our values series is that it’s been story based because if we share our stories it’s allowing us to connect as people and as a church. But more importantly to God because God has been in each of our stories. if we listen to God when he nudges us to send an encouraging word or to call someone we are in a small way being vulnerable but more importantly authentic.
Our insecuriritues can lead to fears but these also can lead to joy, creativity and love. Like it did for Buddha and Mara.

So if you choose compassion to deal with your insecurities because feeling vulnerable makes you feel alive and authentic even though there is no guarantee things will work out.

For Christians, our true self is found in Christ, and we are on a pilgrimage to become more like him. As 1 John 3:2 says: “We are now children of God, and what we will be has not yet appeared.” A greater reality awaits.

So, like the Israelites singing the Psalms of Ascent, we ought to look up and ahead to the even more authentic glories of Zion and her King.

Authenticity Part 2 – by Nina Zoomevele:

Here is a recording of Nina continuing our talk about Authenticity.

We ended out gathering with an interactive discussion. We asked people to share something from their bucket list, a lie and two truths about themselves.  Then everyone tried to guess which was which.

Click on the images below for the other talks in Our Values Series:

We Value Beauty

You might think it is a little strange for a Church Community to have Beauty as one of their values. You might be asking yourself “Why are these Commoners so focused on the superficial?” That is a good question, and if we were only dealing with appearances and surfaces, I would share your concern, but we use the word “Beauty” to talk about how the Creator made a world of beauty and when we are creative and add beauty to the world we reflect our creator. On Sunday, June 19th, 2017, Becca did a great job of talking about all the places she finds Beauty and what that means to her as part of our Teaching Series on our Core Values. You can listen in below.

Becca used lots of great photos in a power point to illustrate her stories, here are some of the images she used:

At the end of our gathering Becca asked us to each write our name on a piece of paper, we then went around the room writing one thing of beauty we saw in each person. Some of the observations were very specific and others were general character traits, but everyone went home with a word picture of themselves that reflected the unique and beautiful people God has created us to be.

Click on the images below for the other talks in Our Values Series: