Guiding Principle: Anam Cara Community Will Attend to the Rhythm of Life

We’re beginning to discern our Guiding Principles for Anam Cara.

It will take some time.

Along with our Core Values, which we’ll elaborate on as well, the Guiding Principles are a field map to help us navigate work, ministry, and life together. Every community has them, whether they’re explicit or not, but we think it’s best to be explicit to help prevent us from getting lost.

Another way to think about it: the Core Values are what you hold dear. Your Core Practices are how you live out those values. Your Guiding Principles are the things that help you do both of those things well, like a map that steers you in the right direction so that you stay on course.

One of the Guiding Principles that Anam Cara discerned at our curator team meeting last week was that we would, like the ancient Celtic Christians who provided us with our name, pay attention to the rhythms of life when deciding what to do next.

Basically: we’re going to take Ecclesiastes 3:10 seriously and try to use it as a lens for our work and projects. We’ll constantly be asking ourselves, “What time is it?”

Is it a time to launch a new thing, or does this feel forced? Is it the time do record that offering, or is it out of synch with where we are?

When the pandemic hit many people prepped for summer planning and programming as if nothing much was changing. Some even sent out stewardship letters for the Spring that didn’t even note the health, financial, and emotional crisis we were all going through!

That’s an instance of paying attention to a different way of being in the world out of synch with the rhythm of life. Take a nod from our ancient siblings, we’re going to apply the wisdom of looking at the proverbial-and actual-leaves of the trees, the smell of the air, the feel of the river, to see where the Divine mind is pointing humanity.

Jesus spoke about this sort of thing all the time, by the way (Luke 12:56, for instance). I’m pretty sure his agrarian metaphors and parables were not just because he lived in an agrarian society, but also because he knew that, as part of creation, humans needed to listen to such teachers.

The idea isn’t that God is hiding revelation in the leaves of grass (though Whitman might like the idea), but rather that as creating creators humans must attend to the rhythms of creation. When we don’t, we kind of get out of whack.

And yes, that sort of rhythm changes depending on where you are in the world! Spring is in the air for our siblings in the lower hemisphere while, just this morning, my boys were celebrating that it finally felt like Autumn here.

The idea isn’t that it will be the same for everyone, but rather that it must be attended to depending on your context.

Context matters. We’re trusting that’s true, and so we’re trying to pay attention to it.

All of this is why, though we had some wonderful ideas for a podcast and an initial video and call to action at our last meeting, we discerned it wasn’t the time. The time is coming…we think we have a sense of when it will be, but the start date isn’t dependent on economic realities, convenience, or any of those other time-tables we’ve all forced upon our calendar.

No.

The start date is more aligned with the Liturgical calendar, with the movement of the earth, with the rhythm of our bodies.

In this way we think we’ll be able to keep our core values central, live and breathe our core practices, and be authentic to what we’re being called to form here.

More soon, but before you go let me ask you: are you in rhythm these days? If so, what keeps you there?

And if not, what would it look like to be more attuned to the heartbeat of the Divine in the world?

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