The Art of Being in Community

Last Sunday was Trinity Sunday, the day when we focus on God as Trinity.  One comment our priest made really impacted me.  He said that when we think of God we rarely think of the Trinity.  As I thought about that after the service I realized how true that is.  And because we do not think of God as Trinity, we do not think about God as community either.  Nor do we think about God’s revelation in the rich and diverse community of human kind and of all creation around us.  This morning as I read Richard Twiss’s thoughts in the Mosaic Bible I was reminded of this.

Every day our lives are painted in color, in light, in beauty and in mystery.  We walk in a world of day and night, wind and rain, heat and warmth.  We share this planet with myriad species of living things.  We dwell with women and men of many languages, cultures, appearances and nations.

This diversity is an ‘earthen image” of the mystery of God.  It is a reflection of the diverse, interrelated community shared by God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.  Before Creation, God already existed in diverse community.  The relationship enjoyed by the Trinitarian sovereign was a glorious experience of divine love, coequality, mutuality, interdependence, unity, affirmation, righteousness, peace and more.

The next gathering at the Mustard Seed House will be about community and we would love to have you join us.

The Art of Being in Community:

An afternoon of food & conversations

We are inviting you to come together with other friends (old and new) interested in Christian community (new monastic, intentional residential/non- residential, proximity communities, hyper-local,  faith communites) for an afternoon of good food, conversation and community.

Bring BBQ food to share (meats, veg, drinks, bread, dessert. fruit – we are still working on the possibility of having some grills in location for us to cook). We will have a casual time to get to know each other. There will also be two structure time of conversations related to the art of living in community – Desolations and Consolations in Community.

Facilitated by Eliacín Rosario-Cruz, Ricci Kilmer and you.

Register online :

When? Saturday, June 26, 2010 – 4:00 – 7:00 PM

Where? Mustard Seed House (this location might change, stay tuned.)

Who can come? Anyone involved and interested in community. Families are encouraged to come.

This is an open invitation, but  spaces are limited  – Registration via is required in order for people to know how much food to bring for sharing.

Suggested donation of $10-20 will go to support the ministry of Mustard Seed Associates. No one will be turn away for lack of money.

Please contact Eliacín – – if you have any questions.

Inspiration from Geez Magazine: Neo Monasticism also known as Ordinary Life in the Neighbourhood

Our good friend, community member and colleague Eliacin Rosario Cruz has just written a thought provoking response to an article published in Geez Magazine – one of my favourite publications.  The original article Changing the Story of Change, raises some important issues.

Hosting visiting groups to New Jerusalem Now, a grassroots addiction treatment community in North Philly, is starting to feel like poverty tourism. The purpose of the day’s activities is to give the youth group an experience that will hopefully inspire them to care about “the poor.” I think that’s what ignites my anger – Shante should be the most important person in this little gathering, but she’s not. She’s a means to an end, the end being to inspire young, white, suburban Christian youth to be more conscious of poverty. They’re the most important people in the gathering; the day’s events are more about them than the people who live in the recovery community they’re visiting. The privileged suburban kids are at the centre of the narrative.

Read the entire article here

Eliacin’s response is even more thought provoking.

Growing up in my barrio I witnessed many acts of evil and wonderful deeds of love and compassion. I lived among the poor, I was one of the poor. We were poor together. We knew it but we didn’t pay much attention to it, because we had to live. We couldn’t sit around discussing how political, religious or other people’s movements could influence and inspire us in our desire for liberation from poverty. We worked, loved and tried to make sense of our experiences as people – not poor people, simply as people.

Read the article here

Pray for Us At Mustard Seed Associates

Once a month I produce a monthly update and prayer request letter for Mustard Seed Associates.  I thought that you might be interested in seeing the various events and projects we are involved in.  We would appreciate your prayers for all that is happening.  


May 11th, 2009


Dear Prayer Partner,

Greetings to you all on a beautiful spring day in Seattle.  Thank you for your prayers and encouragement over this last busy month which enables us to continue to move forward in some exciting directions.


  • We all continue to rejoice at the growth and development of little Elias and his older brother and sister Gabriel and Catie.  They are all an important part not just of our Mustard Seed House community but also of Mustard Seed Associates.  Catie is particularly excited about the upcoming annual Celtic retreat in August and is a very active participant in planning the children’s program.  
  • Eliacín has had many opportunities over this last month.  He spoke about Intentional communities at Northwest University and participated, with 23 sisters and brothers in a weekend of discernment about the future of Emergent Village.  He also continues to connect with a larger group of intentional communities in the Northwest and abroad and is looking forward to participating in the Cohousing National Conference in Seattle June 24 – 28. More info here 
  • We are very grateful for those who have supported Eliacín’s travels and participation in these events with finances and accommodation.  His networking has enabled all of us to both broaden our networks and to provide constructive input and resources that we believe strengthen God’s kingdom purposes.  
  • Tom continues work on the Recession Readiness manual and is currently looking for examples of what churches and individuals are doing in response to the growing economic pressures.  He has even started blogging about this at the MSA blog.  Read his latest entry here
  • I am grateful for the many opportunities that I have had over the last month.  The Spirituality of Gardening seminar was a great success and will be repeated May 30th.  Read the report here.  The garden manual Gardening with God is now available for download and I am delighted at some of the enthusiastic responses we have had to this resource.  I have also just returned from a very enriching week at OMSC in New Haven Connecticut where I was teaching a course on spiritual renewal.  Students came from India, China, Indonesia, Korea, Uganda, Madagascar, Myanmar, Nigeria, Philippines, and Japan.  Read the report here
  • Judy continues to work on the Seed Sampler which is generating more discussion each month. The April issue on Suburban Missional Church and Rural Intentional Community in particular sparked discussions about meeting the needs of people where you are. Read comments on Kathy’sTodd’s, and Jason’s articles.  
  • We continue to meet together in the Mustard Seed House for morning and evening prayers.  We were privileged a couple of weeks ago to participate in Dustin Cross’s ordination which will enable him to more effectively carry out his work with the homeless in Seattle 


Prayer Requests for May

  • Pray for an engaging and fruitful Pentecost Seattle 2009, a greater Seattle Ecumenical Conversation to happen in May 16 which MSA is a collaborator. Find more information at
  • Pray for Emergent Village as the network discerns ways to move into the future with great hope as momentum continues to build, seeking to turn words and ideals into action.
  • Pray for the upcoming MSA events – The Spirituality of Gardening May 30th and The Annual Celtic Prayer retreat August 14 – 16. (please put in hyperlinks) and for our upcoming opportunities to participate and speak at other events:
  • Pray of the effectiveness of the Recession Readiness manual and the Gardening with God resources that are available this month.  Our hope is that God will use both these resources to enable Christians to more effectively engage the challenges of these tough economic times
  • Pray for Judy and her work on the upcoming Seed Samplers on Encountering the “Other” and Writing as Spiritual Discipline.  If you would be interested in contributing let me know.  
  • Pray for the work that all of us on the MSA team continue to do to develop curricular resources for followers of Jesus.  Pray particularly for the growing network of collaborators we have enlisted to help with the Living on Purpose and Community cultivation and companioning segments of this.  
  • Pray for Stacy Christ from North Carolina who will be with us over the summer as an intern. We would also appreciate your prayers for a volunteer administrative assistant 10 hours a week.   
  • Pray for MSA’s continuing financial needs in these challenging economic times.  We are still in need of $3,000 to cover Eliacín and Ricci’s salary for 2009 and for $6,000 to raise Judy’s support to its full level.   Please pray about the possibility of joining our support group at this time. 


New Monasticism and White Privilege

Here is an interesting article that my good friend Eliacin contributed to the God’s Politics discussion on new monasticism and white privilege. 

It is not by chance that it is hard to find people of color as prominent figures in spreading the vibes of New Monasticism through books, conferences, and new media. This also true of many other new emerging expressions of contemporary Christianity.

Read the entire article