Igniting the Divine Spark

Cindy Todd at Fledge welcome

Cindy Todd at Fledge welcome

Last night Tom and I attended the welcome for the new cohort of Fledge: A conscious company incubator. Up there on the stage was MSA’s own Cindy Todd.  We are so proud of Cindy and all she is doing.

“You are my hero” Tom told Cindy at our last MSA team training day. The launch of the Snohomish Soap Company, inspires us with a unique business model that is exciting the attention of many who like us think Cindy’s entrepreneurial approach is brilliant.  She has been featured in TED talks(fast forward to 1hour-4min. for Cindy’s part) and PCC’s promotional flyerand now the Fledge conscious company incubator. Her dedication to helping those at the margins by empowering them to develop small businesses, incentivizes all of us to apply our God given creativity to new entrepreneurial models that will sustain us in our volatile world.

The next event on the MSA calendar is Cindy Todd’s workshop, Igniting the Divine Spark. We are all looking forward to hearing more about what has ignited her divine spark and inspired the creativity that lay dormant for many years of her life.

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Let the Newness Emerge – MSA Imaginings January 2013

Photo by Nick Lipinski

Photo by Nick Lipinski

God as this new year dawns,

May we take time to see the newness you are giving birth to.

May we not be blinded by the darkness that consumes our world.

Or consumed by the fear that paralyzes our actions.

May we remember,

Out of winter’s darkness you bring forth light,

Out of winter’s death you give birth to new life.

From New Year’s Prayer 

This prayer reflects much of the hope and despair we felt at the end of last year. The hope and promise of Christ’s return was tainted by the horror of Sandy Hook and the uncertainty of the world economy.  As we look to the future however, we find hope and promise in the new things God is giving birth to. We look forward, not just to personal change, but to a future in which society is transformed and healing finally comes for the broken, justice for the poor, peace for the nations and restoration to creation

In a volatility and uncertainty world we too need to allow the spirit of God to stir our imaginations and encourage the newness of God to emerge. We need fresh ways to strengthen our faith and equip us to be God’s compassionate response in our communities and around the globe.

Return to Our Senses in Lent

Newness must begin with our faith Our volatile world calls for new forms of prayer and spiritual disciplines that weave intimacy with God into every aspect of life encouraging us to reach out with compassion and love. Lent which begins February 13th, is a season to reflect and refocus our faith. It is a time to ask ourselves: How do I need to change to be a more effective follower of Christ in the future? As was mentioned yesterday, this will be the focus of our Lenten disciplines this year and we hope that you will join us.

  1. We have just completed a study guide for Return to Our Senses: Reimagining How We Pray and invite you to participate in a Lenten study that will draw you closer to God and equip you to respond in compassion and love to God’s needy world. The guide can be downloaded free and Return to Our Senses will be available at a special discounted price to facilitate its use.
  2. This will also be the theme for the Godspace Lenten series. The daily reflections and activities throughout the season will complement the resources in Return to Our Senses. We hope you will accept the challenge and use them to develop new disciplines that equip you to respond to God’s needy world. Or perhaps you would like to join the Godspace writing community and contribute your own approaches to innovative, experiential prayer. Our insights can inspire each other to new levels of commitment.
  3. February 16th I will facilitate a Lenten retreat at the Mustard Seed House here in Seattle. We invite you to join us in a time of reflection and refocusing. Allow new forms of prayer to be woven into your life so that you can become all that God intends you to be.  

Igniting the Divine Spark

The second place newness needs to emerge is in the unleashing of our creativity. Our God is a god of unlimited imagination and has placed the divine spark of that creativity within each of us. To provide for ourselves and continue to be generous to those at the margins we need new economic initiatives. Cindy Todd continues to inspire us with the creative business model on which Snohomish Soap is founded. And it is not just us who are inspired. She was featured this last month in Puget Sound Co-operative’s news, and at the end of the month her model will be touted in a TED talk as one of the new and innovative business models for the future.

Throughout February and March Cindy and others will post on the MSA blog about creative business models and the ways that God ignited the divine sparks that gave rise to these. March 16th this will culminate in a workshop Cindy will facilitate at the Mustard Seed House entitled Igniting the Divine Spark. So save the date. This will be an exciting and instructive event.

Unleashing our Imaginations

It is not just in economic provision that God wants to unleash creativity. My husband Tom is busily engaged in research for a new book on creativity and imagination, exploring ways to move from Biblical vision to new design for church, ministry, housing, simplification and sustainable living. He is excited about how God is stirring the imagination and creativity of ordinary people to advance God’s purposes and engages the challenges or our turbulent world.

God is doing something new in our midst and we ask you to help us connect to those at the creative edge. If you know of imaginative business models, ministries, churches or approaches to housing please let Tom know. These will continue to fuel his weekly blog posts so check the MSA blog regularly for new insights.

Teaching in Australia

For our Australian friends who would like to explore these themes in more detail, please consider joining us in Adelaide in June. Tom and I will be teaching an intensive: Reimagining Faith for Turbulent Times at Tabor College in Adelaide Australia in June 2013. Still room & time to sign up. We would love to have some of our friends join us.

Not All That Emerges is New.

Please continue to pray for the launch of Cascadia/CCSP in September this year and let your friends know. It is time for students to sign up and we need your help in getting the word out.

Join MSA Board member Mary De Jong:

For a retreat at the Whidbey Institute in Chinook March 8-10.

For a pilgrimage to Iona off the west coast of Scotland, May 12-20.

Dates you might be interested in:

Return to Our Senses in Lent – Retreat at the Mustard Seed House February 16th

Igniting the Divine Spark – workshop with Cindy Todd at the Mustard Seed House March 16th.

We appreciate your prayers and support as we move into the newness that is emerging.

Why are We Making Soap?

Snohomish Soap Company soap

Soap at the Snohomish Soap company comes in many forms

Yesterday I posted that Cindy Todd MSA team member and founder of Snohomish Soap Company will hold a workshop on Spirituality and Soap  at the Mustard Seed House and I know that some of you are asking – Why make soap and what does that have to do with following Jesus or with Mustard Seed Associates? 

This morning I read this post on the Do Lectures 2011 – 5 Lessons on How to Love Life and Improve the World Around You.  It makes inspiring reading.  The first lesson from speaker Steve Edge  was: Things are not the way they are.  We don’t have to settle for the status quo.  We all have the power to decide to be different, to go against the grain, to stand out, to stand up.  Hmm now that could easily be something that Jesus told his disciples.  We are indeed called to be different and to make a difference in this world.

In another article on the Do Lectures entitled What Can You Uniquely Do ,graphic designer Frank Chimero in his talk about the gift of giving is reported as saying:

… use your gifts to “build a machine that turns into a gift giving machine.” Frank’s Big Do is this: “How can we uncover the auspicious wonder that lies at the heart of making?”

We can make a living and make a difference in this world if we are willing to step out and take a risk and that is at the core of who we are and what MSA is all about.  We increasingly want to inspire and equip people to step out into the ways of God.  To see that God has uniquely gifted each of us to be co-creators with the living God in our unique ways that can make a difference in God’s world.

And that is part of what Cindy is showing with her soap business.  What began as a way to help her and her family survive in difficult financial times has become a thriving business that highlights the importance of local sustainability while providing jobs for single parent mums.  It has networked her into the local community.  It has exposed her to the stuggles and dreams of others who make their livings through small businesses.  And underlying it are her Christian values and a desire to make a difference in God’s world.  One of her dreams is to help women with disabled kinds in the Ukraine learn to make soap as a cottage industry.  I love to hear what Cindy has learned about God and faith through her business creation and I know that there are many in God’s world who are blessed because she has stepped out in this way.

How have you used the unique gifts God has placed within you to make a difference in this world?

 

 

The Spirituality of Soap

Cindy's soap

Looking forward to the spirituality and soap seminar with Cindy Todd

For months now I have been trying to convince Cindy Todd the founder of Snohomish Soap Company and MSA team member that she needs to hold a workshop on spirituality and soap here at the Mustard Seed House.  And now it is happening.  I am so excited.  I love Cindy’s soap and a great idea for inexpensive gifts, but more than that I love her attitude to business formation too which I kno she will share more about so hope that you can join us.

Its going to be a good day!  Come to Mustard Seed House October 29th 11am – 2pm to learn about the spirituality of soapmaking and share your own “clean” stories about how God can use unexpected things to help us learn more about him.  Hint:  Its all about process and transformation…

In this hands-on workshop, Cindy Todd, MSA team member and owner of the Snohomish Soap Company, will teach hot and cold process soapmaking, use of color and fragrance, plus…you’ll leave with your own bar or two. Everything you’ll need is included in the $40 fee.

Prepare for a home made holiday with a couple of bars to take home!

Tea, coffee, and snacks provided.

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A Small Indulgence

One of the joys for me of the last couple of weeks is that I now have an assistant.  Cindy Todd, who last year finished an MBA at Eastern University is now working with me two days a week.  It is a huge relief not just to have someone to help with the daily details but also to help us brainstorm about the future in new ways so that we can develop new ways to help followers of Christ live into the kingdom of God.

Cindy is currently working as a volunteer, in spite of the fact that both she and her husband are unemployed and busily looking for work.  (Her husband Dennis is a construction worker.)  However Cindy would love to work towards making this a full time job.  So if you would love it if you would prayerfully consider joining Cindy’s support team.  You could do this by donating to MSA and designating it for Cindy.

Cindy is in the process of launching a new business – The Snohomish Soap Company to help the family income.  I just started using one of her soaps this morning – and would heartily recommend them if you want something wonderfully fragrant and indulgent (or even if you just want to support the MSA ministry in this way).