One of the things that I like about the Rule of Northumbria is the positive nature of the Rule. They are not against things, they define themselves as what they are for. In this long year of political campaigning, one of the things that can get lost is what people are for. The church in its history has often been seen for what it is against. Many believe this is all we are about. Try sometime to write what you are "for" without reference to what you are "against". It's not easy!
From the Rule:
We are called to intentional, deliberate VULNERABILITY:
We embrace the vulnerability of being teachable expressed in:
a discipline of prayer;
in exposure to Scripture;
a willingness to be accountable to others in ordering our ways and our heart in order to effect change.
We embrace the responsibility of taking the heretical imperative:
by speaking out when necessary or asking awkward questions that will often upset the status quo;
by making relationships the priority, and not reputation.
Yesterday a new friend of mine asked me how I managed a certain aspect of my job and life. It wasn't a question of information, it was a question that asked if I would be vulnerable enough to reveal the truth of my life. He was genuinely concerned. There was a moment when I had to determine my level of vulnerability and answer if he could be trusted. Since I've been reading this "Rule" I decided I could be honest and vulnerable.
Many times in the church we shy away from vulnerability, because we believe that those we are with will not receive us if they know us. Beyond that we shy away from asking of ourselves and each other awkward questions because we're afraid of being rejected out-of-hand. But this is the way to honest relationships. By avoiding the awkward question we avoid being real. Once again we are a step or two away from the truth of the incarnation.
To be vulnerable to God is much the same. How much do we pray only what we deem is respectable and not what is honest. I think this is why so many have recommended and used the Psalms as a prayer book. Not for the rote nature of the prayers, but the prompting of the Psalmist to be honest and vulnerable before God. We are good at posturing. But it is hard to assume the posture of honest penitent.
The world wants and needs our yes to vulnerability.
Let's unfold more of this in the days to come.