Two Steps Forward... Hold

Tina-Marie Axenty, Nov 12, 2020, 12:07 AM
David Ruis National Director
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"Everything Jesus said and did was done in a place, just as everything we do is done in a place. All living is local: this land, this neighbourhood, these trees and streets and houses, this workplace, these people. One of the seductions that interferes with mature Christian living is the construction of utopias, ideal places where we can live the good life totally without inconvenience...But it always turns out that we can't actually do it. Utopia is literally "no place". We can only live in an actual place, not in an imagined or fantasized place." - Eugene Peterson

As leaders in the Canadian Vineyard we hold to a deep value of journeying "with" people. It's an anchor that reminds us that we are engaging with real people, in real time, in the trenches of real-life experience. It stands congruent with our
relational language that speaks of valuing people for their own sake regardless of the circumstances. It also resonates with our leadership model of "coming along side" rather than leading from a hierarchic position.

Like most values it is much easier to embrace in times of ease and can prove to be very challenging when there is struggle and conflict. In those moments of "real people" and "real life tension" we find that we have to lean into a greater source than ourselves for the how and the way. The fruit of the Spirit is as critical as the power. The practice of patience, humility and grace becomes very crucial to being able to hear one another well and in allowing space for differences in perspective and of opinion. The "way" we journey with each other through difficult times speaks of who we really are, what we really believe and has a deep value apart from where we land at the end of any process. The journey does matter, and the way is important!
Pacing. Reflection. Assessing. Resting. These are all part of a healthy journey.

As a Canadian Vineyard family, we have been in an intense yet very strategic season over the last few years. We have been wrestling with some complex, deeply personal and sensitive issues that touch on how we see scripture, how we see ourselves, and how we understand community as we reach for a more robust accountability right across the movement. We have attempted to dialogue and listen in a way that stays true to our value of journeying "with" each other striving to discover what healthy synergy looks like when it comes to different viewpoints, beliefs, experience and positions. Our desire has to been to not give into fear in any way and to truly hear each other. This is very challenging, especially when there are strongly held perspectives that differ. The lean into listening can feel like leaning into a hurricane force wind as one lets go of the attitude "if you really were listening to me, surely you would agree with me!" Open hands, open hearts and open ears require something different.

Far from this being lackadaisical or a 'wait and see" approach (which we fully understand some of you feel) it is intentional. Purposeful. And it takes time.

During one of our waiting and listening times in Montreal our National Team felt the Lord give a helpful picture for our Vineyard family. It was a picture of a specific "walking rhythm" of two steps forward, then, "hold ... hold" two steps forward, then, "hold ... hold". The stance represented by this admonition to "hold" has continued to come up again and again from right across the country. In all sorts of prayer and listening spaces, this word keeps bubbling to the surface. "Hold ... hold." It brings to mind the scene in "Braveheart" where Wallace's men are needing to hold their position, weapons and stance for breaking rank too early would certainly spell disaster.

Another clear word to us has been that of consolidation. Our newly formed Foundations Team amongst some other strategies within our National Initiatives have really taken this to heart. When we combine "hold" with that of "consolidation" this rhythm of "two steps forward ... hold - hold ... another couple of steps ... hold-hold" makes a lot of sense. The "how" is as important as the "what" during these next months through to the end of '19. Each step in our process and in our waiting brings more clarity as to our way forward.

We really believe that in continuing to give ourselves to this cadence we will be able to walk this out in the "real time, real world" and come to some "real discernment.," confidently stepping into "what seems good to us and to the Holy Spirit." (Acts 15)
Here's to this journey.

David and Anita Ruis