I’ve come across a good number of provocative ideas in the past couple weeks that I would like to start digesting here.  Last Sunday, Pastor Guy Wasko at Trinity Grace Church – East Village gave good meaning to the church’s motto, “Joining God in the Renewal of all Things.”  During his sermon, he spoke about how the full Christian story explains fully the Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration.  This allows for a holistic and encompassing  Christian worldview.  Unfortunately, many churches only focus on half of the Christian story – the Fall and Redemption; Christianity becomes just another faith system and no longer a worldview.  

Consider this:

                                                                                        Full Story                                Half Story

Where did I come from?           Creation:                 Made in God’s image    

What went wrong?                       Fall:                        Sin enters the world              Born a sinner

How do we fix it?                         Redemption:            Life through Jesus                Life through Jesus Resurrection

What is my purpose?                   Restoration:            Renew all things                   Convert others, separate from

this world, wait for heaven


The more comprehensive perspective is holistic and explains how we can be in right relationship with God and Creation, and join God in the renewal of all things – allowing God’s will to be done “on Earth as it is in Heaven.”  In this perspective, God created the world and it was good (Genesis 1:31).   Humans desired to have the knowledge of God and sinned, known as “the Fall.” This brought Christians out of right relationship with God and the rest of creation.  But, because God loves all of his creation and wanted to give us another chance, he gave us Jesus.  Jesus came into this world to show us how to re-establish a positive relationship with our Creator, and as a demonstration of God’s love for us, accepted unjust accusations and punishment to the point of death, so that anyone else who wanted to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and reestablish right relationship with God could do so and continue God’s original plans for creation. We were created “in God’s image” which means we all have a little piece of divineness in us and were made to live in harmony with creation.  We are part of a larger ecosystem, fully dependent on God’s creation for our physical nourishment as we need to be dependent on God for our spiritual nourishment – as Norman Wirzba explains in his book “Food and Faith: A Theology of Eating.”  If we accept this humbling fact, that ties us to the Earth (humus), we can experience unfathomable joy – the joy that God has had in store for us from the beginning.

I was very excited to get a call from Steve Holt of TakePart.com (and former member of Boston Faith & Justice) who decided to write an article on food and faith and came across the NY Faith & Justice blogposts on the food justice working groups.  Because as he said, the connection between food and faith is one that is not made often enough. Check out this article he wrote: Faith and Fork Aligned: The Faithful Work to Feed Both Body & Soul .  And also check out this one by Jeremy John, "Is the Kingdom of God Built of Vegetables?"

But back to the holistic Christian perspective and worldview.  Pastor Guy says that a lot of his teachings are influenced by Andy Crouch (who I believe was also a founding member of Boston Faith & Justice, coincidentally, if I am not mistaken).  A quick search shows that he wrote the book “Culture Making:  Recovering our Creative Calling.”  Which, from the few pages I’ve read so far, speaks a lot to the importance of challenging the status quo with our lifestyle, to create new norms – new culture.  I think that’s part of what any intentional community is about.  In this day and age the necessity to be intentional in order to have real community is sad, but oftentimes true.  We need to create spaces where people feel welcomed and their ideas are listened to, and where new ideas and opportunities arise.   So, as God the gardener creates, we – made in his image and likeness – are called to create, too.  Called to create an alternative to the norms of a secular society that has lost its connection to its source, a society that has no real answer to the question, “why am I here?”    We are called to join God in the renewal of all things. Anything less than that is “too small a thing” (Isaiah 49:6).

What does it mean to join God in the renewal of all things?   Trinity Grace follows the rhythms of "God, Self, Others, World," so that we first make sure our focus is on God.  Then we look inside ourselves and seek to restore our own relationship with God.  Once we have a working relationship with God we can focus our energies on others - ensuring that our interactions with our brothers and sisters build community through positiveness, understanding, and forgiveness. As as turn our attention to the rest of the world, we will recognize the injustices faced by many.  Because God asks us to join him in the renewal of all things, we are challenged to work to reverse these injustices, eliminate disparities and restore right relationship between God’s people and between people and the land.  The number of systems that are unjust are numerous… education, healthcare, food and agricultural policy, environment, social services, housing, marketing, juvenile justice, politics etc.  Every system has issues that need to be addressed.  Each individual cannot make a difference by themselves, but when we join forces and recognize a common unity and humanity (through what some call the body of Christ, some call community, collaboration, solidarity, etc) – the potential of each person is multiplied many times over.  Hence the beauty of community and of sharing.  Each person does have the ability to make a difference when connected to others through a common shared understanding.  We can all be inspired by Jesus and by others who walked in his footsteps, such as those profiled in A Dangerous Dozen: 12 Christians Who Threatened the Status Quo and those who through perseverance, love of people, and relationship building, have established the value of the beloved community.