You are given two okra, one teaspoon of tartar sauce, a clam, a quail, some scorching hot sauce, maple syrup, ginseng and some blackberries. Your instructions are to prepare a gourmet meal.
Even the most creative chef might scratch his head for a bit at how to leverage that combination into a masterpiece.
I feel that way about our upcoming seminar on “Leadership in the Mercy Season” which will be held in Grey Forest, TX.
The city is outside San Antonio. It is less than one square mile in land mass and has a population of under 500 people.
It is a Mercy city. For the last 100 years, it has been a refuge for the power players from San Antonio who want to escape the intensity of their jobs by coming home to some external tranquility and internal disengagement in a safe context. Artists gravitate there for the subdued emotional climate that induces their hidden treasures to emerge.
They are so committed to being non-transactional and non-transformational that there are (apparently) only three businesses in the whole city.
Into this milieu is coming the SLG tribe which is not overly defined by tranquility. That hates disengagement. That has been known to play havoc with safe contexts. That is passionate about being transactional. And transformational.
On the surface, this looks like about as much fun as giving a pedicure to a centipede with restless leg syndrome.
So . . . how do we pray in such a way that the gift of the city becomes an asset to the Kingdom, when it has been hugely hijacked to provide mere soul solace to the secular mindset?
Clearly we will have to bring our own fire and vision for transformation. One would hope that our tribe is sufficiently robust that we can transcend the culture of security and comfort for a single day.
But in terms of receiving from the land – as it is, not how we wish it were – I see several things.
-Grey Forest has taken the Mercy’s passion for a complete ecosystem to a very high level. Since we are talking about how to create a new culture, this anointing for completeness, with every moving part both receiving and giving, should enrich our discussions.
We will be talking about changing a culture. A culture cannot be changed with one or two edicts from the top. Most of the decisions in a culture have to be rethought and then executed for wildly different reasons.
-Grey Forest has a hundred year history of working hard on intimacy. This is remarkable since a high percentage of people living there are supposedly power brokers in the big city, but they managed to put on a very different hat and be neighborly and deeply connected when they come home from the place of conquest and construction.
SLG is passionately about producing change. At this point in our journey, it is harvest time, which requires a big push. Harvest is normally framed around hard work, long hours and the deferring of relational stuff for another time. Since we are trying to establish intimacy as a pre-requisite for the harvest, the city might have some fascinating resources to release to us.
-Creative excellence abounds in Grey Forest. Just on a hunch, I did a search for “Grey Forest Texas artists” and came up with 493,000 hits. WHAT? Apparently in addition to the reclusive artists, there is an annual display of not only paint on canvas, but the artistic magnificence of gardens and back yards.
One would certainly wish that the creative excellence of SLG in crafting exquisitely beautiful and functional cultures for the Mercy Season harvest would become famous enough that people would travel far to explore and experience the unparalleled treasures of our tribe.
(Hint: We aren’t there yet.)
-Time is one of the treasures of Grey Forest that is not overtly touted on their website, but is clearly an asset. The original vision of the city – which has been assiduously maintained for a century – is that it should be a different tempo than the hard charging big city a stone’s throw away. People effectively shift gears from one cultural norm regarding time to another, when they come home from work.
I wonder what that could mean for us. Normally, I pour it on when I am together with you, trying to take maximum advantage of the face time to equip you for transformation. I wonder if the anointing of the city would enable us to take a slower pace and achieve a deeper transformation with less soul data transfer.
Gonna have to chew on that one.
-The greatest treasure of the city does not show anywhere in the web. It is a greater capacity to experience God. The city is admittedly committed to the excellence and supremacy of the soul, with minor overtones of physical nurture (one of the three businesses is a spa!)
But God was there first and He designed the city to be a place where the membrane between heaven and earth was a bit thinner than the next city over. A few thousand years of ignoring heaven doesn’t change God’s original design. It simply means the deposit available for us is larger and more deeply aged for having been ignored by many.
So I invite you to pray into the land dynamics at our seminar on April 1st. Let the richness of this community’s treasures be woven together with the richness of our tribe to produce some amazing new colors of revelation of God’s wisdom.
Join me in worshipful intercession for God’s Kingdom to be manifested next weekend.
Copyright March 2017 by Arthur Burk