Friday, August 12, 2011

Welcome around the fire bowl - Chris Whitler

As city mission workers, my wife and I were approached around 2003 by interested
supporters that wanted to help us buy a house. So we did what any one would do. We
put our stuff in storage, borrowed a fifth wheel trailer, parked it at our church, and lived in it for 6 months. Me, my wife and two sons lived in a fifth wheel on a church parking lot for 6 months.

Outside our fifth wheel sat the fire bowl, along with a ragtag collection of camping chairs and old metal folding chairs stenciled with the name of a long gone outreach group called "Heart of Fire Ministries." And a few nights a week, our community (young people, homeless people, a few crazy people, church people, family and friends) gathered around it. We lit a fire, talked, laughed, shared songs, stories, ideas and pipe tobacco. (Don't worry, we didn't give any tobacco to the young people.)

We never got a house. We moved out of the fifth wheel and rented a home. The fire
bowl lived on there for a while. Sometimes we lost our way around it. Another family
adopted it for a while. It's been in the rain for a few winters and has gotten quite rusty, but it’s still here.

I'd been kicking around the idea of starting a communal site for stories, songs and
discussion, but struggled with what to call it. I originally thought of "Some Points West", which I really liked. I got the idea listening to an audio book where the author was describing a train station announcement for "all points west." I thought that would be clever. Then I watched the movie "The Soloist" again and realized it's almost exactly the name of Steve Lopez's column in the LA times.

Then I remembered our fire bowl. So, welcome. Pull up a "Heart of Fire" chair, or if
you're lucky, a comfy camping chair, and let's listen and share together.

Our first few posts will explore themes around a scripture describing the early church in the book of Acts.

"They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved."

Was there a time in your life like this? Tell us about it.

1 comment:

  1. I think this chapter in my life comes closest to that scripture. For the first time I live a stone's throw from my church and am slowly but surely being surrounded by it's members. We devote ourselves to the apostle's teaching and fellowship. We break bread A LOT (sometimes the bread looks like tacos). These people are a joy to me and the point to which we share our lives feels very "book of Acts". The thing I feel missing in my own heart is being filled with awe. The crazy roads that led us all to this neighborhood, alone should fill me with awe. But those roads seemed stressful and didn't look at all like what I imagined. I'm trying to get out of my own way, though, so that the glad and sincere heart can take root.