Wildflower Revolution


Painting by Hillary Osborne

What I saw in Zimbabwe, Africa changed my life.   I’m calling this movement a “Wildflower Revolution.” In a neglected refugee camp, I caught a vision for what the Church can be.  As this vision has grown, I had to share it, inviting you to become a part of the conversation.





  • I would like to start a conversation about what it looks like to be participatory in a worship service??? Thoughts, ideas?

    • @Stacy, Thanks for your question about participation in service. Like everthing here, this is an ongoing conversation. Here’s a couple of thoughts. What if the teaching time went right into conversation instead of silence. Coffee and tea carts could be placed in several locations with questions on small tables. Now take one more step. What if people were encouraged to question, share, poke, and critique without any fear? There’s more. Not everyone wants to talk. What about different spaces throughout the room that allowed people to experience the mystery and love of God. For example, candles to be lit, prayers to be prayed, or even activities such as writing encouragement cards, or small acts of social justice. People could come to a worship gathering with options. There’s a meal to be shared, conversations, teachings, community singing, social just activities, candlees to be lit. Movement, participation, questions can happen at any time.

  • Also, how do we involve kids in the service, or do we?

    • @Stacy, Yes! Yes! Yes! What I love about the way we have started our ‘Wildflower’ gatherings is that we are experimenting each week. For example, next week we are learning about the theme of “Spiritfed” and we will have communion at each table with our families. I also like the idea of art/craft ideas that incorporate theme of the week.

  • Luke and I have brainstormed several ideas regarding what participatory worship could look like. We love the idea of starting out with a social/fellowship time that woule include chatting while eating dinner or simply dessert and coffee. It is nice to be able to come in to a worship service and actually connect with one or two people instead of coming and going with little interaction at all. Round tables that promote interaction is a great way to accomplish this. I would love to see the kids be involved by helping to set tables before eating and/or clear tables after eating. It’s a simple task that even my 4 1/2 year old could do. And they are making a terrific contribution. Luke and I also discussed incorporating art into worship. We could have different people create a piece that pertains to the teaching or we could ALL contribute somehow to a piece of art, tangible or not, that pertains to the teaching. The kids, too, could create something before, during and even after discussion/teaching time that is applicable and that could be a take away/visual reminder/visual reflection of what was taught. More ideas to come from the Jay fam!

    • @Luke @Becca, I love these ideas! Keep them coming. I also loved the floor layout that Luke drew up. We want to decenter the teaching and put community in the center. We also talked with eachother about each small group dreaming about a community project and then the larger group givine the resources to make it happen. Keep the ideas coming!

  • Dale, as always, really nice work (nb: I listened to the audio download). Here are just a few of the many directions my mind went as you were speaking–specifically on the word “revolution” and the metaphor of a wildflower.

    [1] a story I heard awhile back on NPR, “How ‘Communism’ brought racial equality to the South.” Now, I know King, himself, was not a Communist, but what historian Robin Kelley (University Oxford) said in this NPR interview on his new book might offer the church (or was this too the church?) at least a conversation partner on the meaning of this word “revolution.” He says, “And part of it has to do with a long history and the Cold War, and the fact that we think of communists as these terrible horrendous people. But more importantly, if you think of them as somehow outside of American culture and history, when what I and others who have written on similar areas have argued, is that is very much native and home grown. I mean, the Communist Party in Alabama, they began their meetings with a prayer. These were Christians. These people believed in Jesus, in redemption.” http://goo.gl/51PQC

    [2] Here is perhaps another conversation partner for the church, the philosopher Slavoj Zizek, who during an OWS rally in NYC said: “The only sense in which we are Communists is that we care for the commons. […] They [the Right] are telling you we [the Occupy movement] are not American here. But the conservatives fundamentalists who claim they really are American have to be reminded of something: What is Christianity? It’s the holy spirit. What is the holy spirit? It’s an egalitarian community of believers who are linked by love for each other, and who only have their own freedom and responsibility to do it. In this sense, the holy spirit is here now. And down there on Wall Street, there are pagans who are worshiping blasphemous idols. So all we need is patience. The only thing I’m afraid of is that we will someday just go home and then we will meet once a year, drinking beer, and nostalgically remembering “What a nice time we had here.” Promise yourselves that this will not be the case. We know that people often desire something but do not really want it. Don’t be afraid to really want what you desire. Thank you very much.” http://goo.gl/jna7W

    He sounds like a preacher, afraid of everybody going home to football on Sunday, nostalgically remembering the nice time everybody had on Sunday!

    [3] And finally, not sure how these next two videos fit the metaphor, but wildflowers are nothing without their pollinators, which are dying precipitously at the mercy of our anthropocene age, our pesticides, etc. Here are two couple min clips from the BBC on the amazing worlds of “living-with” and “becoming” usually off our radar, between wildflowers and their necessary companion: 1) http://goo.gl/N5AkN and 2) http://goo.gl/rx2I0 (perhaps, in the vein that the church, as a flower, needs an agitator, like a “gadfly,” like Socrates?, like the Prophets of old–I don’t think that really works with what you were saying, at least not yet, but it’s where my mind first went).

    Again, thanks for bringing such a powerful sermon to my attention. Peace.

    PS. I had to “edit” and shorten the urls. I hope they work.

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