Coming Home 2014

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 eCourse & Retreat

November 30, 2014 – January 11, 2015

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“I’ll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams…”

You’ve felt it, haven’t you? That deep ache inside for something more. That longing that rises in you during this season of twinkle lights and stress and doIreallyhavetosendanotherChristmascard? The sense that there must be something more, but it just can’t come with another task to be added to the unending To Do list. What if, instead of the frantic holiday pace the world demands, what if there was another, slower pace? What if this season could be about exploration and coming home to some ancient practices and discovering a peace that transcends the tacky? And what about that blank space that descends after the Christmas? What if, as the ancient church experienced, December 25 was just the start of a beautiful journey into the meaning and experience of Emmanuel, God with us, instead of the end? What if the story kept going? What if that story culminated in a celebration and experience of revelation and redemption?

You’re invited into a six-week online journey of Coming Home. Framed by quiet prayer, reflection, Scripture, simple exercises and a few surprises along the way, this pilgrimage of hope is for the misfits, the perfectionists, the sorrowing, the rejoicing, the lost and the found.

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The Shape of Our Sojourn

Each week we will journey in community and individually through themes and exercises designed to bring you closer to the heart of Christ in this season, and closer to your heart’s true home. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, you’ll receive an email woven with meditations, exercises, poetry and music to guide you along the way. If you choose, you can up your level of participation and once a week (usually on Saturdays), you’ll be invited to participate in a group video conference to experience the season in community. These conferences will be times of prayer and reflection, times to slow down and listen to God and one another as the season progresses. To live out the rhythm of God’s heartbeat. For those familiar with the term, these will be times of group spiritual direction—facilitated experiences of listening to God together. Depending on the level of participation you choose, you’ll also have access to a private Facebook community where you can process your times of prayer, lean into your fellow pilgrims along the way, and have access to the retreat’s resources. This community will be moderated by an experienced spiritual director in order to hold your time in prayer and safety. You can participate as much or as little as you like, making this journey uniquely yours.

Weekly Themes

Week One: Homesick

Advent begins not with the Christ child, but with the end of time. The season of Advent invites us to turn toward what is to come, and to turn with all of our questions, hopes, doubts and longings. It is a time when we confront our desire for the world to be set right, when we step into what it means to feel homesick. Advent’s embrace of the ache presses us against the thin membrane between Heaven and earth, and we are changed.

Week Two: Living in the In Between

The theme of waiting thrums through the weeks before Christmas, pulsing with the tension of what is and what is to come. Here we step closer to the question of what it means to live with hope in a world whose pains and brokenness seem to mock the light. What does it mean to move beyond the simple phrase “already and not yet” and live in the tension of mature hope.

Week Three: The Way of Small Things

Having shaped us with the hope of what is to come, the calendar turns us toward the story of Bethlehem. A woman, a man, a child. We begin to ask the question, what does it mean to embrace smallness in a world that wants us to live large? How can we step into the way of small things without negating the truth that we all matter greatly to God? How can the small things quiet our hearts as God slips silently into our skin?

Week Four: The Blinding Light

“An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.” This is how the Messiah is introduced to the shepherds, the least of these, in the fields at night. Into the darkness, light burst brilliantly forth. And they were terrified. The light of Christmas, the truth of Emmanuel, can be blinding and discomfitting, rearranging our neatly planned celebrations and ideas of how life is going to go. Once blinded, can we begin to see? What does it mean to step into the Christ light?

Week Five: Crossing Over

Christmas begins on December 25, it doesn’t end there. And the celebration of the Messiah come to us, the saving work of God made flesh, invites us to cross over into a new land of hope and promise. Yet, the season of celebration isn’t without its complications—there are giants in the land. What does it mean to cross over into the promise of Jesus, the promise of a new year, knowing that there may be more in this new land than we yet understand?

Week Six: Living Our True Selves

Epiphany means revelation, a moment of sudden insight, a manifestation of the divine. Celebrated on January 6, Epiphany is the official end of the Christmas season, and the beginning of all that is to come. Epiphany celebrates the revelation of Christ as the beloved of God, and in Epiphany we experience that revelation ourselves. We are the beloved of God. How, then, do we live? lightthroughwindow

Levels of Participation

Level One:

You want in, but you know that weekly calls aren’t feasible for you—you’re in Australia, or you have a two-month old, or you just hate the idea of showing up in a group call (you’re too much of an introvert for that.) You also aren’t into Facebook, or just need to detox from social media, or need this to be a more private journey. At this level you’ll have access to the weekly emails and daily Scripture readings. If you need it, you’ll also be able to email an experienced spiritual director to talk about you experience of the season. Your director will always respond within 48 hours of your correspondence.

What You Get:

• Three emails a week connecting you to the season, the Scriptures and prayer practices to see the holy in ordinary time
• Daily Scripture readings connected to the seasons of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany to keep you grounded, right in your inbox
• Access to a spiritual director to answer questions, maintain presence and pray for you (read more about spiritual direction here)

Cost: $98

Register Here:




After registration, please send an email to tara@anamcara.com.

 

Level Two:

You know the value of online community, and you’re longing for real encounter and transformation. Doing it by yourself just isn’t working any more. You’re longing to climb out of the modern, Western idea that we have to do it on our own, and into the Hebraic understanding that there is no “I” without “us”.  At this level, you’ll have access to all the resources of Level One (weekly emails, daily Scriptures, and regular access to a spiritual director), but you’ll also be participating in a private Facebook group, moderated by our spiritual director, with guided questions to interact with the community and find ways to walk this season out together. You’ll have access to extra resources not included in the emails, and form friendships with like-souled pilgrims.

What You Get:

• Three emails a week connecting you to the season, the Scriptures and prayer practices to see the holy in ordinary time
• A private Facebook community to process and journey alongside
• Daily Scripture readings connected to the seasons of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany to keep you grounded, right in your inbox
• Access to a spiritual director to answer questions, maintain presence and pray for you (read more about spiritual direction here)
• Resources explaining the history and traditions of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany

Cost: $125

Register Here:





After registration, please send an email to tara@anamcara.com
so you can be added to the appropriate Facebook group.

 

Level Three:

You know the value of online community, and you just want more. In this season where we experience Light in the darkest time of the year (in the Northern Hemisphere, anyway), you want to be able to see the faces and hear the voices of those who understand what it is to walk in the dark, bearing the light.  At this level, you’ll have access to all the resources of Level Two (weekly emails, daily Scriptures, and regular access to a spiritual director), but you’ll also be participating in weekly Fuze calls with the group, times set aside for us to practice the Presence together, to lean into Scripture and each other’s hearts. All the Fuze calls will be recorded so that you can have access to them for a year after the course ends.

Please note: This level will only be offered if at least five participants are registered. If you register for this level and less than the minimum requirement is met, you will have the option of either a refund of the difference between Level Two and Level Three or a one-hour private spiritual direction session with the course’s guiding spiritual director.

What You Get:

• Three emails a week connecting you to the season, the Scriptures and prayer practices to see the holy in ordinary time
• A private Facebook community to process and journey alongside
• Daily Scripture readings connected to the seasons of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany to keep you grounded, right in your inbox
• Access to a spiritual director to answer questions, maintain presence and pray for you (read more about spiritual direction here)
• Weekly hour and a half group Fuze calls with the community, recorded and available for an entire year after the course ends
• Resources explaining the history and traditions of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany

Cost: $165

Register Here:





After registration, please send an email to tara@anamcara.com
so you can be added to the appropriate Facebook group.

Other Details & Early Bird Bonus:

Because this is meant to be an intimate community, this journey is limited to 30 participants.

If you register by November 15, you’ll receive an early bird gift of an advanced chapter of Tara Owens’s upcoming book, Embracing the Body: Finding God In Our Flesh & Bone to be published by InterVarsity Press in March 2015.

Please note this is a co-ed retreat.

Questions? Want to know more?

Email Tara at tara@anamcara.com.

 

Photography courtesy of Jennifer Upton of A Shared Lens.