SOME PEOPLE PREFER MISSION STATEMENTS TO BE SUCCINCT AND TO CONTAIN BULLET POINTS For them, we offer this version:
Simply put, our mission is to invite, encourage, and support you in developing what may be a new way of appreciating the fine mess that is your own unique life in this complex and ever-changing world.
Complicatedly put . . . well, this fine mess will get complicated soon enough.
Any way we put it, our mission is such a tall order that we will surely fail!
Therefore, we will practice the A-F-M Fourfold Formula For Flourishing:
1. We'll find the best values we can; 2. We'll live those values out as best we can; 3. We'll forgive ourselves our failures and keep on keeping on; 4. We'll let go of the outcome!
OTHER PEOPLE PREFER MISSION STATEMENTS TO BE IN THE FORM OF A NARRATIVE THAT COMES AT THE TOPIC MORE INDIRECTLY For them, we offer this version:
In the beginning, God laughed - and shamelessly so - for this laughter was in response to one of God's own jokes. A few milliseconds later, somewhere down in God's heart, the laughter began to swell. The laughter then sought the assistance of God's lungs, which inflated themselves to such proportions, were God not to have expelled that air, God would have self-destructed. It is not given to us to know what the consequences of that demise would have been, since the universe had not yet been created. But we're getting ahead of the story.
Once God's funny bone was thus tickled, what happened next was inevitable. It was a head-back, then doubled-over, finally full-force-pushing-out-the-air-from-the-diaphragm cosmic guffaw: the out-gassing of God's hilarity into what hitherto had been only the somber, "tough crowd", darkness of the void. It is surmised by most reputable authorities that, along with the explosion of God's breath, there also spewed forth a number of tiny particles. God, ever the Playful One, gave these particles fanciful names like "Quark", "Muon", "Neutrino", and most bafflingly of all, "Higgs Boson." God's laughter kept on expanding, infinitely suffusing itself into the background of everywhere there was a "there" . . . and which modern physics humorously refers to as the background "radiation" left over from the Big Bang.
And then God said, "I think I've got a good thing going here! Lemme see what I can do with all this stuff."
To severely condense a 13.75 billion year-long story: very nearly at the end of all that time, God scooped up a handful of the remaining spare, left-over particles; told another cosmically funny story; and breathed God's laughter into the matter at hand. "Then," as one highly metaphoric version of the story puts it without the slightest nod to gender-neutral language, "Man became a living soul." You probably have heard that story; and a fine one it is.
For our purposes, we'll further condense that story, skip over a lot of important details, and tell you a tall tale, or perhaps it's a myth about what happened shortly thereafter. We'll call it a mythic tale. But before we do, it may help to remember that tall tales - like their uptown cousins the myths - aren't just a bunch of lies and, well, "myths." Rather they communicate a deep truth; and as long as you don't get caught up in reading them as though they are an eyewitness account, complete with videotape at eleven, they can reveal their truths to you.
This part of the much longer tale tells of an aged couple, Abe and Sarah. They'd had their AARP cards longer than the life span of most people, and while generally happy, they were childless. God was especially fond of the couple and, as close companions sometimes do with each other, decided to have some fun with them by telling them what appeared to be God's own "tall tale."
So God went in disguise to Abe, and told him that, by the same time the following year, Sarah would give birth to a son! We don't know what Abe said in reply because the tale doesn't specify it. But you can easily imagine him saying something like: "You gotta be kidding me! I don't see you handing out little blue pills, guy! Besides, we've only got one bathtub! Furthermore, I'm 99 years old now and Sarah is 90! Either you're either completely meshuggeneh, or else God - that Laughing Jokester - has put you up to this!" (Well, at least we can easily imagine that.)
The story says that when she overheard the prediction she'd bear a child at 90, Sarah laughed. A year later they laughed again as their son was born. That's why, when they came to giving the boy a name, they figured it would be only fitting to name him "Laughter." In their language, that name was translated "Isaac."
The final element of this long, mythic tale, has Isaac and his dad hiking up into the mountains, a hike undertaken because the old man thought God was asking him to do something truly awful, dreadful, violently obscene . . . to bind up Isaac, place him on a rock slab, and kill him! Abe, quite naturally, dreaded all of this in the extreme. But what else was he going to do? When the One who laughs the world into being and knows all about Higgs Boson speaks, you tend to listen. So up the mountain they trudged: the son following his father, blissfully unaware of the journey's despicable purpose. Abe's heart was in his mouth and tears kept falling down his face. At the moment the bound-up Isaac saw his father's knife raised up - saw his father poised to kill him - a call came through to Abe from the Governor granting a stay of execution, so to speak. Abe's heart returned to his chest. Wiping away his tears, the relieved and excited Abe again drew his knife and, cutting through the ropes he had wound around his son, Abe unbound Isaac. And somewhere - actually it was everywhere - God laughed.
If you've carefully followed this narrative rendering of our Mission Statement, you might conclude that the purpose of this site may have something to do either with the particle God named Higgs Boson, Abe's unbinding of Isaac, or maybe with just having a good laugh. Who knows . . . maybe all three?
Want to see if you've reached the right conclusion? Then come on inside, have a look around, be sure to take a look at LAST SUPPER REDand judge for yourself!