The aim is to bring together. Every morning I do that with my four cups of bold brew, freshly ground coffee and four teaspoons of organic sugar in the raw. This bringing together is vital to my day’s beginning…middle…and end.
Stirring can also be agitation, a necessary shaking and disturbance of what is settled to bring about something new and better. Organizer and strategist, Priya Parker, says hosts need to stir up with intentionality our social and professional gatherings so to create beautiful intersections and relational bonds that would not happen on their own. You know, work the room with what Parker calls “generous authority.” This mixing risks aggravation and breaks up comfortable conventions; gracious disturbance also results in new relational networks able to bear fruit of generative and expansive community. Theologian Karl Barth calls this work “priestly agitation,” a candid and thorough task that curates varied expressions of God’s hope for the world.
This has been increasingly difficult in the midst of the last two years. Working from home, quarantines, social distancing, and the limitations of the size of social gatherings has reduced our willingness to create these diverse connections in the pursuits of health and safety. We need to get creative so our isolation does not breed separation and the perpetuation of biases that were already at oppressive levels. We all-the-more need to embrace healthy stirrings and holy agitations so we remember the world is better, we are better, when we welcome, pursue, advocate for, and even convene these unsettlings.
This was Jesus’ whole mission and ambition. Maybe this is why Immanuel is also known by another name- host. Jesus worked and unsettled the rooms of the world and made a way for the adventing of the better.