Androcentrism (a.k.a. Is God a Guy?)

Boys and Girls 15-52

While presumably most folks attending a church pastored by a woman would reject the idea of Patriarchy (the oppression of women as a group), are we aware of what lies behind patriarchy? In this teaching, Leah explores how the way our culture thinks about masculine and feminine shapes our understanding of reality, including God.

Listen to the teaching below or download the notes here.

Smashing Idols: An Introduction


Leah kicks off our new fall series by considering how the way we view the world, and privilege certain points of view over others, might keep us from experience authentic connection with God. In this introductory teaching, she explores how our frames and lenses for viewing the world may be understood as "idols", and what we might learn about the insidious power of idolatry by looking back at our ancient ancestors of faith.

You can listen to the the teaching below, or review her notes here.

Why Jesus?

This image depicts one way we might consider the practice of faith, described in this teaching.

This image depicts one way we might consider the practice of faith, described in this teaching.

In this first teaching in the "Back to Basics" series, Leah considers a question pretty fundamental to Christianity: why Jesus? What's the big deal? She examines some of the traditional answers Christians have offered and their weaknesses, and opens up a conversation about another possible approach, including a review of the Blue Ocean model of Centered Set.

Read the notes here or listen to the recording below.

Walking the Prayer Labyrinth

The Labyrinth at Land's End in San Francisco.

The Labyrinth at Land's End in San Francisco.

In this teaching, bringing back our series on "Soul Care for Seasons of Stress", Leah reflects on an ancient practice of prayer and meditation that draws upon the tradition of Pilgrimage for inspiration. Look over Leah's notes here or listen to the teaching below on the Labyrinth as a practice for Soul Care.

Generations Together

In this teaching, our own Connie Barker opens up a conversation on Generational Theory, considering how the call to be intergenerational might enhance and help fulfill the greater mission of Haven. Only the first 20 minutes were recorded; the rest of the time was group discussion. Listen below for a sense of what Connie brought for us to consider.

What We Mean By...Safe

Is safety a Jesus-centered value? If so, what might that mean? How might it impact the way we gather? In this teaching, Leah explores the third of three Haven core values and invites the community to consider how it might live further into becoming a safe spiritual home for all. And she gets there considering sheep, of all things.

Review the notes or listen to a recording of this teaching here.

What We Mean By...Diverse

Art by Connor Lucock, Creative Commons License

Art by Connor Lucock, Creative Commons License

In this teaching, Leah continues the series on vision, by considering what we mean when we talk about being "Diverse" as a core value of Haven. Leah appeals both to the greater story the Bible tells, as well as one particular encounter, to reflect on God's valuing of diverse community.

Read the notes or listen to the teaching below.

What We Mean By...Jesus-Centered

The view of the Trinity most Christians consider to be Orthodox.

The view of the Trinity most Christians consider to be Orthodox.

In this teaching, Leah explores the 1st of the 3 Haven Core Values Identified in the recent teaching on Envisioning Haven Together: Faith that's Jesus-Centered. As Leah explains here, part of what has traditionally set Jesus-Centered faith apart from other understandings of cosmic reality is the relationship the person of Jesus has to God, a relationship Christians have long described through a group of relationships called the Trinity. How is the Trinity best understood, and how is it not?

Read Leah's notes, or listen to the teaching below, as she explores these questions and their implications for Haven.

Envisioning Haven Together

This image communicates the vision Leah describes for Haven throughout the teaching.

This image communicates the vision Leah describes for Haven throughout the teaching.

"A vision has power...I think at certain points in our growing and maturing as people we need those fresh pictures that can resonate with us; they gel with what we've already come to know is true, but they help us see where it might take us forward...I’ve had a sense lately that Haven, as a community, is in a similar place of needing fresh vision to further grow and develop."

In this important teaching, Leah seeks to synthesize conversations that have been happening through Haven in recent months in regards to the vision for our community. The teaching revolves around a call she senses to live into the tension of three core values, represented by the Venn Diagram pictured above. Listen below or read Leah's notes, and see how she spells out the implications of these values, the tensions they present, and the invitation Jesus seems to be extending our community to live in the center of those tensions and find him there.

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Together With Kids

Haven Kids.JPG

"Jesus didn't have kids; [he was] not a dad. But he seemed very fond of them. He seemed to really be into kids and he seemed to continually try to center the attention of his followers on them; on what was going on with them. Why was that? If we're gonna think about what it means to do life together, it's important that we think about what is the role all of us play - not just the parents, but all of us... in the next generation of what God is doing."

This teaching takes a look at how God seems to be inviting his people to think about life together with kids, by taking a broad look at the advice on parenting, child-rearing, and relating to kids given throughout the Bible. In this teaching, Leah makes the case that these are questions that are not just relevant for parents, but for all who seek to live out Jesus-centered community.

Review Leah's notes or listen to the audio below.

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Together With Immigrants

Immigration Rally

What did Jesus mean when he encouraged his followers to "welcome the stranger"? How might that encouragement inform our own perspective on the welcome of vulnerable immigrants in our communities, particularly in a time when those immigrants are at heightened risk? As our guest preacher Pastor Tita Valeriano shares, "Hospitality is not just about opening our door and being nice until they leave our house. For Christ, it is truly more than that."

Listen below for more of Tita's words on Jesus' view of hospitality and the implications of "Celebrate Together" on our inclusion of immigrants.

Together with Our Neighbors

Bay Area Map

"How might our faith open up helpful connections with our neighbors? (Like…our literal neighbors. Or our coworkers. The people we shop next to at Berkeley Bowl….) How might Jesus be inviting us to think about the places we actually inhabit and our connections to them?"

In this teaching, Leah invites us to think about life in our local communities, outside of church. Read the notes or listen below as she explores how an encouragement to the people of God in the Hebrew Bible, might have resonance for us today.

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Stars or No Stars?

Photo Credit: Sandor Weisz. Creative Commons license.

Photo Credit: Sandor Weisz. Creative Commons license.

Dr. Seuss' classic children's story The Sneetches explores the arbitrary ways groups define themselves against each other. As Dr. Christena Cleveland points out in her book Disunity In Christ, sadly the church is not immune from this phenomenon. But is that the only way it has to be? Or did Jesus, and the early church intend something better? In this teaching Leah explores Paul's hope for the early church to be a community that could hold diverse unity, and considers how we might continue to live into that hope.

First watch the video (or read the book), then you can read the notes or listen to the teaching below.

A New Way to Relate


"All of us are wired for relationship. We’re wired to be with other people. We come from tribal ancestors who found safety, security, identity, and developed a plethora of amazing cultures that span the globe by associating in groups.

"We often feel the need to define and defend our group against other groups... But for those of us who are trying to live lives of Jesus-centered faith, hunkering down and only taking care of our own doesn’t really seem to be an option..." 

For Easter, we started a new series on all of the relationships in our lives, whether as group members, partners, parents, friends, or colleagues. What wisdom does Jesus (as well as thinkers of today) have for us about living well in the midst of all these relationships? Listen below or check out the notes here, and tune in next week for more! 

Jonny Leano: Addressing Identity in a Centered-Set Church

International Market sign

"Hawaii is a racially diverse place. Former Governor of Hawaii Linda Lingle says that Hawaii is a place where the “racial and ethnic lines are often blurred or deemed irrelevant.” In other words, Hawaii focuses on racial diversity at the center. And racial diversity in Hawaii is a great source of pride that distinguishes us from the mainland.

"But for me, Hawaii was not a racially diverse paradise. I am part of a growing population of immigrant Filipinos in Hawaii, and as of 2010, Filipinos surpassed Japanese to become the second-largest racial group in Hawaii, just behind Caucasians.

"Yet I still felt racism and xenophobia growing up. I was teased for being Filipino. I also witnessed how neighborhoods were segregated based on race and class. And this was confusing. I thought that fellow Hawaiians celebrated our different racial identities… but sometimes I felt that Filipinos were the exception…"

This week, Jonny Leano shared with us his experiences growing up as a Filipino citizen in Hawai’i--and later participating in predominantly white churches in America. Listen in (or read his notes) for more on how we can become a spiritual community that allows people to live out their full identities and share their unequal experiences of race and class—yet still maintain a focus on Jesus as the one who brings us together.

Faith Is A Two-Way Thing

"When I was in middle school, I went through confirmation. I had been baptized as a kid in a mainline denominational church. And then around 12 or 13, I was told it was time for confirmation. Along with all the other sixth graders, I took a class. Now I always liked studying, but this was boring. I don’t remember really learning anything about what I’d now call the Christian faith. There was nothing about the Bible. Nothing about the trinity; no Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Nothing about connection to Jesus. Nothing about how to connect with God, but a lot about the history of my particular denomination.

At the end of the class,  we'd all get up in front of the church, wear a nice dress and let the pastor put a bit of oil on each of our heads. It was nothing special for me. I was probably thinking about if we might go out for pizza afterwards, like most of my friends. But there was one girl who wasn’t like the rest of us; Kelly. Something different was happening for her. When she kneeled and the pastor blessed her with oil, she was weeping. She was shaking a bit. She was visibly moved. Something was clearly happening for her and it seemed to be real.  I knew Kelly. I trusted her. I didn’t know what she was feeling but I knew it was something genuine. Further more, I wanted it, but I didn’t understand where it came from."

Have you ever seen others have powerful spiritual experiences, but not felt them yourself? Have you wondered if experiences of the Holy Spirit are for just some people, or might be available to all of us? In this first teaching, Leah explores this question and how we'll be addressing it through the season of Lent, which we're calling "40 Days of Interactive Faith".

Listen to the teaching below or read the notes here. And check out our Daily Guide for ways to participate in this series throughout the week.

Sabbath as Resistance

As we continue our series "Soul Care for Seasons of Stress", Leah takes a look at the Biblical framework of Sabbath, particularly informed by scholar Walter Brueggemann's book Sabbath as Resistance: Saying No to the Culture of NowIn Brueggemann's words, "Sabbath is a bodily act of testimony to alternative and resistance to pervading values and the assumptions behind those values.” Listen below or read Leah's notes to learn more here.

After Leah's teaching on a Biblical framework for Soul Care, Celia Emmelhainz shares her Soul Care practice of Poetry. She shares how reading and writing poetry have helped manage highs and lows in her life. She points us to other poetry lovers as well, like Abraham Lincoln, and reflects on how their practices shaped them, too. Her portion begins in the audio below at minute 35. Celia's notes are also available here.

Even Jesus Needed a Break

Many of us are feeling the stress of this season not only in our own life, but in our country. Through sustained seasons of stress, how do we take care of ourselves so we can stay engaged in life for the long term? Is self-care even a valid concern, or simply an expression of privilege. 

Audre Lord was a leading activist in the 20th Century. She was a poet, a writer, a feminist, a womanist, a lesbian, and a civil-rights leader. She said the following on self-care, "Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare."

In this new series, which we will come back to periodically, we will explore "Soul Care for Seasons of Stress". With a unique format, Leah will lead us through some Biblical frameworks for caring for our selves and our souls, and then other Haven-ites will take the time to share some of their own unique soul care practices, and help us discern if they might be something that could work for others of us, or inspire us along the way to finding our own rhythms and practices. 

In this Sunday's teaching, David Lai shares about his practice of meditation and Connie Barker shares about her practice of Bible Reading.

See Leah's notes for this week here. Listen to the entire teaching below. David's portion begins just before 23 minutes, Connie's at minute 36.