Unity without Uniformity: Our shared commitment to Jesus and eagerness to become more like him unifies us as a community. We are joined by both our allegiance to Jesus and our dedication to one another. While we pursue Jesus we reject uniformity. We value diversity in all areas, including the vitality generated through differing opinions. The presence of varying views challenges us to see faith from different perspectives and stimulates growth in our spiritual lives. It also engenders a culture where everyone belongs.
Connection: We yearn for a community in which we experience deeper and healthier relationships. Each of us thirsts for connection, because connection is hardwired into our DNA. Shame interferes with our ability to connect, compelling us to cover and hide. It disconnects us from both God and each another. Kehila is all about connection. We design our community around relationships, our love for one another flows from our connection to God.
Safe Environment: Kehila is a place that is safe. God not only accepts us for who we are, but expresses his love for us at the time we feel most unloveable. We endeavor to reflect both God’s love and acceptance for one another. We do this by cultivating a safe environment, in which each person discovers he/she is enough. We empower one another to tear down the walls of pretense and perfection in order to be seen for who we truly are. A healthy community, for us, is one where we are free to have flaws. Venturing into the arena of vulnerability requires both courage and compassion. Our relentless dedication to cultivating a safe environment emanates from our conviction that each person is worthy of love and belonging.
Renewal: Kehila is a community passionate about renewal. In other words, we are people animated by the Gospel, an Old English word that simply means, “Good News.” For us this news in not merely “good” news, but astounding news. It is the news that the Messiah, the benevolent king, arrived to inaugurate Shalom, “wholeness,” and the renewal of all things. Renewal encompasses everything, from the personal to the global. It has individual, communal, social and environmental implications. Our encounter with the “Good News” transforms the way we engage both locally and globally.
It begins at the personal level. Jesus, through his death and resurrection, offers us New Life by removing our shame and transforming us from the inside out. Our personal renewal impacts and restores our fragmented relationships. God now empowers us to extend love, mercy, forgiveness, compassion and acceptance toward one another.
The Gospel does not end there. It compels us into social engagement. Jesus came to bring restoration to God’s broken creation. Jesus announced justice for the nations (Matthew 12:18). He brought hope to the ailing and the impoverished (Luke 4:18-19). God calls us to learn to “seek justice, defend the oppressed, take up the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow” (Isaiah 1:17). On a social and global level God leads us to be a voice for the voiceless, address poverty, promote equity, care for creation, and declare justice.
Tension: Spiritual maturity invites us to embrace tension. We experience tension in places of uncertainty, in the intermediate region, where we feel pulled between two opposite poles. In our spiritual infancy we seek certainty and security. We want to have all of our questions answered with sound bite responses. God doesn’t fit into a confined box of our making. God is a mysterious God. Excessive longing for security removes us from the path of spiritual growth. Faith leads us into an uncomfortable world, a world of strain and paradox. When we encounter tension in our lives, we have a tendency to alleviate that feeling of anxiety and uncertainty, mental or emotional strain, by retreating to places of safety. In this world we must embrace tension. Faith leads us to uncharted territory, places of risk.