Yani Burgos currently works at Episcopal City Mission, and has been both a participant and facilitator with LDI. Below, Yani shares varied experiences from a long relationship with LDI.
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. (Acts 2:1-4)
My favorite Bible passage is Acts 2, where we see the beginning of what is now called the church, the Body of Christ. The Holy Spirit literally breathes life into this new body: first through the apostles, then through the ears of new converts. We see a community come together, sharing all they have and looking to meet the needs of their world.
Our world today is not far from that of that early church. We see an empire turning its head away from the cries of the oppressed, looking only to hear its own voice. In our current world, when and where might the Spirit might breathe new life into the Body of Christ?
I have walked with LDI for the last 3 years – first as a participant, now as a trainer. Admittedly, I tend to be critical of the lack of spirited action in the mainline Church. How might LDI push faith communities to see injustice beyond the walls of their church and more courageously take responsibility for change?
I have to admit, I’ve been disappointed to hear communities at LDI trainings state their primary goal as recruiting new members. We can do better. Instead of just turning out folks to events, I want to see faith communities prioritize their commitment to God’s kin(g)dom of justice in the world.
Despite my disappointment, I have recently found new hope with LDI. At the March 11th training, LDI’s executive director Natalie Finstad led participants to list several justice issues, and then asked, “What are we doing about it, Church?” Natalie framed the skill of coaching as “a collective re-understanding of what [the Body of Christ is] called to do — at a time when we really need it.” When I heard Natalie, my face flushed and my body shivered — those around me reacted similarly.
The notion of an awakened church feels revolutionary. LDI offers truth to a Christian community afraid of what might happen when we commit ourselves to justice, when we commit ourselves to one another.
I can’t say for sure if the Spirit is rushing through our old bones as fast as I’d want. But I sure do feel some toes wiggling.