Project Zion Podcast

Episode 211: A Prophetic People with Linda Booth

August 13, 2019
Project Zion Podcast
Episode 211: A Prophetic People with Linda Booth
Chapters
Project Zion Podcast
Episode 211: A Prophetic People with Linda Booth
Aug 13, 2019
Project Zion Podcast
Show Notes Transcript

Recently, host Carla Long has been looking at what it means to be a prophetic people. Today she welcomes Linda Booth to the conversation. Linda shares what being prophetic means to her, the early roots of being a prophetic church, and where the idea of being a prophetic people can take us into the future. 

Intro Music:
0:16
[inaudible].
Speaker 2:
0:18
Welcome to the Project Zion Podcast. This podcast explores the unique spiritual and theological gifts Community of Christ offers for today's world.
Intro Music:
0:32
[inaudible]
Carla Long:
0:34
Hello and welcome to the Project Zion podcast. I'm your host, Carla Long and today we're discussing what it means to be a prophetic people. Now while ago, and I'm not sure how long ago, maybe our guests can answer this question too, but a while ago, Community of Christ started saying that we're not necessarily just a people with a prophet. We are and we feel called to be a prophetic people and we work really hard to live that way. But what this podcast is about and what this little series is about is I'm curious about what that means to our people. So I'm interviewing a number of people about what that means to them, what it means to them to say that we're a prophetic people. And today I'm interviewing Linda Booth. She is a quote unquote, according to Andrew Bolton, a graduated apostle from Community of Christ. Hi Linda!
Linda Booth:
1:28
Hello Carla and hello all you are listening in on this conversation.
Carla Long:
1:35
Linda, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Linda Booth:
1:37
Well, I recently retired at the last World Conference after 22 years of serving as a minister in Community of Christ. Most of that time, all but one year as a member of the Council of 12 apostles, also served as director of communications. And then the last six years of my leadership was as president of the Council of 12. I'm married nearly 52 years. I have three grown sons and three grandsons and delightful daughter-in-laws. And so I laugh like to joke and say that having been around males so much about my life, it prepared me for the ministry that in the beginning was nearly all males.
Carla Long:
2:22
Well that's for sure. But that's not really true in Community Christ anymore. Like there are, I mean, women are kinda rocking this, I'm going to tell ya. And men too, but women definitely. I gotta keep going. Okay. So Linda, you have been working for Community Christ's for 22 years. Do you know when we started talking about that we want to be a prophetic people versus a people with a prophet?
Linda Booth:
2:46
I do remember that and I remember it specifically because it was sort of jarring and it happened a couple of days after Grant McMurray was set apart to serve as the prophet president of the church. And that would have been in 1996 and it was in his sermon just a few days later that he said to the people, he said, you know, we need to talk about this. He said, we have always had our identity as a people who have a profit. But he says, it's time for us to realize and accept our calling to be a prophetic people. And for some people, when they heard that it was jarring in that income and comfortable because they had always thought of Ben been prideful, that they had a profit and their profits were always from the lineage of Joseph Smith Jr. And so now we have a new prophet president who does not related to Joseph Smith and he says these disturbing words. And some people thought that meant that he wasn't going to serve as a prophet, that he was just going to be the president of the church. But it, but it was soon found out, especially as he brought the wonderful words that are now in the doctrine and covenants in section one 61 and one 62 that we definitely had a prophet and a president.
Carla Long:
4:27
Well that is really helpful actually because I this you're my third interview. I'm talking about prophetic people and I haven't known that. So that's really helpful. So you're were thinking like the early two thousands, that's when we kind of, that came out.
Linda Booth:
4:39
Yeah, well it came out in 1996.
Carla Long:
4:41
Oh 96. Oh, right, right. In
Linda Booth:
4:43
96. And so and so, uh, and people were surprised by that and some, in fact, uh, he had to oftentimes, and even World Church Leadership Council share with people, he said, yeah, he'd say, you know, people are saying that I don't want to be profit. That's not what this is about. He said, this is a joint advent joint, uh, venture with God. He said, being a prophetic people means that we are discerning God's presence and God's will for the world. And we as a people to be prophetic is to express through our actions and our relationships, the care and the compassion that we saw x that we read about in the scriptures in Jesus's ministry. So he really pressed the fact that, you know, you've been prideful, he didn't say this, but you've been kind of prideful that you have this prophet who was of the lineage of Joseph Smith Jr.
Linda Booth:
5:44
Now you have this new guy who's been called by God and ordained to be a the prophet president of the church. And what I'm saying to you all along, that God has been asking not just to be led by a prophet, but to be a prof prophetic people who will lead others into the Kingdom of God. And, and he, he's had to say that several times before people began to understand. Well, yeah, that's, this is what God has always done throughout creation is helping people to lead them into that understanding of what it means to be prophetic. Well,
Carla Long:
6:27
well that's really good to know. And I kind of understand the pushback in some ways because to be a prophetic people means we have to do a little bit of work too. Like we can't just sit back and let somebody speak at us and tell us what we should do. And then we're like little robots and do it. We actually have to discern for ourselves, pray about it, think about it being community with each other, talk about it and actually do and listen to where God is calling us. So I kind of understand the push back. I mean it's much, much easier just to sit in the Pew and have someone talk at us much easier.
Linda Booth:
7:01
Well, yes, and just just to have those words given and then we vote on it by common consent. It goes into our Canon of scripture, the doctrine covenants. And, and then we read it and we read it during March of services and maybe during personal reflection, but that's where it's say is it's one stays in the book. And we're called to be that a part of that open can in that prophetic people who then live a, the concerns and passion of Jesus Christ in the world. And, and in fact, I remember Peter Jod talking about how Joseph Smith Jr was asked about whether or not he was a prophet. And I looked up these words and Joseph Smith Jr said, when he was asked, do you believe that you're a prophet? He said, um, he, he gave a really strange response. If you think about it. He says yes.
Linda Booth:
7:56
And every other man who has the testimony of Jesus or the testimony of Jesus is a spirit of prophecy. And that last line for the testimony of Jesus as the spirit of prophecy comes from the book of revelations, the 19th chapter, the 10th thirst. And so even Joseph Smith Jr who was very specific sometimes, and what were his prophetic words told people to do? He even recognize that the, the role of being prophetic is not alone for the prophet president of the church, but it's for any, he said, man, but it's for any person who has a testimony of Jesus and live that testimony in a way that brings wholeness and restoration in the lives of people and in community. So, so we kind of lost that element of what it meant to be prophetic. And we just focused on the man at the time who was the quote prophet and what happened into the doctrine covenants and we expected it on a regular basis. And instead, all along this faith movement has pointed to the fact that being prophetic is a joint responsibility between the leadership of the church and all the those who call themselves disciples.
Carla Long:
9:24
Amen. Amen. Well, thank you for that. That was really helpful for me. And so we've thrown around the word prophetic quite a bit. Can you tell us what the word prophetic actually means to you? Yeah.
Linda Booth:
9:37
And, and I've been thinking about this because it, it just feels sort of like, it's always been a word that was a part of my life. But I've realized that that word was expressed in different ways as I was growing up. So I was raised in a very loving home with grandparents, both sides who were, uh, the men were obviously ministers. The women were ministers too, even though they weren't ordained. And, and in that environment of being raised, I was told over and over again that all are called. And that's a part of being prophetic, to understand that you are called, that you uniquely are created whether you're a baby or five years old or 15 or 35 and on and on, that you have been created uniquely for God's purposes. And that is a prophetic call. And a part of that prophetic call is then to deserve God's presence in the world, to do those spiritual practices that connect you with the divine in such a way that your eyes are open and spiritually, that your ears are open spiritually to discern what it is that God wants you to do.
Linda Booth:
11:04
And so that is the leading of what I was told over and over again being led by the Holy Spirit. Well, that is, that is part of the pro Faena prophetic person or a people is allowing God to lead you to those who God knows needs to have a good friend, uh, who needs to have words of encouragement to needs to have a story tool that shares of God's love, that needs to be able to embody and live, uh, Christ concerns and passion. So that, that's kind of a long statement of what it means to, for me to be a prophetic person. It means that I, uh, discern God's will and what God wants the world to be. And then I do my part to help make the world through the power of the Holy Spirit and God's direction. What it is God wants.
Carla Long:
12:01
Yeah, I, I understand that and I think it's okay to have a long definition for the word prophetic. I don't think it's an easy term at all. So you've worked in independence for quite some time. How has the temple been a part of your prophetic journey?
Linda Booth:
12:20
Um, but temple as symbol and it is for me assemble. It's not just a place. The temple is for me a a prophetic symbol of the n word, a spiritual journey. As you go into that sanctuary and, and as you look up into the temples spiraling inside that beautiful shell like a interior, it has that sense that you are being prepared to be set out. And, and wherever I travel, and even in Australia, I remember talking about the temple cause people would say to me, I'd sit in their little homes, it was a winter time there and they don't have central heat. So you'd gather around these little stove light elements. And I remember this one, elderly woman particularly saying, I'm never gonna be able to go to the temple. Would you describe it to me? And as I talked about the temple and I watched her eyes as I shared this symbol of spiritual preparation and then going out in God's mission to the world, I could see that she connected to what I was saying, but more importantly, she caught a glimpse of the fact that that Timbo was a symbol of her life where she lived, uh, northwest of Melbourne, Australia in a little community called Bendigo, that she was a part of that preparation, that inward preparation and that sending out into the world.
Linda Booth:
13:55
So for me, that's what the Timble temple represents when it comes to being prophetic, it's being deserving and then being in action. What it means to be a disciple.
Carla Long:
14:09
Oh, that's awesome. Thank you for sharing that. So, um, everyone loves a good story and I know that you're a great storyteller. So I was wondering if you would talk to me about a prophetic moment that you have experienced, like what was going on, where were you, where it was in community or by yourself? What is, yeah, just talk to us about a prophetic moment that has happened in your life.
Linda Booth:
14:30
Okay. And so that's a little hard to think of one. So the first one that popped in my mind, and I've been thinking about a lot of them, um, because I really believe that those prophetic moments happen every day if you're just paying attention. And so this, this prophetic moment, a sense of conversation that you and I had before we, this conversation when we were talking about giving birth in children and grandchildren, I'm going to tell about the birth of our grandson, our first grandson, and how we had prepared for him. He had been named, his name was gonna be Brock. And so we all anticipated his birth and we all gathered at the hospital, his, my sons brothers and their wives. And, and we, we sat there and prayed and rejoiced that he was going to be born. And finally Bart came walking into the waiting area.
Linda Booth:
15:26
He was dressed in green scrubs and he was beaming. And he said, Brock's been born. He weighed 10 pounds, four ounces, he's a keeper. Would you like to meet him? And we were like, whoa. Yes. And so we all filed into this little room. And I remember the attendant who was caring for the baby step back and with gathered around this little plastic cocoon where the baby was lying and he was this big brood of a baby. And I remember looking down at him and feeling this intense love that vibrated from the tip, the top of my head to the tip of my toes. And in that intense feeling of love, I realized that what I was feeling was just a portion of what God was feeling for the world. And then not only was I to love Brock with this intense godly love, but then I was to love every person as a child of God.
Linda Booth:
16:39
And in that like every day ordinary experience, that prophetic moment has changed and enriched my ministry and my ability to connect with other people. So those prophetic moments show up in just moments of living. Some are maybe dramatic, like the birth of child, but I sense them when I'm walking my dogs, Luke and Gabriel as I walk. And I pray for people on that walk and my neighbor promoted. And I sense God's love for them. And there's moments, for example, when I might take a newspaper up to a person's store, and as I'm praying, as I'm putting the newspaper down on the front porch, the door will open and the person's surprise, and I'm surprised they see me there, but we have this conversation and it's a god moment. It's a prophetic moment of God breaking through in the ordinary. So for me, prophetic moments, uh, surround me every day and I try to pay attention to those moments. Uh,
Carla Long:
17:50
I am totally 100% with you. I've mentioned this before on this podcast, but, uh, one of my favorite spiritual practices at church camp with, with kids with senior high kids or junior high kids, is to ask them what their God moments were for that day and, and God moments or just any time when you recognize the Holy Spirit is breaking through and recognize that God is present right then in that moment. And I think they happen all the time. I just think that we are too distracted or whatever to see them. And so listening to those kids is God. Moments, um, helps me to remember that God is always breaking through. The prophetic is in every single moment. If we just, if we just take the time to, to listen and watch, we could have perfect moments while washing the dishes. Absolutely. If only we paid attention and were intentional about it. So I'm with Ya. And Gosh, um, hearing your story about the birth of your grandson, I mean, what a profound experience. You know, don't even think about that. The love that you have for your grandson is so huge for you, but as just a drop in the bucket for the love that God has for us. Oh, it's huge.
Linda Booth:
19:00
Yes. And that plan that God has for us, not just love lover families, not just to love our own children, but to love all the children. You know, that, that we are a family. Whether or not through blood we are the family of God. And, and it's not just the community of Christ family, it's the people that live in our neighborhoods. It's the people we work with. It's the people we stand in the grocery line with and we have the ability to touch those lives in insignificant ways. Sometimes even through just a conversation in a, in a grocery line.
Carla Long:
19:39
I think that is absolutely true. And, uh, I mean if only we were, I don't know what the word is, if only we were at secure within ourselves or if we were awake. Oh, that's probably it. If we were awake enough to see that, I mean, what a change we could make in our community and, and in the world. Yes. Uh, so we talked a little bit about this at the very beginning, uh, but has your understanding of what it means to be a prophetic people evolved as you continually work at work for the church?
Linda Booth:
20:13
Oh, absolutely. It of course it has. I mean, because it just being a disciple causes you, if you're trying to get more in alignment with God's will, it does change the way in which you view the world. Um, it also has helped me in my leadership in the church to understand, for example, during the u s national conference, when we were given the provision, uh, in, uh, was it section one 64, where we were given the provision and the freedom to have national conference to address pressing issues that couldn't be done worldwide, international because of context as well as culture, et cetera. And we, of course it was the issue, have nothing to do with same gender marriage and saying, and, um, homosexuals and lesbians and all manner of people being ordained to the priesthood. And that the understanding of prophetic was profound in that process of discernment.
Linda Booth:
21:28
And so we learned, had learned after the ordination of women how not to do it because people who disagreed, fought and got angry with each other and quit going to church with each other and started another faith movement. And we learned from that, that we needed as people with this very contentious, uh, issue to be able to walk together and discern together and be prayerful to gather and faithfully disagree, to gather. And so for three years we use that idea of prophetic joint understanding of what it meant to walk together. And so from 2010 to the national conference in 2013 of the u s, uh, apostles made a decision not to share our own beliefs on what the church should do, but encourage the membership to be prayerful about what God was calling us to do. And so we didn't share, we didn't say, well, we think you should do this.
Linda Booth:
22:44
We provided resources and our presence to be able to share, have the people began to share with the Holy Spirit through scripture, study through prayer, et Cetera, through conversation to listen to one another and to understand. And I believe that was a prophetic process led by God to help us to be a people, to walk through those three years that could have been very divisive, to allow us to come together and to listen at that national conference and then to take the vote and have over 80% of the people in favor of providing an opportunity for people of the same genders to marriage or make a covenant commitment as well as to ordain a people who were in those covenant commitment or eventually marriage to be ordained as ministers. And throughout that whole process, I mean, there were God moments all along the way. I remember a man and Piss the Cola, Florida and a place that was having a lot of difficulty with the whole issue and his name was ward and he stood amongst the people as we were talking.
Linda Booth:
24:05
He was an evangelist and he said, I want you to know that I was told from the time I was very young, that, uh, any homosexual activity was sinful. And he said, I believe that all my growing up in years, he said, I recently went to a winter reunion and Florida and their saw man, his name was mark lead the worship and leave that reunion. And he said, I cannot deny that God worked through him. And just by him sharing that prophetic understanding, something happened in that mission center that was struggling mightily. Something happened and it allowed them to have a glimpse of the kingdom, I believe in a way that changed some of their perspectives on what God's will was.
Carla Long:
25:03
That's fantastic. That's so good to hear. Um, yeah. I, I come from a place that's there where there is a lot of people that has struggled with the idea of full inclusion for LGBTQ plus people. And, and going through that national conference the way we did and listening carefully and prayerfully and not just wanting to insert our own voice, I think was an incredibly prophetic thing to do. Uh, not forcing what we thought that listening I was, that was a huge moment for me.
Linda Booth:
25:42
Yeah, it was, and I want to say, ironically, president grant McMurray was the one who said those words, you know, it's time, uh, to move from our identity as a people with a profit to our calling to be an a prophetic people. Ironically, it was in his resignation that I believe that the church first had, well, I shouldn't say first, but it did have a very profound journey together to determine and to give the name of the one who would now be the prophet precedent. And so the man who said, we need to be a prophetic people who resigned, and then as a group and as a church, we worldwide, we began to pray for who it was God was asking to lead the churches. Prophet, president and the Church got with that. I was in congregations that prayed on a daily basis and communally together.
Linda Booth:
26:42
Um, uh, we letters from people who were praying and with our end when the Council of 12, who was tasked with speaking, the name of the person came together in a colleague's home. All of us, uh, came up with the same name, different experience and reason why, but the name of, uh, Steven MBZ to serve as the President Prophet of the church came through that discernment, prophetic process of choosing who would be our leader. So I find that is ironic that the one who spoke the words because of his resignation, we as a people really lived out what it meant to be prophetic.
Carla Long:
27:27
Oh, that is interesting. And what a [inaudible]. What a responsibility. Um, that was for, not just for the Council of 12, but, or the church leadership council, but for every single person it was, it was a wonderful experience from what you've said and what I've heard before. It was a really wonderful experience to go through that it was a vulnerable experience and it was a little bit, the word scary is not right, but it was a little bit maybe anxiety producing like what if, what if, what if? But trusting in that process does take a lot of effort and does take a lot of, um, being present. And so anyway, so the, what else did, it never came to happen, right? I mean, we, yeah,
Linda Booth:
28:13
you're right. Yes, yes. In fact, when, when the Peter Jad and, um, Ken Robinson, who were then in the first presidency met with the Council of 12 to share that a present McMurry had given his letter of resignation. We were all in the room except for going to chip away. He was traveling in Africa and he had connected through phone line and when they announced that the letter of resignation had been received, there was dead silence in the Council of 12 room. And you heard Buddha, uh, from Africa over the phone line said, Oh dear Lord. And it was, you know, I think it was an old dear Lord, um, for the whole church because, oh my goodness. I mean, that was not something that had been our experience. And the Council of 12 made a decision. We weren't going to talk about it together. Uh, we met, you know, together in prayer and prayed every day for each other and for the church. And we really were vulnerable as was the church to where it was God was leading us and who God was calling to serve as that prophet president. So it was, it was a remarkable experience. One that hat has blessed the church and has taught the church what it means to be prophetic and to trust and to rely upon and have the assurance that God will walk through us during those difficult experiences.
Carla Long:
29:50
For sure. So we've, we've already been talking about this, but I want to, I want to give you a, a list of something, the things that have taken place in community of Christ and things that are important to us. And I'm going to give you the full list that, um, I, we've come up with and I want you to pick one or two of them and talk about how you saw the prophetic in those places, if that's okay. So just for our listener, you have the list in front of you probably, but I'm gonna give the list to the whole listener and you choose one or two of those. Does that sound okay? Okay. Okay. So, where did you see the Prophetic in the concept of Zion, ordination of women? The different lenses of discernment, the LGBTQ IAA plus a diversity and leadership attention to the poor international diversity and going across borders for ministry, nonviolence, the process of common consent signal communities, the churches name change or in the u s a national conference.
Linda Booth:
30:53
Okay. So I think I've already, I've already talked about the national conference.
Carla Long:
30:57
Yes.
Linda Booth:
30:59
Um, and I added other things on and, well, I'll let me talk about the name change.
Carla Long:
31:05
Oh yeah, that's a good one.
Linda Booth:
31:07
That, that was a biggie too for the church. Um, you know, the reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day saints had been our name for so long and people had defended themselves and explained why they were not Mormon and how they were not Mormon. And people had an unusual fixation on that name. And it meant a lot to a lot of different people. And, and so when, uh, the Council of 12 brought the idea of a new name to the World Conference Community of Christ, the conversation, we listened to each other. And I remember one man standing up and saying, you know, I've defended this name and this is our name and you know, I don't want it change. And then others would say, well, I've defended this name but I don't want to defend it anymore. I want a new name. And, and we listened to each other and we heard each other. And we also listened to the Holy Spirit.
Linda Booth:
32:19
And I remember sitting up on the rostrum or the Council of 12 sits together as a arm looking out into the faces of the delegates, the 2,800 delegates from around the world. And I, it felt as if there was a moving in the midst of those people. And it was a moment when I am listening to the people, I couldn't tell how the vote was going to go, but I remember, and I don't remember who was speaking, but they said something like, this name Community of Christ is not for us. The Name Community of Christ is for others because it is welcoming and it speaks of who we are, who we're called to be. We are called to be builders of community. We're called to be a Zionist in our communities and we're called to be centered in Jesus Christ. And so this name, while it does say who we are and who we're called to be and what we're called to do, it's for others.
Linda Booth:
33:33
And that's what it means to be prophetic. And in that moment of that giving voice to that idea, it was everything I could see and know that, that the conference was going to accept the name. And they did. They voted over 80%, which was the benchmark and had to be at least 80% of the people to vote. But that was, that was a prothetic utterance by that con conference because it wasn't about us. It was about our calling to be that community of Christ, a welcoming and being hospitable for two and inviting others, uh, to join us and to be a part of the building of Zion or the peaceable kingdom of God. So for me, that was a very prophetic moment, but it was also a prophetic process. And that process can use as we try to understand what it means to be a community of Christ.
Carla Long:
34:39
Oh, that's a wonderful story when I've never heard that before. Thank you so much for sharing that. That's isn't it amazing how every once in awhile, I'm sure it's happened to you and me and some others that, you know, you say these words or you hear these words and you're like, and you, you know, in your heart it is rested upon your heart and you know that that is where it is what it is. You should have heard what that person should've said and what needed to be said in that moment. I love those moments.
Linda Booth:
35:10
Me Too. And that's another thing. Like you said, we just have to pay attention. You know, I, I've had those God moments with the words of a child. I, I remember in a very distressful time in my life when a man in the congregation, the pastor of the congregation right soon after it was, uh, known that women would be called to be our Dang. Uh, I had great respect for this pastor. He even looked like my grandfather, who I love so much, and he invited me to lunch. And in that lunch he proceeded to tell me why I would not be called to the priesthood because he thought I was running for the office of priesthood. And I was crushed because I had only done what people had asked me to do if it was to say a prayer or to give a testimony. And I was totally crushed.
Linda Booth:
36:07
And I came home and I told my husband and he was furious and he said, how dare he give you an on priesthood call. And, and I, I got to the point where I could hardly go to church to face the man. And one Sunday when I went to church to take communion, um, I couldn't reach for the bread and the wine. I hurt so much because I thought that I had in some way disappointed God. And so I went home and that beside my bed and cried out to God and the words came, do not allow your hurts and frustrations to separate you from the people you are called to serve. And when I went back to church the next Sunday, a boy of about nine years old, his name was David, came up to me and said, Linda, did you know that you said a prayer on such and such?
Linda Booth:
37:03
And you said, did you, I didn't tell you before, but I felt as if God spoke to me in your prayer. This was just a little kid. And that gave me the assurance that God was not angry with me and that I was to keep on keeping on and to continue to be called just as I had been taught that all people were called and to allow, um, the spirit to continue to work in me. And so not to let my hurts and my frustrations just to separate me from the people that got actually was calling me to serve. So it was a child who spoke the words that helped me to heal and to know that God was okay with me. And it was the words after that crying out to God to know that, um, you're going to always get hurt and frustrated in ministry and in life. But don't let those stand in a way of continuing on to be the servant. You're a servant, uh, for, for God.
Carla Long:
38:09
Oh, what a wonderful story. You are such a good storyteller. I'm so glad that we get to hear these beautiful stories. Thank you for sharing them. Um, was there anything else on the list that you wanted to talk about where you saw that?
Linda Booth:
38:21
Well, you know, I could, I could, I could go on each one of them. I don't know how long this podcast is supposed to be, but when, when you talked about the attention to the poor and the worth of persons, I mean, for me that's what being prophetics about. And it's in that definition and when we discerned God's presence and God's will for the world and to be prophetic then is to express in our beliefs and our actions and our relationships, the caring compassion of Jesus Christ. And so, I mean, I have so many stories of people who have really understood that in another person's welfare, it's their welfare that we've heard in our inspired council. That that when you, when you love another person, then you receive God's love too. You don't do it to receive God's love. But that is actually what happens too.
Linda Booth:
39:17
It's a reinforcement of God's love for the world. I was preaching at a congregation in Tampa, Florida, and this woman named Debbie came up to me. She kinda lurked after everybody had gone through the line and she came over to me and she asked to, she said to me, she said, I have a sense that I'm supposed to start a congregation in Newport Richie, which was, I don't know how many miles away from Tampa. She said, would you pray with me about it? And so I prayed with her and then I got her connected with our mission center president and I told her if she wanted to call me, I would get the names of people in that area. In New Port Richey, you might be connected with the church. And so to make a long story short, she started this little gathering of people and it grew and grew out of her home.
Linda Booth:
40:00
And so they ended up going and having a service in the park in new port Richey. And, um, you know, one of those park places that have the picnic tables and, uh, top over top of the tables and they would sing and they were pray. And, and pretty soon there were these people that would come out of the woods and they would be carrying all of their belongings and they would sit in the picnic tables on the picnic tables with the congregation. And they started talking and they started joining them. Every Thursday night. These people came out of the woods, people that didn't have a home. And Debbie realize that her prayer to start a church, a church that she shot thought was going to be just like the church in Tampa, only the different place became a church that was focused on people who had no home.
Linda Booth:
40:53
And when I went down, uh, to Newport Richie, several years later, we had rented a couple of storefronts. Um, I preached to that congregation that was sitting sh packed into this, uh, area. I mean, there were so close, I could have reached out and touched the noses on the people in front of me. They were so close in that place. And through the glass windows of the storefront, I could see all these people out there, uh, sitting, listening to what was being said. And following my portion, a man named Patrick was, um, confirmed a member of the church. And afterwards I went out looking for him and I said, Patrick, how did you find that church? And you said, well, I was invited by another person who was homeless. He said, um, I lost my job. I was a, and I didn't have any disposable income. So I lived in my car for two years.
Linda Booth:
41:44
And he said, you know, when you don't have a home, uh, you smell and, and people don't want to get near you. They don't want to touch you because you smell. They're afraid, your disease. And he said, when I came to community of Christ, they touched me. They hug me, they shook my hand. And he said, not only did I feel physical touch, but I felt the touch of the Holy Spirit. And, and you see that's what it means to be prophetic. It's to step outside and risk something that's different just to, uh, have your congregation become new in the prophetic light of what it means to be God's people. And when you do, the ministry changes quite often. And the people that come to your congregation are often very different than those you would normally invite. And so when I get excited about being prophetic, it's because I recognize there's so many people that need to be touched and they need to be touched by a human being and through the power of the Holy Spirit to be touched by something greater than themselves. And so that's for me why it's important that we all are prophetic people.
Carla Long:
43:00
Well, thank you so much for sharing that. Um, and sharing those stories. I do think that there's a lot of fear out there for something that you were just talking about. The fear of if I go where God is calling me to go, it's going to be uncomfortable. And it's not going to look like I really want it to look and it might not smell the way I'm, I like things just smell and I might have to go outside of myself a little bit too much. And you know what? I'm pretty comfortable right here. Maybe I don't want to do that. So what you're saying is to be that prophetic, to be a prophetic people, it just takes, it takes courage and it takes the will to say, you know what, I'm not going to let that fear stop me. Absolutely. So I think it's really important. Thank you so much for sharing those stories and thank you so much for sharing all of this incredible knowledge that you have by working for the church for 22 years. That's really awesome, Linda. That's really awesome. Thank you friend. Well, uh, is there anything else you wanted to say? Any question I didn't ask you that you wished I would have asked you before we sign off?
Linda Booth:
44:07
No, I think I probably shared as much as needed at this time, but thank you for the invitation. I've enjoyed the conversation.
Carla Long:
44:15
Thank you so much. Linda
Intro Music:
44:23
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Speaker 2:
44:24
Thanks for listening to projects I am podcast. Subscribe to our podcast on apple podcast, stitcher, or whatever podcast is streaming service you use. And while you're there, give us a five star rating projects. I am. Podcast is sponsored by latter day secret ministries of community of Christ. The views and opinions expressed in this episode are of those speaking and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of latter day secret ministries or community of Christ. The music has been graciously provided by Dave Heinz
Intro Music:
45:20
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Speaker 2:
45:24
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Speaker 5:
45:31
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