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Who Is Andy Catsimanes?

I answered, “Yes!” to God’s summons in August of 2001.

And in 2005, after a good deal of  church-hopping, my wife Shawn and I found our spiritual home at Christ Community Church in Leawood, Kansas – a caring community of committed disciples.

It was there I began to understand this magnificent creation of Christ’s that is the Local Church.

In 2006, I participated in Christ Community’s primary pathway to spiritual transformation, “Razors Edge,” where my understanding of God’s provision for life on earth was substantially deepened.

During that time I was exposed to the teaching of Dallas Willard.

Why “herenowkingdom”?

In my two decades of adulthood before following Jesus in earnest, I had been fascinated by the present-day collapse of moral reasoning so cogently diagnosed by philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre.

The discipleship training I received at Christ Community and continue to receive at our new Wyoming church home, Cheyenne Hills Church reawakened that interest.

If you’re not familiar with MacIntyre’s work, I strongly urge you to pick up a copy of his 1981 study in moral philosophy, After Virtue.

But if you cannot, let me offer you the final short passage of that book, which so powerfully sums up what has gone wrong in our society.

MacIntyre writes:

“It is always dangerous to draw too precise parallels between one historical period and another; and among the most misleading of such parallels are those which have been drawn between our own age in Europe and North America and the epoch in which the Roman empire declined into the Dark Ages.

Nonetheless certain parallels there are.

A crucial turning point in that earlier history occurred when men and women of good will turned aside from the task of shoring up the Roman Imperium and ceased to identify the continuation of civility and moral community with the maintenance of that imperium.

What they set themselves to achieve instead – often not recognising fully what they were doing – was the construction of new forms of community within which the moral life could be sustained so that both morality and civility might survive the coming ages of barbarism and darkness.

If my account of our moral condition is correct, we ought also to conclude that for some time now we too have reached that turning point.

What matters at this stage is the construction of local forms of community within which civility and the intellectual and moral life can be sustained through the new dark ages which are already upon us.

And if the tradition of the virtues was able to use the horrors of the last dark ages, we are not entirely without grounds for hope.

This time however the barbarians are not waiting beyond the frontiers; they have already been governing us for quite some time. And it is our lack of consciousness of this that constitutes part of our predicament…

We are waiting not for a Godot, but for another – doubtless very different – St Benedict.”

I believe the Local Church – when properly formed and maintained under the rule of the Holy Spirit – presents the only viable form of community within which “civility and the intellectual and moral life can be sustained.”

I believe Dallas Willard and his spiritual brethren (including the pastoral staff at Christ Community and a few other places) are providing the practical and intellectual framework necessary to revitalize the Church – a church which, though always running the risk of collapse, can and ever must be rebuilt upon the eternal foundation of the resurrected Christ.

And equally as exciting are the stirrings I sense in the culture at large. Perhaps you’ve heard them as well.

From Hollywood actors – to thought leaders in Silicon Valley – there is a growing hunger for a return to the teaching of moral excellence, or virtue.

This longing – which cannot be extinguished because it springs from the depths of who we are – fights to gain voice in our political discourse, our universities, and society at large.

And though I am at times too cowardly to imagine it possible, I believe it falls to each of us to continually prepare ourselves for stewardship responsibility in God’s Kingdom reign – here and now, as well as in the life to come.

To do that, we must engage with disciplined attention to the precepts of spiritual formation Dallas Willard has written about with such force and clarity.

I believe the Church -right now – is coming together in what Willard and Don Simpson describe as, “a living community which forms a special dwelling place for God – that will allow his magnificence to be known and gratefully accepted by all of creation through all ages.”

“What the human heart now vaguely senses,” they write, “should be, eventually will be, in the cosmic triumph of Christ and his people.”

That is the task we are charged with. And if it appears overwhelming, or far beyond our abilities, we yet have the resources to accomplish it.

It’s my hope this website will assist you in locating and employing the resources you need to more and more take on the character of Jesus, in every aspect of life.

Christ is here, now, to help us live our lives as He would live our lives – no matter how it is we’ve come to Him.

If I’ve learned anything from the gifted teachers at Christ Community, and here at Cheyenne Hills, it’s that we are called to be salt and light wherever we are placed.

Now, it’s true that some of my old high school and college friends would be surprised to hear my profession of faith.

But there are also many things about me they’d see that would recall to them the person they knew, and know.

I still enjoy an occasional beer (a nice porter or stout will do, thank you). I love to cook, having been a long-time “Restaurant person”.

And I have a sometimes-unhealthy passion for Florida Gator football.

I’m a “classic rock” kind of guy, who until fairly recently thought contemporary Christian music was too anemic for serious consideration.

I’m also a one-day Jeopardy! winner. (We don’t talk about day two.)

And having been raised in the Orthodox Church…

…It’s taken me some time to adjust to amplified guitars and upraised hands during worship.

I’m a homebody, who loves the outdoors, especially the Florida beaches where I grew up, and Wyoming’s Rocky Mountains where I met my wife Shawn – truly the one God intended for me.

(I still have my wetsuit – and my climbing shoes – with the vision and  intention of not being too fat to surf or rock-climb again – I’m getting the means in place!)

I have a son, Matthew, now home from his adventures with the Marines – who is turning into a fine young man.

And a daughter Simone, who got neither her excellent study habits nor her love of mathematics from me.

And I have two stepsons, Jeremy and Kris, who graciously allowed me to marry their mother and call their wonderful children, “my grandkids.”

As far as my other interests, failings, triumphs and aspirations, if you stick around, I’m sure you’ll find those out, too. As I hope to draw closer, in Christ, to you as well…

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