Tuesday, May 17, 2005

For What It's Worth...

I guess it's time that I share my deep thoughts about the Emerging Church, since everyone else seems to be.

-- A couple of weeks ago, at my Emerging Church, I was taking Jude (Ju-Ju as we like to call him,) to the nursery. At first he didn't want to go, but I took him by the hand and told him I'd stay with him for a little bit before I went into big church. When we reached the hallway that led into the nursery Jude murmered under his breath, "Hi Jana," and then started singing, to himself, "Jesus loves me, this I know...."

Jana is a part of our Emerging Church. She is a young married woman who is a speech therapist in town. About a year ago she noticed that all we were to our kids were baby sitters while their parents were in church. So she took it on herself, without anyone asking her, to develop a curriculum for our kids. Now on Sundays they learn about Moses and God and Jesus and get gold stars put on the poster board. They sing songs about Jesus and are putting him in their hearts on a weekly basis.

-- This past week at my Emerging Church was our commissioning service to those who will be leaving us. Last year we recognized that we just gave lip service to "One Body, Many Parts." We always said that those in full time ministry are no more or less special than other Christ-followers, but who do we commission? Full time ministers. So for the past two years we have commissioned pastors, missionaries, teachers, business people, academicians, fashion designers, scientists, writers, and even a mechanic. During both commissioning services we watched a video about one of the most Christlike people ever, Mr. Rogers, where his said that the space between what we do and people is holy ground, and that we should take that seriously. And so we take it very seriously.

-- If you were to count the amount of hugs that are given at our Emerging Church you'd be astounded.

-- My emerging church is made up of white people, black people, Mexicans, El Salvadorians, Germans, heterosexuals, a couple of homosexuals, people who listen to cool music and people like me who listen to Dierks Bentley and Big & Rich, people who think women shouldn't preach and women who are studying to be preachers, people who believe homosexuality is a sin and people who think it's natural and ok and people who are struggling and praying about what they think about it, Republicans, Democrats, Greens, Independents, people struggling with drug and alcohol abuse, and even a few East Texans.

-- On any given day of the week, all over this city, you can find the aforementioned members of my Emerging Church spending time with each other over books, meals, coffee, beer, television sets, stereos, and movie theaters. The conversation covers the spectrum of human activity and thoughts and often centers on what it means to follow Christ in our world. There are tons of tears and more tons of laughs and a sense that we are all in this together.

-- My Emerging Church takes the Bible seriously. As such, we refuse to treat it as a weapon or to reduce it to an affirmation of ourselves and our beliefs.

-- My Emerging Church takes tradition seriously. We observe communion often. Most Sundays you will find us singing "Doxology" "All Creatures of Our God and King," "Amazing Grace," "Nothing but the Blood," along with many new songs.

-- The David Crowder Band leads worship at my Emerging Church. Although it can be odd at times having a rock star as a part of your congregation, it's also amazing to think how far around the world the reach of our local faith community reaches, through his music.

-- My Emerging Church takes art and social justice (my dreaded word) seriously. A couple of weeks ago my Emerging Church held an art show featuring and auctioning off the work of some of our people. All the proceeds went to the Invisible Children project, that will be used to build a school and safe house for Ugandan boys seeking to escape their military captors.

-- I could write tons more about my Emerging Church, but I have to go to work.

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