Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Still haven't found

Geez, Dave, you make me sound like the bad apple. So I'm the bad apple?

And a co-worker shares with me the following joke:

Apparently, officials in Washington DC have decided not to display a public nativity scene. The decision has nothing to do with the conflict of church and state. It does have everything to do with the fact that neither three wise men nor a virgin can be found in the nation's capitol.

(rim shot)

But that's not all DC's missing.

Over the weekend, the Seattle Times Pacific Northwest section featured Mars Hill Church with a cover story. And might I add that a clean-shaven Pastor Mark is looking ever like Joey Pants. It's a pretty impressive, even-handed presentation of the church, though perhaps a bit too focused on Pastor Mark Driscoll himself. I'm left wanting to have heard more about the church at large, and its direct impact on the Ballard community. There's not even a mention that Mars Hill hosted the Ballard Jazz Festival just a few weeks ago.

I first discovered Mars Hill just about a year ago when I found this article in my daily dose of the Times. I visited pretty regular on Sunday mornings. I was smitten with the atmosphere, the authenticity, the community. For the first time in a very long time, I was at home at church. Then I had to move across the country. I've been church-homeless since.

I remember those first times at Mars Hill--300 souls crammed, standing room only, into a small, surburban building. And they did five services a Sunday in that place. From the outside, it looked like just another house in the Ballard neighborhood. The stage could barely contain the guitarist, drummer and pianist. I was about 10 minutes late the first time, completely missing the music portion of the service. That was a radical departure from the charismatic churches of my college days where "praise and worship" lasted at least an hour. And a P&W band with hammer dulcimer, banjo, and accordion? And a room full of twentysomethings singing hymns? You just had to be there to believe it.

Then Pastor Mark spoke--this stocky, goateed, book nerd, intellectual with a wry sense of humor. The church I had visited the previous, the Sunday morning teaching had been a lesson from the Purpose Driven Life, and I wondered why this pastor wasn't teaching his congregation the Bible. But this week, at Mars Hill, the sermon was Ephesians chapter 5, verse 1, and then verse by verse by verse, the Word of God. I was hooked. There are precious few people I have found that when I see them, I think, "Wow, I want to be a Christian just like they're a Christian." Mark Driscoll is one of those people for me.

Nearly a year later and I find myself on the other side of the country. Where do the twentysomethings go to church in Northern Virginia? Do they go to church in Northern Virginia? Where are the Emerging Churches in the nation's capitol? Just where is God at work in DC?

And just why is going to church just so important to me?

posted by Peter at 10:07 PM
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