Sunday, March 18, 2007
Thinspace & the Feast of St. Patty's

Jackie and I spent the weekend up at Vineyard Central in Cincinnati for the Feast of St. Patrick. It was 24-hour period gathering of friends and spiritual family from all around. There were about 150 people there--house church communities from Cincy, Lexington, Columbus, Oxford, Michigan, Florida and even as far as the west coast. It was a blast of fresh air for us. It was like the class I had to take in seminary called Kingdom, Church and World. Only this was really cool.

How did we wind up here? I got connections. Two and half years ago when I got here to Kentucky I connected with Alan Creech and Vine and Branches. Through them I came to know what was going on at the Brownhouse and VC. I visited about two years ago for a weekend discussion about the arts and church.

I, particularly, was really excited about this weekend. We have plans to move from Wilmore to urban Lexington around The Rock after our wedding in May for the purpose of more actively engaging in the activity of the church in the neighborhood, to plant ourselves (at least for this season) in the community to work and watch the Kingdom of God transform the neighborhood. I was excited because it was an opportunity to meet and connect with people doing the stuff we anticipate getting into ourselves. I was excited because, as much I as appreciate my seminary experience, it's not cultivating my creativity. My kindred souls with whom I can question the methods and practices of institutional church are few and far between.

We arrived just in time for dinner at 6. Kabobs and hummus were catered in. The agenda for the evening was simple. There was the Celtic evening prayer and a brief time of singing. Todd Hunter spoke for a bit. To tell the truth, I didn't feel like I heard anything new. I feel the sensation of taking thoughts in my head and rearranging them like chess pieces on a gameboard. He talked about the Kingdom, the Church and the world, and about how the Kingdom is a secular reality. What he meant (or I took as his meaning) is that the Kingdom encompasses all of the physical world--picking up groceries, going to the post office, attending school, participating in religious activities, all of it. The Kingdom moves into all of it.

There was some talk about bi-vocationalism and how maybe it's not the hottest idea. Honestly, I wasn't expecting that here from these people. It's an idea that I've flirted with: "Maybe I'll be a teacher to support doing some real ministry." Looking at it in words now, it really looks like a stupid idea. There's a dualism inherent in the way most bi-vocationalism is practiced. The language itself is nonsense. A vocation is one thing and not schizophrenic. It's not ministry/Kingdom work over here in this corner and "real, income-earning job" in this corner. Sometimes administrating a church is a noble way to earn a living.

He also talked about how the stories we tell ourselves dictate how we live our life. For an example, he used a young girl that's decided she'll be a ballerina. That now drives how she lives every bit of her life--how she eats, exercises, how she spends her free time. It's all driven by this story of becoming a ballerina. So I wonder about the analogue of Christian discipleship. Perhaps when I make that commitment to a lifetime of modeling Jesus it now affects what I eat, what I drive, what I say, who I spend time with, how I spend my attention, everything.

He said that the greatest barrier to discipleship is the idea that it is one more thing to add to an already out of control schedule. Maybe it is in the ordering of the schedule that is discipleship. This hit particularly home as I think about the challenges we face encouraging a life of discipleship at The Rock.

And that was pretty much Friday night.

More later...


posted by Peter at 7:22 PM
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