Jan Edmiston has written a pair of fascinating posts, which work well as separate pieces, but even better together.
A few days ago, I read this post, which talks about being one person with many different spiritual communities. I have long felt that way. I usually have a local spiritual community, along with distant sites where I go regularly, like Mepkin Abbey and Lutheridge.
But could one have different spiritual communities in the same town? I haven't experimented with that as much because most weeks, it's all I can do to maintain ties to my local church, much less add some more to my schedule.
There have been times, however, when I've yearned for something different and more contemplative. My local church has periodic contemplative offerings, but what if I actually could be a Quaker/Lutheran? What if I could find a nearby community that chanted the Liturgy of the Hours, and I could join them occasionally on week days? What if I worshiped someplace else, but returned to my home church to help with the spiritual formation of children? Edmiston's post made me think about the possibilities.
I'd love to find someplace close to work, where I could slip away for week day refreshment. Even a noon concert would be great. I've moved away from thinking that I need a liturgy-readings-sermon-Eucharist kind of experience for it to count as authentic worship. A beautiful concert that turned my attention to God would help me greatly.
And no, a prayer group at work is not what I want.
As I read Edmiston's post, I thought about how many different churches see themselves as in a competition for members, and thus, if someone like me wanted to worship multiple places, that might be seen as betrayal. Edmiston has written about those issues with this post. She ends with this provocative question: "One culture shift we need to make is becoming less prideful (“Our church is Big Deal Church on the Hill“) and more Kingdom-focused (“Who cares through which portal someone enters just as long as transformation happens?“)."
Along the way, she shares a vision of what can happen if several churches join together. It's powerful.
Of course, it's hard to know just how to do that. My suburban church had a partnership for several years with an urban church who provided Wed. night dinners. Unfortunately, that program was ultimately disbanded by the urban church, and we haven't done anything else with them.
And her post doesn't address what happens if no church is the Big Deal Church on the Hill, but if we're all struggling just to pay the bills and keep the building from falling into utter disrepair, and thus, can't do the visioning necessary to move in the direction that she proposes.
Sigh. Yes, I write this on the morning of our Church Council meeting, where we will likely be less Kingdom focused and more building/finance focused. Double sigh.
feeling the feelings…
4 months ago