Saturday, December 6, 2014

Invitation to Church

Yesterday I wrote this post about our spontaneous invitation of our down-the-street neighbors to dinner.  As we ate, our neighbor said, "I want to go to church with you."

In a way, it felt like she said it out of the clear blue sky.  In a way, it wasn't strange.  Our neighbors are expecting a baby in about 6 months, so their search for a church has a different kind of urgency.  He was raised "Catholic-lite" (his words), and she comes out of a variety of Protestant traditions:  mix a bit of Methodist, a bit of Southern Baptist, a non-denominational church camp here and there.  In many ways, our Lutheran church might be a good fit.

Later my spouse and I talked about the interchange.  We so rarely meet anyone who wants to go to church.  Even at Christmas, when people talk about yearning for midnight mass, when I invite them to go to church, so far, no one has said yes.  And along comes our neighbor who wants a regular Sunday morning experience enough to ask us about it.

Most of the people we know are tolerant of our church commitment, but I get a sense that they see it as a quaint holdover from an earlier time.  We're not doing anything exotic, like our Hindu friend.  We're not meditating.  Our church may host an exercise class here or there, but in fact, it is a quaint holdover from an earlier time:  we hold food drives and rummage sales and AA groups use our building and we gather every Sunday to get nourishment and strength for the week ahead.

So, in several ways, it makes sense that our neighbor would be interested.  In a way, it's nothing threatening, our church.

In so many more ways, it could threaten everything.  It's the kind of church where if we go regularly, we are called to be something/someone different than what our society tells us we should be.  And those transformations can/should be threatening to the dominant order.

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