Saturday, April 25, 2009

Why I Love My Church

I was at an evangelism conference last fall when someone brought up an interesting factoid: 75 percent of pastors would not worship at the church they currently serve.
I found that rather depressing, and I also thought that aside from the obvious vocational/professional/decent-and-orderly concerns I would certainly worship at the church I serve.
This weekend I am reminded of why.
I spent about six hours today helping rehab the Arlington home of a 90-year-old woman. We worked with a crew from The Falls Church Episcopal. I don't know what the church from which they splintered a few years back would have made of the Clarendon crew: four gay men, a lesbian, a straight married couple, a straight single woman, another straight man and his 18-year-old son. I don't think the homeowner cared a bit. She was just thrilled that her extremely run-down home now has a new kitchen, new floors in the living room and hallway, repaired plaster and windows, a refurbished and refloored bathroom and painted bedrooms.
Friday evening, about a dozen of us gathered at church to watch the award-winning documentary For the Bible Tells Me So. As the movie's web site says,
Through the experiences of five very normal, very Christian, very American families -- including those of former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt and Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson -- we discover how insightful people of faith handle the realization of having a gay child. Informed by such respected voices as Bishop Desmond Tutu, Harvard's Peter Gomes, Orthodox Rabbi Steve Greenberg and Reverend Jimmy Creech, FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO offers healing, clarity and understanding to anyone caught in the crosshairs of scripture and sexual identity.

It is a beautiful and powerful film, and our wonderfully diverse group thoroughly enjoyed it.
Tomorrow morning we will gather in worship in the morning, and tomorrow afternoon our spring CALL group, a life-direction lab that we conduct in cooperation with the Center for Pastoral Counseling, will hit its stride.
Praising God, learning justice, discerning call, serving the least of these -- all in one weekend. Yes, I would be part of this community even if they didn't pay me. (Not that I object to being paid, mind you!)


cledster said...

Many blessings, much life at that church...thanks for the hopeful, thoughtful words, and I'm sorry I missed both events.

cledster said...

And I'm still pondering the truth of the Merton quote from today's sermon: "instead of hating the people you think are warmongers, hate the appetites and the disorder in your own soul, which are the causes of war."

Thanks for the thought-provoking preaching!