What I learned at the egg hunt

At my church, as in many churches I suspect, there is an Easter egg hunt. It occurred last Saturday. I’m rather happy to say that before the hunt, the story of Easter is told so that the children and their parent s get to hear it. It’s always a delight to hear the story. I freely admit that I am not normally a fan of the church Easter egg hunt, but this year was a bit different.

The eggs were placed in separate areas outside for differing age groups. My step son was in the kindergarten group. The kids were lined up behind the streamer, and before long it was cut and they were set loose upon the unsuspecting plastic eggs. The kids all took off running to get their sugary surprises…except Thaddeus. He just strolled casually picking up the eggs that the kids running had left behind them.  After all the eggs had been discovered and the kids were going over their haul, Thaddeus was walking around and giving eggs to those who did not get as many as he had.  Of course after all this there were cookies, kids running, playing and doing those things that children are wont to do.

It’s Lent and time for thought and reflection. At the Easter egg hunt I reflected and learned that while some of us are busy arguing about what to have for Easter dinner, stressing over what to wear to church, worrying over who will cause the family fight this year, etc. that there are five year old boys who are not worried about such things and are just busy living out faith as best as they understand it. That is something worth reflecting on.

Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana (NASA, International Sp...

New Orleans, Louisiana (NASA, International Space Station Science, 11/18/06) (Photo credit: NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center)

I am in Louisiana for a few days and then to a rather special place in Alabama.

Traveling always puts me into a sort of reflective mood, or mind-set. Maybe it is the destination. After all, I left Louisiana years ago. I left for a variety of reasons and excuses, but more than anything, I just wanted to get away from all that Louisiana was and is in my life. Bad family, bad religion, and just bad.

Leaving West Virginia, the place and I am unnaturally attached too… if you aren’t attached to a geographical locale, I cannot tell you what I mean. But West Virginia represents more than just an unexplainable attached to the land…but good family, good faith, and (believe it not) progressive change.

I got to see the same roads and the same places as I once did. But, they aren’t the same. Things change. Things grow. Cities grow. White people move. What was once pasture is now a hotel and McDonalds. What was one the first “mountain” we saw leaving Louisiana is now a Sam’s Club and a parking lot.

It is a good time to reflect on where I am and where I am going. When I left, I never thought I would be able to return. It is an expensive trip. I’m not saying I can go every week, but I am able to go at least once a year. I have become much closer to my Great Aunts – and great in every sense of the word. Other things, as you know, have changed.

Still, the only thing I really miss here is the food… and I’m not even sure that is the case anymore. Last night, we stopped at Don’s Seafood, a local eatery who I have only later found out has been purchased way from the family owners. The food was… less than stellar. It tasted plastic. It was…boring. But, I still get my Community Coffee – shipped up from Amazon.

And this morning…I get to go to a Southern Baptist Church.

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Hope

OnceYouChooseHopeThis Sunday is Palm Sunday and also the Sunday that I will join my local UMC. It is technically a transfer as I have moved, but that does not make it any less momentous for me. It is really the perfect day to join the church I think. Palm Sunday is, of course the day that we celebrate Christ riding into Jerusalem to set into motion the events that would change everything. It is the Sunday that we are reminded that our purpose is to continue to change ourselves through the continuing conforming to the likeness of Christ and also through our service to a world in need. This Sunday, it is also the reminder of hope.

Hope is defined as a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. That is, I think, what the local church is at its best. The expectation and desire for our own transformation, for the transformation of our neighborhoods because of our transformation and so on and so on. The expectation and desire for the return of Christ and the new heaven and earth that we are all desperately in need of. The expectation and desire of the unity of the body. The expectation and desire that not only can it be better, that it will be better so long as we remain in that perfect hope that Christ brings. 

In the world today we are constantly reminded of all the reasons that we should lose hope. The 24/7 news cycle making sure we are aware of every evil that exists, of the conflicts in the protestant and catholic church. The personal struggles and failings of pastors played out on a national stage, etc. The local church and its reminder of the hope in Christ seems to be the best, and perhaps only option, to not be consumed by all the other things we see and hear.

Coming up is Palm Sunday, then holy week and eventually Easter. The promises of this time are many. The promise of resurrection, the promise of salvation, and the promise that there will come a time when the world is as it should be. Those promises are for the future and are wonderful and comforting to hold on to, but don’t forget the gift of hope. That gift is what allows us to all hold on until the promises are fulfilled.

 

Feel free to disregard, just an angry and frustrated rant

“From my perspective, folk who are trying to position themselves in the middle seem to be sometimes doing so in an effort to keep themselves “clean” and removed from the struggle. When you’re actually trying to do something about the situation (as I and other folk in the renewal groups are), hopefully with some level of integrity, it’s frustrating to constantly have verbal grenades launched at you.”

This was from a discussion about what the caucuses (read extremes) are doing in the UMC. It has me pretty ticked off really. Who said it and what “side” they are on does not matter in the least, what does matter is this. Those of us in the middle are trying to do something, it’s called keeping our church together while the extremes tear it apart. We are not keeping ourselves ‘clean’ we are dirtier than most because we get the poo thrown at us from both sides. If you need an example of this, watch gorillas. They do this to those in the middle too. Verbal grenades? Really? We in the middle get them from both sides too. A lot of us are not as smart as the extremists, but there are a lot more of us, and by the time they have finished pushing us out they can have their way…one will win and one will lose, and there will be lots of church buildings…most empty because the middle you seem to despise so much left the building.

Fight church

fight-church
The first rule of fight church is you don’t talk about fight church. You argue, debate, threaten to and in some cases leave, but you do not talk.

The second rule of fight church is you don’t talk about fight church. You levy insults, condemn people, make disparaging remarks and are basically mean spirited, but you do not talk.

The third rule of fight church is if someone says “stop” or goes limp, taps out the fight is over. That is the point after all, to beat someone up to the point that they just don’t have any will anymore.

The fourth rule of fight church is only two sides to the fight. No room for middle ground here. No matter how complicated it may be, only two sides.

The fifth rule of fight church is one fight at a time. No need to be involved in anything else, just focus on the fight at hand no matter the cost.

The sixth rule of fight church is no shirt, no shoes. No stoles or robes either. Nope, we are all equally able to beat up on each other. No need to worry about protecting anything, especially the feelings and faith of others.

The seventh rule of fight church is fights will go on as long as they have to. No peace, no compromise, just the fight.

The eighth rule of fight church is if this is your first time at fight church, you must fight. Pick a side and have at it.

More Conversations on Mainline and Evangelical

You remember my posts, right? Here and here. Milton contributed one as well.

Well Brian and Jessica have contributed as well.

Tomorrow, I will post a list of those who I believe are influential non-Evangelicals (i.e., those who wouldn’t hold to the Chicago Statement).

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Should the Church Pander to Millennials?

Anyone has comments on this article?

Is there a logical and analogous point to what we have been discussing here in other posts? What is the danger for the Church if it would buckle to the pressures of millennials? I love the term “irreparable harm”. So, what it would be the irreparable harm by giving in to the clamors of the millennial crowd?

The reverse may be also truth: Is there any irreparable harm to the millennials if the Church simply ignores their accommodation needs? Will the changeable be harmed by the unchangeable?

Comments?