The third paragraph from the bottom should really go on my letterhead someday…

Before it escapes my brain forever…this is the song-list from church this morning.  A new arrival to the church led worship, and I accompanied him (which kinda means I led too, but he was the guy with the microphone, so I look at it as him leading).  Dude’s name is Jeremy, and over the three times I’ve met him, he seems like a good cat.  Looking forward to playing lots of music with him over time (I hope).  I wasn’t in my best singing-voice today, so I didn’t give myself a microphone.  Ended up singing the last song myself though, due to some quick shuffling of the worship-order that led to the preacher asking me to jump up and close with a song…so I sang the first verse and the chorus twice, because those were the only lyrics I could remember.  🙂

Anyway…  Song-list:

  1. Hope to Carry On
  2. Blessed Be Your Name
  3. How Great Thou Art
  4. By His Wounds/Nothing But the Blood
  5. How Great Thou Art — Reprise (this is the bit I sang)
    T-shirt worn: “Read Vonnegut”

On another note, we did something kind of interesting today.  Allow me to rant for a bit…

In groups at our tables (our churches sits at tables…because pews are too mainstream) we were all asked to share the thing we need to let go and surrender to Jesus—THE thing.  The thing you don’t talk about because it’s too embarrassing or damning.  One of the leaders of the church (name and sin withheld) started us off by telling the whole room his “thing” and it was a big one.  So we were all kind of on the hook at that point—which sounds like a nightmare, I know, but I’m sure if you just said “Nope.  Not telling.” or went with a lesser “thing” no one would’ve cared much.  One of the church leaders (again, name/sin withheld) was sitting in my group and shared his “thing” and followed up by saying that he always feels nervous about confessing stuff like that because of the expectations placed on ministers…that they’re supposed to STOP being human once they enter the pulpit.

That, of course, is bullshit.

One of the main things I like about my church is that we’re a bunch of people.  Screwed up—nay, fucked up—people.  And we all know that.  I have yet to experience any judgement or scolding for my problems—even the ones I probably SHOULD have by now.  And it dawned on me today…that doesn’t happen at our church (so far), not because we’re better or worse Christians, but because looking around the room, I saw a lot of people who’d come from other churches where they HAD been judged.  I think a lot of us who’ve been there a while have stories that include some variant of, “and then the chairman of the elders/the youth minister/the pastor called me and it got ugly.”  Usually over a non-issue…  Usually over just being human enough to admit you’re fucked up and to OWN it, and sometimes be trapped by it.  The Church Universal doesn’t care for that.

I think sometimes well-meaning church leaders and assorted busybodies see someone’s flaws and (often with good intentions) immediately think, “GASP!” (Yes, in my world they SAY “gasp.”)  “What will the sinners think if they see a CHRISTIAN being human?!?”  You can almost hear the prosecutor saying, “The prisoner who now stands before you was caught red-handed showing feelings.  Showing feelings of an almost HUMAN nature.  This will not do!”  And the clergy are among the first to be crucified.  When Jesus would probably…y’know…forgive and try to help.  Sadly not an uncommon story in the Church Universal.  Sadly, not an uncommon story among the members of my church…  But at least now we’re together.  No old man who should’ve stepped down from the lofty perch of Elder years ago is wagging his finger at us…at least not yet.

And I think that’s what the Church Universal is turning into as the previous generation starts to lose its hold on it.  It’s left with us.  The kids who were yelled at for spilling the communion.  The teens who smoked in the church parking lot and had the elders tell the youth minister to ask them to leave.  The former ministers who had other leaders in their church examine their lives and declare them unworthy to serve Christ.  The Bible College graduates who couldn’t find work in a church because their band plays in bars, and they like to keep a couple cold beers in the fridge.  The porn addicts.  The would-be teen moms who saw no way out but to have the abortion.  The guy who stole money from petty-cash to pay his rent, hoping to pay it back someday.  The car thief.  The bad parents.  The drunks.  People who are broken, rejected, and lost…and we wandered around long enough that we found Jesus, who accepted us…so we huddle together, away from the bad old men in suits who told us we could have Jesus, as long as it was THEIR Jesus.

We’re hurt.  We’re abandoned.  Struck down, but not destroyed…  Fucked up, but not condemned.  We’re the Church.

And I’m very grateful for the one I’ve somehow fallen in with.

(It should be made clear that we don’t all swear as much as I do, and at least most of those descriptions were made up and not meant to describe anyone specific…)  🙂