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Omaha, Nebraska, United States
I am more and more convinced that most congregations die from a staggering lack of imagination. Let's change that. Drop me a line on email or leave a comment if you have thoughts on God, Jesus, congregations, the church or whatever.... I look forward to our conversations.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Pulling Teeth

Tomorrow I lose one of my wisdom teeth...(since wisdom is not a quality I carry in surplus, this is a damaging blow.) Unlike many, I am able to keep my wisdom teeth, as they all came in pretty well, and I have had both the lower left, and tomorrow the upper left tooth removed as necessary. It will come as no suprise that I am not a fan of dentists...

You see, when I was about 10 I fell on some ice, and had a few of my teeth embedded into my skull up behind my nose...I don't remember much except people running around looking for my teeth (which, of course, my dentist found when he pulled them out from my nasal cavity.) I had dental surgery quite a lot in those years, and now, toothed with false teeth, I only make occassional appearances in dental offices. I even have insurance! I still don't go. I have friends who are dentists and hygenists--I don't go. Getting me to go to the dentist is like pulling teeth...and in irony of ironies...tomorrow I get to see just how apt the metaphor is.

Going to church can be like this for some people too. They had too much of it perhaps, or maybe a traumatic experience perhaps, and now they see no need to be part of a community unless it is really, really necessary...I get that. Prairie Table is often church for those who wouldn't ever set foot in a church. Some of our groups meet in a church basement, and some meet other places... Some people just cannot get themselves to a church building...much like I can pass dentist after dentist and never be tempted to stop in...

The cool thing about God, and here the dentist analogy might have to stop, is that God is not limited to church buildings. God is, can be, and even-- in some cases- promises to be in places besides church buildings. Not any old place has sanitized dental equipment...but any old place can gather the people of God into a church.

We have friends whose churches meet in Panera bread stores, local bars for Theology on Tap, and movie theaters, coffee shops, and sporting goods stores...and people go to those places who wouldn't normally go to church in a traditional church building...And God seems to be OK with that.

So I will enter a dental office, and hope not to lose my soul...because as Jesus of Nazareth asked so poignantly years ago, "What does it profit you to gain the whole world if you lose your soul?" As far as loss goes--I hope tomorrow it's just my tooth.

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