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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. Let's imagine a creative future with God and each other together. 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.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Church is the end...until then it's just congregations and people

Church is over, and for me that is true almost from the beginning of when I first stepped into one 50 years ago. I never found church all that interesting as a kid. I liked the music and the ritual (I am a sucker for ritual apparently), and can even remember some things various preachers have said. But most of the time when I go to church-worship I am talking to my dad, or my wife, or my kids, or even the ladies on front of me. I am not a quiet worshiper.

As a pastor I pretty much try to keep things moving along when I lead church-worship. No lag time between elements, short, quick reflections upon scripture, music I like (with a propensity to choose pietistic American hymns from the 19th Century because I like the minor chords). Church-Worship more than 45 minutes in my book is a waste of time. There is little silence, no time for reflection, and just learning how to behave as a community. The noisier the better, the more chaotic the more spiritual.

I even started a worship service based on chaos and conversation. I noticed in the usual church-worship, other than than a few songs and a prayer or two, most of the time people were expected to sit still and listen--like 90% of the time. I think that's stupid most days. There are times to sit and listen to God, but I am of the school that Sunday morning is not the best time to do that (although I might be persuaded some day). When everybody's together there should be a party or at least a chance to corporately act TOGETHER rather than in separate individual bubbles of consolation and solace. So the worship I developed had lots of talking amongst people and lots of sharing together rather than time to dwell in your own shell of piety. We could tell when veteran church-worshipers would visit: they would sit in shock for 45 minutes, and the second we broke up to leave they would run out that door never to be seen again. If you'd had no prior worship experience we were fun, but if you were expecting "church" we were just confusing.

There still is a place for church in my theology, and most people call it "heaven." The Book of Revelation to me is church or what the end-goal of all life is about--God and God's people living together in prayer and praise. So, until then, we have some people and the congregations they form. God's blessings on that.

May your tables be full and your conversations be true.

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