Category Archives: Sunday Morning Musings

Family and Kingdom

I tossed and turned in bed last night. The bed sheets gathered around my neck. One feline camped out at my feet while another lounged around my head until they decided to rumble around 4 a.m. The humidity weighed heavy and my husband’s breathing echoed. Finally, I gave in and got up. After a shower, breakfast, exposure to the Happy Lamp, and a deep breath, I scrolled through the all-important happenings posted on Facebook during my not-so-slumbering hours. I came across this quote:

Once you’ve left the concept of family you’ve left the concept of Kingdom. – Bill Johnson

It took me aback. See, it’s Sunday. Sabbath. The traditional day to scurry about getting the family fed and presentable and out the door (by 9 a.m., yet again, like all the days before it) to attend a corporate gathering for worship. Except for the past year-ish, my family hasn’t.

Some days we’ve been sick; some days we’ve been tired; some days we’ve been with extended family members – in state, out of state, in all sorts of states. But lately, we’ve woken up leisurely. We’ve enjoyed breakfast together. We’ve dressed down, grabbed our bags with workbooks and card games and cookbooks for weekly menu planning, and we’ve gone to a local coffee shop to hang out for two-ish hours where we connect with friends who work there and friends who hang out there and friends who wander in and out in between church services.

I don’t know if this is the right thing to do. Part of our actions stem from wanting a day of rest. Perhaps that means our weekly activities are too much; perhaps that means we’re being lazy.

Part of our actions stem from children’s ministries at our worship gathering: we have three littles participating, but we don’t have adults serving, and the need for teachers/leaders/facilitators seems great. I’ve connected with the children’s pastor about this, and she spoke freedom to my husband and me that we didn’t have to volunteer. But I haven’t been able to get past the dread/guilt/uncomfortable feeling I have dropping my kids off with my friends as they’re teaching children’s Sunday school.

A friend has written about the lack of male representation in children’s ministries. This morning I joked with my husband over our Sunday morning cup of coffee that Jamie and I have the same sense but totally different responses. He rallies people to move toward something, issuing a call for men to come alongside the current volunteers (mostly women) in the role of teaching the young among us. And I wonder about laying children’s ministries down: no volunteers, no interest/energy, no program.

My family spends a decent amount of the week apart. Well, the kids and I spend the time apart from my husband. But on Sunday morning we spend some quality time together – with people from our community who come in and out of the coffee shop since it’s in the middle of our town – and we connect.

So when I read Bill Johnson’s quote, I did a double-take. To a degree I feel like I’ve left my church family. My kids beg to attend Sunday morning service – mostly to see their best friends and get to run around bizerko during community time while my hubby and I try to balance yelling at them to behave and giving up because who else is actually trying to manage their children? – and yet I feel a block about attending the worship gathering. Actually, I feel an achy tummy. And achy ears from my kids’ seemingly constant questioning. “Why don’t we go?!!”

So I read that quote, and I thought, “Have I left Kingdom? But I want to be about the Kingdom!”

And yet I spend Sunday mornings with my immediate family camped in the midst of our greater family. I don’t know that we worship. But honestly, I don’t really worship at the corporate gathering anyway, so at least my stomach ache stems from too much caffeine instead of spiritual anxt.

“Once you’ve left the concept of family you’ve left the concept of Kingdom.” I think this means to point out the importance of relationships over power; grace over law; love over all. And I hope somewhere and somehow the actions – and nature – of my family speaks the Kingdom to our greater family; that we hear Kingdom from our greater family; and that we get the chance to glory in the unexpected and unbounded movements of the Spirit together – to and with the greater world.

Outsourcing: NFC Worship during the Fast Week 2

We experienced yet another week of worship with our children, and though this blog has been silent, we lived to tell the tale.  So did the balcony carpet, although it’s been littered with a bit more cereal crumbs that I’m fairly certain it’s ever seen.

This past week did not go as “smoothly” as the week before.  Which, one may think, “But Aj, last week didn’t sound all that smooth in the first place.”  Very very true.  Judah ran even more.  Abel, having had a bout of the stomach flu the day before, was a bit on the clingy side.  And Jason and I were a bit tired with patience lacking.

But we persevered through snacks, bathroom breaks, and pacing.  In my Walking the Balcony I got to hang out with a friend who was pacing with a bebe as well.  Except the last time he had a babe was some 14ish years ago.  Nope, this wasn’t his kid:  he and his family had been taking turns passing the lovely little girl around during service.

And towards the end of service, Judah asked saw Mr. Alan in the sound booth and wanted to infiltrate, but I told him not to be a bother.  Except, of course, Mr. Alan asked if Judah could come and help him run sound.

Judah told me all about the things he learned:  listening on the headset, watching the screens, “working” the nobs.  He felt very informed and helpful.

At the end of service we had a time of prayer.  I think the idea was to reflect on the message, but something was also said about praying for others.  I was a little too busy balancing Abel on the open second story window because I thought he might stop “ditditDITDITDIT!!!”ing at the top of his lungs if he saw his beloved nature.  But a friend came up to me and asked if she could pray for me:  um, yeah?!!  🙂  As she spoke, she prayed for me to have patience, and I must admit I found myself thinking, “Do I look like I need patience?  Man, I thought I was handling myself well this morning!”, but perhaps it was more a reflection on the active tykes rather than my response (I hope).  🙂  She later took Abel for a walk outside so he really could enjoy the sunshine and I could enjoy free arms and quiet.

Again, to me, this is church.  Both my little men have been dedicated in front of this body, and it wasn’t just a commitment from Jason and I to raise them in the ways of Christ, but also for the body of Newberg Friends to commit to walk alongside us.  As other families bring their children in front of the congregation in the same way, so I eagerly commit to walk alongside them, through the good and the bad, through the children who sit still during service and the children who appear to be jumping over the balcony (I can’t tell you how many folks jerked every time Judah approached the edge).  I can’t do it on my own, and I don’t want to; and as I outsourced some of my parenting duties that morning, I looked forward to the day when I can return the favor.

Glad I’m Not Fasting from the Sunday Nap

It’s actually here:  June has arrived, and Newberg Friends Church has begun a six week corporate fast (lots of helpful linky links on the webpage).   Well,  Newberg Friends has begun an  “optional” six week corporate fast, i.e.  many of the adult Sunday School classes are still meeting, but I think addressing what it means to be the corporate body of Christ, setting aside preferences for the sake of others, and laying down some of that individualism we as Quakers love SO very dearly almost to our dying denomination’s detriment is probably another post in itself.

Because this post is about the fun we had on Sunday morning:  so much fun that Abel fell asleep in his high chair during lunch and Judah slept almost 12 hours straight last night.  Now *that’s* a great Sunday.

Jason and I were a bit wary.  We knew this Sunday was coming, the day when all the kids and youth would be in worship with us.  And we also knew that the nursery and the 3’s class would still be in session for our kids to be deposited into.  But it seemed a tad hypocritical to speak for weeks on what a wonderful time this could be to see our full faith community and experience the life and joy and reality of truly corporate worship, you know, minus my kids.

So I prepared:  I packed books and snacks and a sudoku book and pens in my Mary Poppins bag.  I remember a few years ago sitting by a family with young boys, and every Sunday the mom would pull out coloring books and snacks and activities for them to do.  Newly married, and minus the whirling dervishes known as my children, I would look over and think, “Why do these kids have to be entertained?  Why can’t they just sit?  What is wrong with her and her parenting that these boys have to be distracted during service?”  My, oh my, oh my, I should’ve known that that would be a small glimpse into my future.  Because, you see, at least her kids *SAT*.  Sigh.

And so we “congregated” in the very back of the balcony where we could quickly exit if need be and small people could climb under pews with the least amount of distraction and smaller people could crawl on the floor and not conk their noggins and yowl.

It went as well as could be expected.  🙂

People only had to stop Judah from hanging precariously over the balcony once and out the second story window once.  Abel only shouted at his pacifier a few times, during quiet time, of course.  Judah conked his noggin once, had to go to the bathroom once meaning stomping up and down each.individual.stair.to.the.basement.and.back.up.again, and mostly worked his army skills climbing under benches.  We only bothered our neighbors a few times (one of them being the president of the university, i.e. my hubby’s ultimate boss – lovely).  Judah sang the songs while Abel and I danced.  Judah ate triskets while Abel stalked him yelling “DIT DIT DIT DIT” and we quickly threw him a piece of chunky cereal to pacify the restless native.  Judah loved seeing “Opal and Pearl” (i.e. Sandra Fish and Teacher Miriam) all dressed up and acting like two crazy old ladies not understanding the concept of the fast (“I tried to tell the officer about the fast, but he didn’t seem to think that applied to my driving here”).

People talked to each other.  People sang and laughed and praised.  Afterwards we congregated on the lawn for muffins and coffee.  While the adults chatted and the little boys ran amuck, I looked at Jason and said, “This is church.”  Minus being able to maintain eye contact with the adults because I was having to monitor too many roads that small people could run out in, this was just like when I was a kid after church:  parents chatting and happy, kids being kids, food and beverage being enjoyed, worshiping and fellowshipping.

Which, apparently, is exhausting.  Who knew I needed to build up my fellowshipping endurance?  Believe me, that’s something that I won’t mind putting effort into.

Worship, Celebration, and Family – A Good Day

Sunday morning made me smile this past week, and at this point, it takes a bit to make these lips curve in an upward fashion (I don’t care who says it takes more muscles to frown than smile: obviously they’re talking about those who sleep for periods longer than 2.5 hours). This past Sunday was Outdoor Worship at Newberg Friends: one of my favorite gatherings of the year. True, we’ve only had two, but they’ve been a *really good* two.

Last year we had an offered breakfast of Krispy Kreme donuts, but this year someone got on the “no trans fats” wagon – fruit and pancakes abounded instead. Last year it was blazing hot, and this year it actually rained a little bit. Last year we let Judah run around a little bit and then said our thank yous that nursery was still available even though the rest of the kids programs were on hiatus for the week; this year, we decided to keep Judah with us . . . on the lawn . . . with no means of corralling such as a door or baby gate (not that they’re all that effective anyway) – yes, I am *that* sleep deprived.

Jason’s folks are in town, but the lure of Portland Nazarene Mecca (a.k.a. Portland First Church) was too strong (that, and they’re staying with Jason’s sister who attends that church – easy ride). I was bummed not to share the experience with extended family, but as multiple mothers kept coming up to ooh and ahh over the latest addition to our family, I realized that our worship gathering has become our extended family.

When deciding which car to take to worship, Jason figured we should take mine which has the removable infant car seat as opposed to his car with the convertible non-removable car seat. “That way we’ll have a place to put Abel.” “Are you kidding me? First, this kid does *not* like to be without human contact. And do you think for a second the ladies at worship will let us keep him in that contraption?” “Ah, yes, I forget.”

See, I know, having attended Women’s Bible Fellowship, that babies are *not* allowed to stay in car seats (unless the mother deems it necessary, of course). Babies are to be passed around, hugged and bounced, cuddled and kissed, commented on how much they’ve grown and which parent they’re beginning to resemble: it’s sort of a way of welcoming them into the family – physically as well as spiritually. The mother gets to take a bit of a break – to share funny stories of how the older sibling is reacting to the younger sibling, to hear stories and advice in return. Folks offer up more than words, but share their bits of wisdom, affirmations, baby gear, and time (offers for play dates or baby sitting).

On Sunday when we arrived at Newberg Friends, Judah excited proclaimed and pointed, “ABEL!” to any passerby. Quickly Abel was passed from friend to mother of a friend to mother of a friend to my patron saint to another friend. Friends came by – moms, dads, kids – and made all the appropriate comments about how wonderful he is and how Judah is such a good big brother. Dads came by to check in with Jason; Judah connected with one of his favorite child care workers who happened to be playing in the brass ensemble that morning; she played songs just for him, and he sat so still while she showed him how it worked that I’ve decided Jason needs to learn to play the trombone.

I have to admit it wasn’t the most focused worship experience I’ve ever had. Judah enjoyed running around – a lot, meaning we chased him around – a lot. We sat by a table with paper and markers which turned into the kids drawing table, which was fairly entertaining to watch as Judah kept saying “hi” to the kids and mixing up their names (but he was so excited to see his “friendscominsoon” – a request we hear daily if not hourly). And, of course, my mind isn’t tracking quite like it should. But I felt happy; content; at home. It was a time of celebration: for our family, for our greater community. As I reflect on my memories of the day, I regain that feeling of centeredness and purposefulness, that I’m part of a story larger than my own, that I have a duty and a joy to share that story with others.

That, to me, feels like worship. And that’s a good day.

A Crazy Way to Do Worship

Ah, yes: yet another installment of Balcony-Person Aj’s Sunday Reflections. I would be lying if I didn’t say that at moments I wondered if this is my Sunday theme song:

“Why do we always come here? I guess we’ll never know. It’s like a kind of torture to have to watch the show.”

Statler and Waldorf

But I think today’s worship gathering at NFC would’ve put a plug in their yappers, both due to amount of sharing, the type of content shared, and the stark call of the Spirit towards worship and adoration of God our King.

Today we sang a number of songs glorifying and confessing that God is our King – how we stand in awe of God, we bow down and crown you our King. I struggled with the songs some: many folks were so emotionally engaged, I wondered if they truly connected with the words or if they were participating in a more “staged and planned” experience (worship planned to take us deeper and deeper to a certain emotional point; the “high” is achieved/consumed where folks feel “touched”; the worship comes out of that deep place; we continue with life as normal feeling like our job is done). But then, of course, during open worship a number of people shared about the deep meaning and connection the worship songs had for them – for some it was a true confession of the profession that God is King; for some it was a marker of how songs serve as markers – the words take on additional meaning as God working and healing in them over the years. Ah, the Spirit dialogues in crazy ways.

As open worship began, a Friend stood and shared his concern for some business matters taking place at the Yearly Meeting/District level of our denominational gathering. He wanted to engage in discussion with others about their knowledge of these matters and to call attention to a meeting taking place next Sunday regarding these changes. Compared to the worship we had been engaged in, it was a shocking, jolting thing: my spirit recoiled so strongly that I started shifting in my seat, gripping the pew in front of me, feeling the need to Make-This-Stop!

My friend stepped up and did the job he is so gifted to do (though he is wonderful at preaching, despite what he believes I think): to name what just happened, to gently and lovingly remind us the difference between Open Worship and Worship for Business. The rest of our time was spent in open worship. Some continued down the road of business, but for the most part people seemed to enter into a deeper level of worship: sharing their personal calls, confessions, praises. It was almost as though the initial sharing reversely clarified what worship truly is – how we do it – what our attitudes and thoughts and actions and lives should be.

I understand why the friend spoke. With change can come perceived loss of control, and a natural reaction to such a threat can be fear. And I welcome the opportunities to discuss this at the appropriate time and venue.

But I’m even more excited about what will come from this encounter with the Spirit. I *know* the Spirit was there: a number of times people shared exactly what I was thinking. AND I’m realizing that I cry when the Spirit is around. Which is not the barometer I would prefer God to use to alert me to when the Spirit’s doing a jig (seeing as how I do things, such as sitting in the balcony, to AVOID ATTENTION). But tears flowed down my cheeks for a good half hour, and even the nose decided to join in the liquid bounty: boy howdy, I was so pretty on this Mama’s Day. 🙂
So I trade in my Heckler’s Theme song for a chorus, standing and waiting and loving on my Lord. Lord, you are calling us to a season of confession and deepened worship; will You help us receive what You have prepared for us?

You are beautiful beyond description,
Too marvelous for words;
Too wonderful for comprehension,
Like nothing ever seen or heard.
Who can grasp Your infinite wisdom?
Who can fathom the depth of Your love?
You are beautiful beyond description,
Majesty enthroned above.
And I stand, I stand in awe of You,
I stand, I stand in awe of You;
Holy God, to Whom all praise is due,
I stand in awe of You.
I stand in awe of You

Bread of Life Shouldn’t Make You Choke

Todays message at worship was entitled Bread of Life – looking at the passage in John 6:35:

Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life. The person who aligns with me hungers no more and thirsts no more, ever (MSG).

We were encouraged to question what is sustaining us – Christ or other things? What does it mean for Christ to be our sustaining bread? How might we be fully dependent on God? Bread was laid out on tables throughout the sanctuary, and we were encouraged to get a piece of bread and eat/consume it as we ponder/meditate/dialogue with the Spirit regarding what sustains us.

This whole topic can be a mildly touchy subject for Quakers who have a tradition of abstaining from traditional bread and wine communion. Some cite that it stems from scripture stated later in John:

The Spirit can make life. Sheer muscle and willpower don’t make anything happen. Every word I’ve spoken to you is a Spirit-word, and so it is life-making (6:63 MSG)

meaning anything the Spirit matters and the fleshly acts dont. However, Ive heard a different take: I have a friend who thinks of every meal as an opportunity for communion – to break bread and encounter God in community. He doesn’t feel called to engage in communion once a month/week, but in the breath of everyday life.

Im reading Emerging Churches: Creating Christian Communities in Postmodern Cultures by Eddie Gibbs and Ryan K. Bolger (only read the first chapter, but so far its pretty accurate of my experience). When looking at church experiences in the U.S. and U.K., the authors noted:

According to different timetables and different degrees in various traditions, the church removed the symbolic, the mystical, and the experiential to make space for logical and linear ways of thinking and living. . . The church continues to communicate a verbal, linear, and abstract message to a culture whose primary language consists of sound, visual images, and experience, in addition to words (20).

I have a friend who has left the Friends tradition to become Episcopalian: she says, There *needs* to be more ritual and liturgy in our lives! Shes not saying that participating in these acts secures her salvation (she loves space created for open worship), but rather that tradition helps her experience God more fully. Communion might not be meaningful every time, but then again, open worship might not either.

How can the Quaker tradition speak to a generation that when the mystery, the visual, the ritual, the touch, and the beauty are removed, little is left (21). When I hear Quakers dont take communion, it sounds pretty exclusionary of others experience – many times it said with a tone of were above taking communion. What if its meaningful to others, and what if our pronouncement impedes others experiencing God? How can we extend the embrace of God in worship whole-heartedly and remain authentic to our identity? Is that an issue?

Joyfully Gathered

Today at our worship gathering I experienced an array of emotions:

  • Happiness at seeing so many wonderful folks gathered to praise and worship together, especially as I watched four grownups try to squish onto a three-person pew – they really like each other.
  • Sappy sentimentality as I looked at how the sanctuary is garbed in gorgeously simple Christmas attire.
  • Anticipation at the thought of being with a larger community as we gather for the Christmas Eve Candlelight Service, which for the first time ever will be only with my newly immediate family – Jason, Judah, and I. Many folks dont have a chance to celebrate Christmas with their nuclear family: a barrage of extended family obligations pull them in scurried directions. Im so happy to celebrate with my extended family, but Im also eager to worship with my larger worship gathering and area community with my boys.
  • An ache for more silence during service. Instead of my usual looking-around-at-everyone-in-the-sanctuary followed by analyzing-the-attire-and-hairstyles-and-facial-expressions-of-all-the-worship-leaders, I sat staring at a wall, thinking about why we were gathered, soaking in the sounds of the brass ensemble, and wishing for more time simply to be gathered sitting in Gods presence.
  • Uneasiness sitting next to the university president and in front of one of the vice presidents (like Mom and Dad watching over your shoulder to make sure youre not passing notes during service. Will that *ever* fade?)
  • Blazing embarrassment as my friend who was preaching read something I wrote and decidedly pointed out that a) I was up in the balcony (yep, still got that security blanket) and 2) my face matched the color of my red sweater. Thanks, Steve-O: I think youre just getting back at me for posting your picture on my blog. 🙂
  • Wonderment as someone talked shared about how the arrival of a baby changes *every element* of a persons life, and how the arrival of a baby savior mustve signaled the same change. Another person shared about how Christ laid his life down daily: as he came to earth as a child, as a adolescent, as a young man – it wasnt just once on the cross, but every minute was a laying down of his life. I thought about if Id want to trade places with Judah – um, thanks but no. I like being able to do things for myself – I like the sense of power/control I have in my life. Christ has *so* much more, and yet he put it all aside to become a powerless/dependent infant. Wow.
  • Giddiness as I listened to my Birthday Buddy (we have the same birthday! I only know one other person who shares my birthday, and I love both of these girls dearly! We also share it with MaryLou Retton, Neil Diamond, and the Emperor Hadrian. Arent you jealous?) share her thoughts on this weeks advent candle: joy. She talked about playing a game with a group of five-year-olds including her daughter: they would take turns hiding the baby Jesus from the nativity scene around the house, and then would give clues to help the group find him – some were general, some were specific, but each time the girls found the baby, giggles of joy would ripple among them. She wondered what sorts of outbursts of joy came out of those who literally found Christ in the manger, and how do we hear those outbursts today?
  • Comfort in being welcomed into a community. It took us a good twenty minutes to get to the car after picking up Judah and chatting with friends in the hall. Various folks of all ages and walks of life talked with me, with Jason, and with Judah.

To me: thats the church gathering.

Red Sweater Club

Today at church a new group was present – the Red Sweater Club. Its not an organized club by any means, but there must be some sort of subliminal organization to it, because as I looked around to my part of the sanctuary (I can see less than half the folks in attendance), I counted over thirty people wearing Red Sweaters or Sweatshirts or Shirts or Scarves . . . or all of the above.

One of those folks, looking absolutely glowing in her crimson garment, was my friend Marta who spoke about our theme for this week of Advent: peace. Marta is one of the most eloquent, well-spoken, truly beautiful people I know. She jokes that shes the least-qualified person to speak on the subject of peace, but let me tell ya: it just oozes out of her pores, even if she believes shes flustered.

Heres what she had to say. Thanks for sharing, Red Sweater Friend.

**Edit**

I’m not the only one who noticed the beauty of Marta’s words . . . and the thematic attire of the day.

Images

So Ive been having weird dreams lately (well, when are dreams *not* weird? That in itself would be odd). Two nights ago I dreamed about having a tea party with Shirley McLaine and the wife of the president at my hubbys place of employment. Last night I dreamt that my friend Erinns daughter had a tendency to wander around town without shoes on – just walking up and down the street. I walked her back to the church where it was Wednesday arts and crafts night, and the George Fox campus pastor was teaching the father of the previous campus pastor how to make a new kind of apple pie.

But then today I had a sort of waking dream – not so much a dream, but a progression of thoughts and images that I dont think I constructed. I was getting ready this morning and thinking about Paris Hilton – I have no idea why. My mom was taking care of the Little One who was yowly, so I was throwing myself together to get back into MomDuty. I thought about how it would stink to always be in the media eye, to need to look together all the time, for your livelihood to depend so much on that.

And then I started to get a little bitter and resentful, thinking about all the money she has and, in my opinion, wastes on selfish whims. I thought about how hard it would be to minister to folks in Hollywood, to be placed by the call of God to speak His love into their lives and not to get sucked in to their materialism. Talk about needing to be in the presence of God *every* *single* *second*. How do you live around that much STUFF and not sell out to it?

And then there was a tweaking to my thinking, a sort of change Ive experienced only from a certain Loving Being who shifts my initial judgements onto magnifying glass on my own life. I dont think of myself as rich by any means, but Im sure folks in other countries would. And every day I have bountiful opportunities to spend my time/energy/resources/love on myself . . . or I can spend time practicing the presence and see what God has in store for me. I read somewhere about an American woman talking with a woman from the Middle East and asking how she dealt with having fewer freedoms (what the American woman saw as oppression); the Middle Eastern woman said she and her peers were so thankful for the opportunities they did have, and the lack of pressure in having to deal with such freedom that we have – they knew their place and found freedom in that, and they felt sorry for American woman – wondering how they could be faithful to their roles in life without selling out to things they shouldnt.

Interesting, random thoughts for a Sunday morning.

Aw, Snap

I so got called out. By myself. On my own blog.

So have you heard me talking about community? How we need to be a part of each others lives? How church is a way of living, not an activity?

And then what do I do? Talk about how I really like sitting up in the balcony of my worship gathering so that I can be anonymous and not bothered and participate on the level that I feel comfortable with, and then leave to continue on with my week without connecting with others. Its almost like I could hear God chuckling while I thought I was being witty but in reality proceeded to make an ass of myself. And publically: for all to read. Stink.

Im part of a small group thats called Listening Life – its a place to make space to come and listen to Christ. The group has only met twice, and were currently laying the groundwork for what it means to be part of a small group. This last weeks focus: community.

HOW DID I NOT SEE ALL OF THIS COMING?!!? Its like Im the dumb blonde going up the stairs in a dark deserted house on Halloween in the horror flick; or the character on Days of Our Lives who everyone thinks is dead for the fourteenth time but really isnt; or changing my sons diaper before hes pooped only to have the grunting begin once I pull up his pants – HOW DID I NOT SEE ALL OF THIS COMING?!!?

Community is not a sterile place that simply serves as a building in which to do prayer practices; rather the practice of living in the community is itself a prayer practice. As we allow others to relate to the life of a community as we would relate to any other prayer technique, we are formed and transformed by God. ~ Daniel Wolpert, Creating a Life with God

So what does this mean? Walking my talk – and thats the danger of having a blog, because Im talking all the time (all of a sudden less is more sounds appealing). I oftentimes feel the opposite of folks: many find the intimacy of sharing in a small group threatening or scary – Ill spill my guts. But put me in a large group of people, and I suddenly go to spectator-mode – I dont even like sharing on the surfacy level!

Im comfortable with my small group community; how do I become part of the larger community? What does that look like? How can it be more than, How are you today? . . . or does it need to be more than that? How does one do community when the meeting for worship spans three services and two levels of seats?

Im glad God doesnt mock me: I think I do a fair job myself.