Friday, August 13, 2010

Big C, little c

Forgive me father for I have sinned. I have never been to confession and the last time I attended mass was when I was 10 for my Aunt's funeral. The fact of the matter is I'm not a Catholic, but on the first Sunday of every month when we say the creed I confess in the holy catholic and apostolic church. Now before you lose interest this is not another Lutheran-centric Pope bashing session. I actually don't have a lot against the Catholics. Like I said my Aunt was a devout follower and influenced my faith in ways I'll never be able to express. One of my favorite stories of my childhood is kneeling down to pray with my aunt at my uncle's funeral and without missing a beat, my aunt producing a second rosary for me to hold while we prayed. I can't say I knew what I was doing, but I do know the symbolism of the moment was profound for both of us. 

So I have a very healthy respect for the big-C Catholic church. That being said there are very specific reasons I am a Lutheran. I believe that most of them are either political or dogmatic and pale in comparison to what we have in common, but they are differences nonetheless. The part that strikes me is the language we use. The word "catholic" very simply means "universal." It comes from a root in greek and as Wikipedia put it protestant churches use it that "believe that their churches are catholic in the sense that they are in continuity with the original universal church founded by the Apostles."

I truly believe that the universal church is far more expansive and amazing than I could possibly understand. It is in this church, the joint body of Christ, in which I believe. After watching the Tom Hanks movie Angels and Demons tonight I found myself feeling slightly nostalgic for the pomp and circumstance of traditional Christendom (as strange as that sounds for an emergent worship leader.) I remember the impact the church had on my aunt and on myself as a young person. Its because of this nostalgia that I think its of the utmost importance for us to continue in the conversation of the missional and emerging church. What I now call church may not have a confession or rosary or pope, but it is a genuine expression of the body of Christ. I believe it is unique in the Lutheran movement and hopefully it will be contagious and catch on as a new expression of Lutheranism. But more than any of this, my prayer is that the catholic church will continue to grow and thrive in the post modern world. Not my church, but the church - with a little c. 

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Unity not Uniformity

I was having a conversation with PC the other day. He made some comments that really resonated with me and have been rolling around my head a little bit. He said we needed unity, not uniformity. That made me start thinking, whats the problem with the church nowadays?

We have these incredible organizations and hierarchies and power structures that continuously legislate from on high. We call them denominations.  I've been a part of the Lutheran denomination for my whole life and part of that seems to come preset with a certain condesention to other denominations. Maybe its only my issues but why can't we all just get along? I realize that I am on the fringe left of what is considered "polite christianity" but i believe that my belief and faith are just as valid as anybody else's so why wouldn't I extend the same courtesy to people who don't agree with me. I believe its time for followers of the Way to get their act together.

At the Exponential conference in Orlando this past spring author Regie McNeil asked the collective group "How many churches are in your home town?" I automatically thought of our own church, St. Aiden's the Episcopal Church, St. John's and Messiah the other Lutheran churches and before I could think of anymore he yelled "ONE! There is only ONE church!" Wow. Reality check anybody? I was blown away that I could be so stupid a.) not to see it coming and b.) to box in the power of God in my community and in the world.

So I'm one of those people who doesn't like to be a complainer without having any sort of answer for the problem, but this is kind of a big one. I dont presume that I will be able to reunite the church in the world and have us singing Kum Bah Yah by the end of the year, but I think I can start by changing my attitude and charging people around me to do the same thing. Here's what I propose. 1. I'm going to do everything I can to withhold judgement and criticism from other churches... yes that means even pushing myself to stop rolling my eyes every time I hear Joel Osteen or Rick Warren's name. 2. I will make every effort to eliminate politics from the life of my ministry. 3. I'm going to actively look for ways to work in ecumenical coordination with a person or ministry that is not Lutheran. 4. I'm going to ask all of you to keep me in check on this. If you hear or see me breaking one of these, call me on it. That isn't to say I won't be critical of any others if I feel something seriously damaging is being done in Christ's name or that I won't be open to discussions and conversations with people of differing opinions. I love the debate and discussion and talks that can happen, but what I am going to mindfully and intentionally do is remove the superiority from my attitude. I'm not a perfect person, I'll be the first to admit when I fall short, but hopefully I'll be able to keep taking baby steps and move in the right direction.

Unity, not uniformity. What do you think? Do you think that this is something that can be achieved? Do you think I will be able to live out these goals? Anybody want to attempt these with me? Leave your comments, questions and speculation in the comments section, all comments are welcome!

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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Corporate Worship Songs

Hey guys, had a great worship this morning and headed to book study at the Ministry center tonight, but I wanted to take a couple of seconds to share this video with you. Anyone who is into worship music or any worship leaders out there should get a kick out of this.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


I suppose it is proper for an introduction and a small explanation as to why I am starting this blog. The first reason is simple, I really enjoy blogging. I write a regular sports blog and have been contributing to my wife's baby blog as we prepare to welcome our first little one into the world. Since this is one of my interests I figured it would be appropriate to use this amazing medium to share my thoughts experiences and stories as I continue my walk in faith.

This may seem strange to people who know me because I'm not the type of person who wears my faith on my sleeve, but I have been feeling a call in a way I've never noticed before. The call to stop being passive. The call to stop holding back. The call to rearrange my life in a way that is more in tune with what I perceive as the Holy Spirit telling me to stop running away from my faith and embrace it for all it is worth. I don't know if I am ready or able to do that just yet, but I do know that I have a voice and opinion on the church the world and how the two interact. So here it is. My little corner of the internet to discuss matters of faith, life and whatever else happens to come along. Thanks for reading along, feel free to leave comments. I think of my walk with faith as a discussion. We aren't able to grow and learn if we aren't challenged from time to time so I even welcome comments if you disagree with me. Grace and Peace to you all.