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Church Upsidedown September 6, 2006

Posted by fajita in emerging church/emergent, Philosophy/Religion, Post-restoration/Restoration Movement, Solomon's Porch.

Tonight was the Solomon’s Porch “membership class.” It was more of a conversation. A group of about a dozen of us listened and talked about what life was like at Solomon’s Porch.

It was all good, but here is the best part: When a person decides to become a part of Solomon’s Porch, that person changes the church.

OK, think about that. If you are not looking into it you might miss it. Most churches are established, so when someone enters into the church, the goal is to get that person plugged in – am I right here? These people are assimilated. Assimilation is the stated goal. Some churches have ministers of assimilation. When a person enters the church, they are changed to fit into the system of that church. The system is set, some a re so closed that change is impossible.

What would happen if the church was required to change as much or more than the new person? What if the church was excited about the idea that they would need to change because a new person entered in? What would it be like if the church was an open system rather than a closed system?

Think about this: the old way gives power and privilege to make things happen to the people who have been there longest. When that happens, the older a church becomes the harder it is to fit in and matter – unless of course you are assimilated. The new way is different. The power and privilege is given or at least offered to the new people. change is dependent upon new people coming in changing the system. This way, the older the church becomes, the newer it becomes.

Doug Pagitt, the pastor, was pretty open about how it is difficult this is when a churhc grows in numbers and years. However, he made it clear that new people entering the system matter. The evidence for this is (will be) in the change that actually occurs.

The second best thing was the decentralized power structure – or unstructure as the case may be.

So, we are now “members.”   


Grey, Rainy, and Blah September 3, 2006

Posted by fajita in Bible/Meditations, family, Solomon's Porch.
1 comment so far

Today it rained all day. I was so out of it. I have these days sometimes, this being one of them, in which I feel so useless. I have no ideas, don’t want to do anything, and yet life refuses to go on hold. On days like these I lose confidence, like I’m washed up, done, wiped out. I want life to just give me a day to do nothing. No. Life requires my presence, my energy, my contribution.

OK, I did get a nap today and I liked it. I REALLY liked it. It’s evening now and I am snapping out of it. I also went to the Solomon’s Porch gathering and that gave me a boost.

It’s curious just how much emotions influence beliefs. The thing with negative emotions is to challenge them. Negative emotions must not be allowed to go unchallenged. They cannot be allowed to run amuck without any initiative. These negative emotions can hold a person hostage, keep captive their potentials, and remove freedom from the realm of perceived options.

At the same time, when negative emotions are present they usually try to get a person to believe that these negative emotions are permanent. Usually, the only way that these emotions become permanent is to fear that they will, to believe that they will. Usually, negative meotions runs their course and get out.

“Do not fear.” That is good advice for responding to negative emotions. Whatever was true about you before the negative emotion is usually pretty much true during the negative emotion, and still true after the negative emotion. Knowing this ahead of time, before the negative emotion hits, is pretty important.

“Do not fear,” is found often in the Bible. On days like today, it is important to have that kind of support.

Porch Report August 20, 2006

Posted by fajita in Christianity, emerging church/emergent, Solomon's Porch.

hugeallofme.jpgTonight at Solomon’s Porch, the gathering was devoted mostly to music and worship. This is great for two reasons:

1. They do not do enough of it during the regular gatherings.

2. My friend Josh Cleveland got to share a song he wrote.

Apparently, here is how it works at this church. There is weekly musicians’ meeting open to anyone with a gift or love for music. Josh, who has been the SP only a few times, shared a song at this weekly meeting of musicians. He was then, to his surprise, invited to share the song with the gathering.

This was a tret all the way around. For one, his song was good and he gave it to everyone there. josh had a venue to share his gifts with music. And he is a good singer with his Hootie and the Blowfish vocals and heartfelt lyrics.

Afterwards, I talked with my friend Luke Hawley, who was in town from Nebraska, and he said that being at Solomon’s Porch was like having been adopted since birth and the being reunited with your birth parents. All of the weirdness you felt with your adoptive parents finally made sense when you met your birth parents. Pretty cool analogy. Other comments from fitrst timers:

“This church makes me want to move to Minnesota.” Sarah

“I’m so glad their gathering is in the evening.” Tausha

We are slowly getting tom know a few people here and there and are enjoying it. I am seeking God for guidance as it all feels so insecure right now. But i can safely say, it was another good night at the Porch.

Report from the Porch August 7, 2006

Posted by fajita in Christianity, emerging church/emergent, Philosophy/Religion, Post-restoration/Restoration Movement, Solomon's Porch.

I attended Solomon’s Porch once again this Sunday. My children joined, but my wife did not (not feeling well). It was very good and inviting once again. How strange it is that all of the familiar elements are present, but the atmosphere is almost reverse of “normal” church.

What I love most is the interactive nature of the gathering. I get to talk and listen. I get to talk to more than one person and listen to more than one person. There are actual conversations going on. You get the sense that something is being created while you’re there and you have a little something to do with the creation. It’s not all sealed up Friday evening in the pastor’s office and unpackaged neatly Sunday morning.

Yes, there is obviously intentionality and purposefulness, but there is room for input, even if no one agrees with it.

This Sunday began a series on the book of Joshua. Pretty gutsy topic considering the war between Israel and Hezbollah taking place in Lebanon right now. Think about it – the book of Joshua chronicles how the Israellites slaughtered every man, woman, and child in many towns on the very same patch of land where war is breaking out right now. 

Joshua is probably the most difficult book in the Bible for me, so I am very pleased that we are taking this direction. Today’s approach gave a sort of promise that nothing is off limits for conversation during the “sermon” over the next few weeks. 

On another note, when we left, my kids begged for more. They didn’t want to leave. That is a good sign. 

On another other note, thusfar no one from my former Minnesota church where I served as a youth minister has contacted me. They may not know that I have hit ground yet, but as the time draws near I am sure I wil hear from a few. For most of them, it’s not a big deal since they probably believe I am merely going to another Church of Christ in town. However, there will be calls and curiosity will emerge at some point. Those will be good and challenging conversations. I don’t expect any rudeness or anger. Rather, I suspect there will be a few who feel sorry for me that I am straying, but at the same time will take assurance that I was baptized correctly. Curious, but probably pretty accurate.   

Baptism At Solomon’s Porch August 1, 2006

Posted by fajita in Christianity, emerging church/emergent, family, Post-restoration/Restoration Movement, Solomon's Porch.

Me and my family attended the baptism service at Solomon’s Porch Sunday. At beautiful Minnehaha Falla, we witnessed 9 people commit their lives to Jesus Christ. One couple getting married next month did a simulataneous baptism. There was one infant baptism (interesting) by sprinkling and the rest by immersion.  

I’ve got my views on baptism and I was a little uncomfortable with some of what went on, but what I did like was the lack of regimented and required language hoops to jump through. It forced me to stretch and affirm these people’s baptisms. It was a beautiful thing.

If you are in the “baptism is essential to salvation because it is the exact point in time when a person goes from Hellbound to Heavenbound” crowd, you would have had major issues with this baptism service. However, if baptism is more like joining Christ in the life of the Kingdom of God and identifying with Jeuss in his death, buriel and resuirrention, then this was a good thing.

I liked the full immersion (except of course for the baby) because I think the symbolism really gets lost in sprinkling.

I liked just how public these baptisms were. It was in a very popular and crowded park with a river flowing through it. Half of the people within viewing distance of the baptisms were just people out at the park. It might have been weird to them, but at the same time, it didn’t take some kind of cult’like ritual effect either. It was just plain good.

Don’t know for sure if we’ll end up joining the community at Solomon’s Porch, but I will say that they gave my wife and I (both introverts) a very good impression.