Isn’t it funny how our self-reliance and self-centredness so easily convinces us that we’re the only one that feels a particular way when all along there are many, including those close to us, who feel the same or share the same concerns?
Having been enlightened by Tony and Felicity Dale’s Simply Church, I have spent a week or two processing my reactions to the politics and demands of denominational church and how it affects my behaviour and feelings. After a year of scratching this particular itch, I am now aware that I am not the only one feeling this way and can now see more and more people are seeking a more authentic expression of their faith.
Reading further on simple faith, I am drawing some comfort and much inspiration from Marcus Borg’s Reading The Bible Again for the First Time, finding it to be a serious, cogent and scholarly examination of the scriptural literalism that I find so hard to process intellectually. Likewise, I have been similarly intrigued by the simplicity of the The Church of Two concept which, in its simplest form, is about two people practising two spriritual disciplines and sharing together daily. From the stories posted at LK10 resources, Stories From The Revolution and The Scilla Blog amongst other places, it seems like this practise is helping folk to deepen friendships, get closer to their families and initiate postive change in their lives.
I mentioned CO2 to the three guys I meet with weekly with a view to taking things up a notch between our weekly catch-ups. As a result, I have swapped a couple of emails and calls with one of them by way of a gentle try-out and we intend to explore it as a group. Then, at the end of the Sunday service, our youth pastor was prompted to speak on our need to been more immediate and authentic with each other. Rightly calling us to reflect on dashing off from church the second the service is over or remaining only to swap snippets of news over coffee after the service, he asked why we don’t stay and share the deeper fellowship we so easily speak about but rarely practice.
In the discussion that followed, I shared a little about my recent journeying and CO2, while others spoke of seeking more connection and relationship, rather than religion and ‘church’. After praying for a couple who are leading a youth mission to the US to work at The Dream Center in the weeks to come, we parted with a commitment to make small but intentional changes to support one another better.
Elsewhere, we have been trying to be a little more intentional and missional in our lives. One way of doing this has been our Tuesday night pot luck dinners where we open our home to all comers for a few hours, with the only aim being to share food and friendship with whoever steps across the threshold. While far from a new idea, we felt this was a solid and sustainable way to get alongside others on a more regular basis.
On the first Tuesday, no-one came. We sat around the table eating our meal and feeling a little deflated that nobody had taken up the invitation. On reflection, this was a good thing and perhaps challenged us on our motives and ensured our hearts were in the right place. Last week, with our expectations adjusted and hearts humbled, we were blessed to see another family of six and two couples join us at the table for what was a lovely evening of simply fellowship. The eight kids wolfed their food and were soon engrossed in a variety of games, while the eight grown-ups shared freely and laughed heartily for a couple of hours. With today being Tuesday, it’ll be interesting to see who, if indeed anyone, joins us in half an hour’s time.