Tuesday, October 25, 2005

information gladly given?

I've ridden the MUNI in San Francisco many times on my visits there, and there's a sign on every MUNI bus that says this:

The first time I read it, I nearly broke out into tears laughing. At the time, I thought it fit perfectly with the job I was doing - working for a non-profit organization made up of male college students.

Now that I work in a Christian community, I wonder even more how well this applies to what we do in the "church." As someone who came from outside of the emerging community within the last few years - and in fact was a pretty stubborn dissenter - I am impressed that the SF MUNI system was able to so closely capture how so many of us interact with normal people.

What I mean is that when I started attending my current church community, I was really impressed by so much of who the people were, how clear the message was, how beautifully committed everyone seemed to be - but not by how open they were. I felt like I could get to the same point with everyone I met, but never further, unless I already knew them.
This has certainly changed for me at Warehouse, and I really believe we are wrestling with this symptom on a daily basis. Sometimes we get it right, sometimes we don't.
I've experienced the same thing in at least three other post-modern/emerging/non-trad churches that I've visited over the last year.
The key words in the statement are: "but safety requires". And I think we all believe that is true. So many if us believe [whether we admit it or not] that there is something distinctly dangerous, or just not safe, about freely admitting who we are to people who are investigating our communities. We all have skeletons in our closet - heck, our faith seems to be built on those skeletons some days - but the magic of our faith and the promise of Christ is that those skeletons liberate us. Our very flaws are essential to the story we live. Unless we openly remember on a daily basis how broken each of us still is we can't ever hope to speak into the lives of people who can only see their brokenness.

What should this look like? Beats me.
But I'm up for trying to find out. I'm up for the conversation. I'm up for the ten thousand conversations that need to happen every week. The turn we need to make to the newest folks in our lives to really ask what their pain looks like - and to share that ours is just as ugly, but the solution is beautiful.
Deb and Dennis did that for me a few years ago, and I'll never be able to repay that debt, unless I am constantly asking also.

1 comment:

l. said...