So these last two weeks have been fantastic. My sister got married June 20th. Sarah and I celebrated our 1st wedding anniversary June 21st. I also had the privilege of preaching that Sunday. If you want you can check it out in audio podcast form here or video podcast form here (links will open up iTunes).
So after being in Kansas City for the better part of a week, we turned right back around and took 17 middle school kids to Kansas City for a mission trip.
Here is our group as we left.
We painted and helped move lots of stuff at Broadway UMC. They made lunch for us both days, which was awesome. The people were so appreciative and Waldo is a cool part of town.
We also worked at ReStartInc an interfaith Ministry to homeless persons. It was very impactful and we helped fold some sheets and cleaned apartments/emergency shelters. To see all the things they have going on there is amazing, and to know all the needs that are around there is crushing.
Being a St. Louis boy I do have some experience on the West side, so we sampled some KC culture: BBQ and lunch at the plaza fountain:
The last night was a peak experience in ministry. It is so cool when the lights come on for the kids. While we were at Restart they were still being very much like middle schoolers- giggling, agitating each other, and seemingly oblivious to the realities that were literally surrounding them. But later that night it was clear that the trip had made an impact, and that the students really did have their hearts broken by what they saw. I likened the situation to what happens in 5th grade when they break up your class into boys and girls and the gym coach came in and taught us boys about sex, anatomy, etc. You don't quite know how to deal with it, so you just try and laugh it off. Same thing when we were at ReStart. Its hard to cope with where you find yourself. But time to process made a huge difference.
THEN we get back to church on Saturday, and after worship on Sunday we hosted a luncheon with Burmese refugees. It was amazing. A friend here at church immigrated from Burma in 1980 and within the last couple years has really seen a huge increase in refugees from Burma and surrounding countries coming to the St. Louis area. So our church is working to assist these folks in many ways, and the coolest part is its not just about meeting physical needs, but we have some real relationships being built. Here's a pic from my phone from the luncheon:
As much as I complain about church signs or many, many other things about church, I was very proud to be a part of my church this week.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Friday, June 12, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
Alrighty! If you know me very well, you know that one of my favorite rant topics is church signs. Well imagine my delight when I saw this baby. A Methodist Church not far from my own and not much more than a stones throw away from where I live:
"One Destination, Many Paths."
What exactly does that mean?
Before I appear to be cannibalizing, I'll try and give these good folks the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps that means that God draws us to himself through different circumstances in our lives. Maybe they mean in the grand story of redemptive history that we all take different paths to reconciliation and redemption back to God. Maybe thats what they mean. Maybe someone thought it sounded vaguely wise/sagelike and intriguing enough to be noticed so they put it up there. Maybe whoever is in charge of changing the sign just flipped the page in their book of stuff to put on the church sign and they had all the letters so it worked. Shoot, its still better than "This church is prayer conditioned".
"One Destination, many paths." Universalist garbage. I would hope that this sign would upset the Muslim, the Jew, the Christian, the Hindu, the scientologist, the Mormon, and the whoever else all the same.
Why would you undermine your own existence so much? You're a CHURCH for God's sake! (literally!) Why would you say that it doesn't matter, because its all the same? What a self-defeating thing to say. Why not just put "Come join us for worship on Sunday. Or not. Whatever! Just do something." After all, many paths lead to the same destination.
What really kills me is that Methodism is so willy nilly that there's room for this line of thinking. I find it insulting that a church within my denomination would have this slogan representing their church. I'm not saying my church is perfect, but it is a Christian church. So here we have two United Methodist Churches. Are we really United at all if under different leadership there can be such a divergence of theology?
A famous John Wesley quote is: "In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity"
What could be more essential to a Church than agreement there's something particularly important and distinct about the Christian Church in the first place? Doesn't the church's worship of Jesus matter? Doesn't the church's foundation of Jesus Christ as its head matter?
Why would you ever want to be a part of something that by its own admission, doesn't matter?