True confessions, part II: Un-un-church

It’s not Monday anymore, but it’s still true confessions day at my house. My confession: I un-un-churched.

What?

Let me explain.

A while back, I started a home/emerging church thing at my house. I called it “un-church,” even though I didn’t really like the name, because I couldn’t come up with anything better at the moment. I did not intend to sound un-ecclisiastic. Un-church was on hiatus for the summer. I planned to do un-church on September 23, but that date came and went and nothing happened. So. I un-un-churched.

Part of the reason that I started a home/emerging church thing was that one night last fall, I was so mad at God (which, yes, I realize is not the healthiest state to be in, thank you) I said some very cross words to Him. They may have been along the lines of, Listen, buddy. You called me to this stuff. I never had a life plan that involved a passion for preaching. That was your idea. And you’ve been pretty quiet about what you’d like me to do next. So, if you don’t have some kind of sign or word or something for me in the near future. . . Well. I’m going to go work somewhere rotten, some Halliburton somewhere, that will pay me lots of dinero, and feed another passion I have: SHOES. And pay off my seminary debt, thank you very much.

Later that night, after I had had words with God, I went to an art show where some friends were showing their stuff. My friend’s parents, Bruce and Mary Jane, were there, as one of them is an artist who makes incredible ceramics and the other does cool oil paintings. They were asking me how things were going post-seminary. I told them. No bueno. No job. No prospects. Cross with God.

“Well, why don’t you start a church?” says Bruce.

Mind you, I’ve had people tell me, “I don’t really like organized religion and stuff, but if you had a church I’d go,” and things along those lines for years. I always thought it was nice that they would say something like that, but that’s all I really thought. This time was different, though. I had ears to hear on that night.

Mary Jane backed Bruce up, telling a story of a window-washer friend of theirs who had started a small church. “You could do it,” she said.

I went home that night and prayed about it. And prayed about it over the next months. Finally, I decided that maybe it was a word from heaven. Maybe it wasn’t, but maybe it was. And it resonated with something I had on my wall while I was in the Peace Corps, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” OK, that isn’t Jesus. That was FDR. But still. I think in terms of real ministry, it’s a decent guideline.

Anyway, I decided I would use what God gave me – a passion for the Word, a love for preaching and for co-discipling – and start “doing” church at my house.

I held several meetings in my living room over the next months. My close friends came, and Bruce and Mary Jane, who gave me the “word” at the art show. I was kind of amazed that anyone would come. I loved getting the sermons ready and delivering them, and then talking about whatever text we had covered. But then, I had several un-church meetings where it was just me and my best friend and my husband. I found this dispiriting. Very dispiriting. Of course, my husband and best friend, being spiritually mature human beings, reminded me that the number of people was maybe not the most significant thing, but that was hard for me to hear. It felt like failure redux.

Now it is October. October 9th, to be exact. I’m not sure what to do about un-church. I don’t miss feeling forlorn that there are only three peoples in the un-church gathering sometimes. But I do miss un-church.

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3 Responses to True confessions, part II: Un-un-church

  1. shauna says:

    check your email

  2. Hi Megan,

    well what can I tell you, Connection is a un-church, out of the box place where we have been meeting for the last two years. Sometimes we have a place to meet, sometimes we have a house, sometimes we have a band, sometimes we tables but the most important thing is that we have each other. Connection is a group of people American and Hispanics getting together and becoming the church. I, of course, is the one who started this crazy stuff that sometimes I feel the most inadequates person to be leading it, but the friends and family I have gained, the tears and joys I have experienced, the frustrations and excitements I have endured are not to be take away from me. People are tired of Institutional religion, because let me tell you even in your house you will be organized. Institutional is what keep people to really and truly find God. Start a group where everybody can come and BE the church with all the imperfections, flawless, weaknesses, and adventures. And with a “cerveza” in your hand, say “Salud!(cheers)” and invite people to your table. People in the other side of the ocean take very serious when they invite a person to eat with them at their house. They are not only sharing a meal, but their are sharing their friendship, their are offering a close relationship with them. Isn’t that what Jesus does in the last supper? I will encourage you to do so, people outside are hungry and starving for something. Don’t worry about your salary, God will take care of it. My wife and I started with $600 dollars as a salary.

    Hey Miguel!
    I wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your past two comments. I have been very encouraged by your words. It is great to know I am not the only crazy who is trying to figure out what Jesus was asking us to do – and having my process of answering it look a little wacky! Your bravery in stepping out and starting Connection is a real inspiration to me.
    I LOVE what you said about Jesus and the last supper – following Him is about freindship and walking out a journey together – with Him and with others.
    And AMEN, AMEN to having places where “everybody can come and BE the church with all the imperfections, flaw(s), weaknesses, and adventures!” We don’t have to look or be anything near perfect to be seeking God and his plan for His world.
    Thank you again for your words. Even though we’ve never met in RL, you are a great brother in Christ to this sister. BTW, I keep forgetting to link to your blog, but I’m doing it tonight! ;-
    Meg

  3. Hi Megan,

    Thank you for saying “thank you”. Just these two simple words are so powerful and let me tell you sometimes I even need to hear some words of encouragement, sometimes? I think I need to hear them all the time. I really like your way of thinking and if we had enough money at Connection we will hire you, but you know the Lord is leading us to change in lots of ways, I believe that a living organism needs to be changing all the time and Connection is a living organism. I have been a paid missionary for the last 6 years and a paid pastor for the last 2 and we are trying to move towards changing that. Not right now but eventually our goal is for Connection not to have a paid pastor or staff and use that money for Community and mission. It will be a big change, but we want to go back to the ancient church, the church of Acts. He also changing the Sunday Service, instead of a service it will be called “gathering class” because it will be like going to class. We wanted to be interactive. Many things on changing this sub-culture called “Christianity” and far, far away of truly becoming an spiritual being. Like Brennan Mannis says, “Simple, my dear fellow! Your trouble is you have your halo on too tight. All we need to do is to loosen it a bit. The trouble with our ideals is that if we live up to all of them, we become impossible to live with. The tilted halo of the saved sinner is worn loosely and with easy grace. We have discovered that the cross accomplished far more than revealing the love of God. (The Ragamuffin Gospel)…..Peace and greetings to your family…..

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