I received a call yesterday from someone who wanted to interview me regarding emerging forms of Christian and church expression in Canada. It was a nice talk. He asked me about the community I pastor. I told him what I could. But I could appreciate the frustration this guy must feel when trying to get a grip on what’s happening here. I could tell he understood much of what I was saying. We seem to be on the same page.
He’s making a documentary on the issue. So he asked me questions and I gave him answers as best I could. But I told him that there’s really no way to describe what we’re doing. It’s kind of like asking me how we are as a family. It is never the same. There’s no pamphlets or brochures that we can hand out. He would like to come visit us. But again, I’m always nervous about those kind of things. You can come visit us on a Sunday, but there’s no way you’ll catch what we are about. It has to be lived and experienced to be understood. Our community is unpredictable, spontaneous, bi-polar, and often messy. The music can be good. The coffee may be ready. The room may be warm. But then there’s all the people. Sometimes we’re dealing with suicide, sometimes infidelity, sometimes drunkenness, sometimes drugs, sometimes anger, sometimes heresy, sometimes death, sometimes depression, sometimes silliness, sometimes all the good things too…. well, you get the idea. In fact, I never know from one day to the next where I stand.
Sometimes people visit and leave because, they say, they want to feel like they’ve actually been to church. Some leave because they say that our church is too full of pain. Sometimes they leave because they are offended by the crass humanness of our people. But once in a while they’ll stay, and they are usually people who are totally unchurched or people that have been so burnt by the church but aren’t quite ready to totally abandon it altogether. This is its last chance.
I imagine, at the end of our chapter… if we have one… it will say: “They’re just a gathering of pretty f***ed up people! But I found a home.” Maybe.