One of the Most Sacred Encounters I’ve Ever Had

The Reverend Joy Bennett serving me communion on August 30, 2012.

It happened on August 30, 2012, and it has been recorded beautifully by Joy Bennett at A Deeper Story:

She felt the weight of this settle on her shoulders, responding quietly to each. Then he read, “Will you accept the discipline of this Church and give due respect to those in authority?

She paused. All her previous experiences with authority figures in churches rushed to her mind. The church is fallible because it’s made up of fallible people, including herself. “I’m not sure about that one.”

He smiled, said “Me either,” and moved on to the next one.

At the conclusion of the vows, Tony asked everyone to reach out to Meg as they prayed over her. Then, he handed her the bread, Carla opened the wine, and he asked “Would you share a passage of Scripture with us tonight, before you serve communion?”

She paused a few moments, thinking. She was unprepared for this moment. But then, she thought of one. “We shared this with our children each night at bedtime, and engraved it on my eldest daughter’s headstone. It’s simple and it’s all I can think of right now…”

Read the rest a A Deeper Story.

If Jürgen Moltmann Planted a Church – Part Four

This is part of a series based on chapters four and five of my new book, The Church Is Flat: The Relational Ecclesiology of the Emerging Church Movement, in which I look at the ecclesiology of German theologian Jürgen Moltmann and put it into conversation with the ecclesial practices of the emerging church movement (ECM).  Part One Part Two Part Three

Moltmann has some pretty specific suggestions about what the church should look like.

The church can best be what he is calling it to be, Moltmann argues, if it stays small, mobile, and fluid, avoiding top-heavy bureaucracies and power-hungry individuals.  The church can check itself as to whether it is fulfilling this role by always making sure that it is primarily a fellowship of the “godless and godforsaken.”  When the church becomes the territory of the elite and the powerful, it has de facto ceased being the church.

Moltmann also writes quite specifically about the sacraments:

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When Communion Is Political (Hint: It's Always Political)

Up here in the barren northland, there’s been a dust-up in the ongoing struggle of the church in America to accept GLBT persons.  This time it’s the Catholic church, the St. Paul & Minneapolis Archdiocese of which recently mailed tens of thousands of copies of a DVD opposing gay marriage to its communicants.  Of course, the DVD is timed to arrive as we approach mid-term elections.  From where I sit, social issues are playing a negligible role in these elections.  I don’t even hear Crazy Michelle Bachmann talking about them.

But that’s what the Catholic church wants its people talking about and voting on.  Oh, would that they sent out a DVD about developing a just economy or about extricating ourselves from foreign wars.  But, no, their primary interest this fall is making sure that GLBT persons are not afforded the right to marry.

In an odd radio interview, the local archbishop, John Nienstadt, claimed that he had no idea who gave the money for the production and distribution of the DVDs nor did he know how much the campaign cost.  That denial very much strained the bounds of believability for me.

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