It can be great being a gal who can get shit done. Seriously, I can be a force. It also sucks to be a gal who can get stuff done because then I start to believe my own press so to speak and forget that whatever I get done is through the grace of God and that any gifts I may have are given me to glorify God and not myself. So I'm, "starting an emerging church" this coming January in Denver, which is thrilling and terrifying simultaneously. Here's the idea for the community:
Basically I envision a community of exiles, agnostics and new-monastics: those who have been burned but are willing to dip their toes back in, those who struggle with belief, and those who are drawn to a whole-life faith. These are folks who simply are not going to make the cultural commute to the traditional church. This is a place where the experience of the Holy takes precedence over intellectual assent to a set of unbelievable propositions - where there is a spiritual reconnoitering of the tradition, mining it for gold (liturgy, the Hours, the mystics, contemplative prayer, Thomas Merton, Bach, Dorothy Day) while being willing to consider that there is much that is tailings (I'll be generous here and refrain from listing these). This community is deeply rooted in tradition so that it can innovate with integrity. Radical and loving hospitality is practiced even amidst the damaged, the needy and the thoroughly annoying. Failure, or more accurately, the inability to do these things perfectly is expected and not hidden. Scripture is respected so deeply that it is questioned and struggled with, perhaps leaving us limping from the process, but not without us first having demanded a blessing from it. While admitting our complicity in social and environmental injustices, we strive to actively proclaim the Gospel of release to the captives and freedom to the oppressed. We seek to be followers of the man God Jesus - where we are and as who we are...fully expecting that by dong so the who,the here and now will be transformed. Despite the death-dealing forces of our time and in our culture, we believe that a light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not, shall not, will not, can not overcome it.
So here's the question, is this something I can do? Like from sheer force of will? Of course not. Is this something God can do? yes and I hope like hell that s/he shows up. So I need to constantly remind myself of this especially on nights like this when I wake up and think "what if I throw a church and no one shows up?". It's not about me, I've just been given some of the gifts for being a part of the creation of a new community. Still, I hope that folks show up. I'll just feel like a bit of an ass if they don't, but who knows maybe that's "part of God's plan" (I hate that expression, it's as though God has everything mapquested out on some cosmic level or something, and that just seems silly to me not to mention ethically dubious on the part of God), yeah, yeah I know...God's ways are not our ways and all that...let go and let God...yada yada yada.