Saturday, November 10, 2007

World Class Rock

I've latched on to a favorite radio station here in Indy: WTTS 92.3 FM. They are based in Bloomington and the Indiana University campus influence is obvious. I listened to it a little back when I lived here 18 years ago. But both the station, and myself, have developed much in our musical tastes since then -- into a common place. You can audio stream them from the web, and I think it's worth checking out.

This week they announced their top 25 albums of the past 25 years. For me, that doesn't go back quite far enough to catch all of my favorites. Yet, it is still a great list (for the most part) which is worth a look, and could spark a very entertaining debate.

And I would have to add one album to the list for sure: Journey "Escape," though I think it just misses the 25 year cut-off. Listen to the whole album before you make fun of me! It's a great jazz recording disguised as corporate rock.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Truth About My Spiritual Journey

I've experienced God (whatever that means) in various settings over the years:
  1. in a room full of people passionately worshipping to music
  2. through liturgy as well, but usually by myself or in a very small setting

But I've never had those meaningful experiences every Sunday just because that's when the band starts singing or just because that's when the leader begins the liturgy.

I've experienced God in a meaningful way in other settings as well:

  1. at the high moment of a relief work trip to a developing third-world country;
  2. at retreats and conferecnes where we spent days focusing on God and finally hit the climax of the experience in a true moment with Him.

Each time was unplanned, accidental, and most important to my spiritual journey.
(Of course, this journey isn't just about experiencing God -- some of it is about doing the right thing over and over again even if there is no profound moment attached to it. But part of it is about real, dynamic experience also.

I could go to any of a number of churches that worships to great music, or prays intensely, every Sunday hoping to get these deep connections.

I could go to any of a number of churches that shares the liturgy together in a meaningful way every Sunday hoping to get these deep connections.

But what I really long for is a small community of people who want to meet often to seek God in these ways. At this moment in time, I don't have those people living nearby. Even if I did, and even if we met regularly seeking it, we would (probably) not find it most of the times we met. At least that's what I suspect.

So I feel free to worship on any Sunday at (almost) any evangelical, charismatic, Roman Catholic, or mainline church. I've come to a place where I feel that my theology allows me to agree enough with any of them (and allows me to overlook where I disagree) enough to join them.

But I also feel free to gather with Rebekah, Tori, & Lucas in my home to do the same. We often do that, and we pray God will send others if/when/how He wishes.

We are the church. We must struggle to flesh out what that means and quit pretending that the church is a time and a place and a program. Though sometimes the time and place and program become every bit the church. But the journey causes us to stumble upon the real thing because it is the journey, not because of the time and place and program.

And I only have the courage to share these thoughts in this forum now because I have stumbled across thousands of other North Americans who feel the similarly, and have decided to be honest about what church really means, and not feel that they absolutely must pick a "time, place, and program" version of church in order to be part of the church.