just a few days…

So I leave for a young adult conference in CT in a few days, and then I am on to Columbus, OH for planning and designing for the Young Adult Festival at General Convention.Time is flying, and there just does not seem to be enough time in the day. I love to travel, but it does take a lot out of me.

In my flurry and scurry of preparing to leave, I took some time to worship at House of Mercy last night, and Mercy Seat on Saturday. Both are considered “emergent churches” and now I am starting to wrestle with the question “what exactly makes a church or a community emergent?” When I began to blog, which was really not that long ago, I wanted to get into the conversation. I think I have some ideas to share, and like to share what others are saying with friends, family and fellow people that I come in contact with. I think I get for the first time why some are questioning the notion of emergent.(note – I question because I am episcopal/anglican, not because I don’t get it or that I disagree. I am really just a learner, who wants desperately to engage in the conversation.)

I could not have been any more excited to tromp off to church on Saturday. So with time to spare, Karen and I settled in for Mercy Seat’s first service. In a word, this new community, passing itself off in not so many words as emergent, was, how do I put this, LUTHERAN. Hard core ELCA. Now I am not saying this is a bad thing. This IS the church of my youth. But what struck me was for all of the marketing and hoopla, it was really just another Minnesota Lutheran run-of-the-mill service.

The big bummer for me was they told me they would offer uncanny worship, subversive sermons, and soulful music. They told me they were a “Christian worship and community for the critically orthodox.”
Uncanny according to dictionary.com says it would be

  1. Peculiarly unsettling, as if of supernatural origin or nature; eerie. See Synonyms at weird.
  2. So keen and perceptive as to seem preternatural.

Ummmm…. nope. I will give you that the music, Jazz, is the BEST in the Twin Cities. But even there, the community clapped and gave praise to the band for being so awesome, and designing and creating that liturgy. Makes me think…Where is God in that equation?

On the other hand, last night at House of Mercy, where I can now officially say that my heart is, the sermon WAS subversive, thought provoking, critically orthodox, and in a word, just the food I would need to sustain me through what will prove to be a very long, but fun I am sure, week.

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2 thoughts on “just a few days…

  1. Say more about the “where is God in that equation?” bit. I’m curious what you mean by that. I thought the band was toe-tapping, but honestly, in the midst of the extra-Lutheran service, I found the music did not mix. I enjoyed listening, but I didn’t think the band helped me worship–or even sing. Expound on how you expected to find God but didn’t–I think that’s the intersting piece. House of Mercy does rock in so many ways–it will be interesting to see if/how Mercy Seat grows and finds if it’s emergent, or just riding the word-of-mouth train ’cause it can.

  2. The band is there to be a conduit – help people to encounter and engage the holy. Just like the pastor. We don’t give the clergy acolades for rockin’ out a good sermon, so why would a church applaud their musician or house band? They are just as much a part of the ministry as everyone else.
    God should get the glory and praise, for blessing the community with gifts of music, not Mr. Pemberton. I like how at HOM the HOM Band leader, Mr. C.P. Larson, is listed as one of the pastoral staff. I am all about giving thanks and praise, but in the right place and time. The rightful thanks in my opinion would go to God, if you were to do the thanking in the worship time. I think it is totally appropriate to tell Mr. Pemberton after the worship, personally, that he (if this was the case) has an amazing talent, and that the person enjoyed the music and it helped him or her worship more fully.
    Does this make sense?

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