Recently I had a conversation with one of the young parents in my
congregation. We were having a far-reaching discussion that
included Sunday School, next summer's Vacation Bible School Program, and
the changing nature of our culture and church attendance. When I
offered the idea that "going to church" is not as culturally normal now
as it was when I was growing up, she replied, "That's right! I think we
are the only ones who go to church among all of our friends." She
continued that she knew that her friends had a wide variety of opinions
and emotions regarding faith, from some who clearly were not interested,
to others who were more ambivalent.
I blurted out, "So, you're sort of like missionaries to your friends."
I noticed a young family gone absent from worship. She is a gifted
musician and actress; they have two young children. She did a benefit
concert here once full of wonderful musical numbers; all the proceeds
went to cancer research. I had been somewhat connected with them and
eventually found her on Facebook, where I noticed that her religious
affiliation was "atheist."
It was after a funeral. I was sitting with a couple who were visiting
our congregation, but it turned out they had connections with my
husband's church, so we began to chat. And (here's where I get fuzzy) I
don't know how this came up or what I said exactly, but I must have
said something about "the historical view" or "the critical view" of the
Bible, and they both got this stricken, deer-in-the-headlights look.
Thursday morning, I drove over to a neighboring parish to participate in Lectio Divina for the first time.
I don't know why I haven't done it before. In the back of my mind, I
knew that the pastor hosted a Lectio group for a few years. And for at
least a few years, I've wanted to learn more about divine reading.
On Sunday, I went to church. I know, it's summer, and why would
you go to church in the summer? There's no Sunday school, and no choir,
and there are plenty of other things to do. At least, that seems to be
what several people think. But I am the pastor, and I was presiding,
so I went to church.
My husband, a musician, likes to talk about different ways people love
music. Most people love music of some sort or another, but they love it
mostly as consumers. In other words, they are listeners. They turn on
a radio, or pop in a CD or love sorting the tunes on their ipods by
genre, or creating a nice "mix" of music to listen to.