Tuesday, November 27, 2007

It's All About Relationships or Jesus and Java

Sometimes the best teachers are not the ones that have PhDs.

For the last few years, I have been blessed to know Tammy. She is the Associate at Lake Harriet Christian and is truly a woman that is deeply connected to God. She is a licensed minister in the Disciples, which means that sometimes she gets looked down on because she wasn't seminary trained like most of us. She might have not been trained at a seminary, but she has learned from life, which sadly is sometimes more than what some of us ordained folks have.

We tend to spend a lot of time talking about things, especially church. One thing that has stayed with me is her belief that church is all about relationships, or at least it should be. A friend and pillar in the church remarked a few months back that when her father died a few years ago, the pastor she called was not the Senior Minister, but Tammy-because Tammy was in relationship with her.

I have to admit, when I was with Community of Grace, I wasn't really interested in relationships. I was trained to do good sermons, to learn how to do exegesis, to do good pastoral care, and all the rest, but I wasn't taught how to be a good friend to people. The result is that more often than not I was interested in bringing people to church than I was in simply being Christ to them.

As I look at the Disciple churches here in Minnesota, I worry that we tend to be more concerned about getting members than we are about being like Jesus. Jesus seemed to create followers not by offering some cool program, but by simply reaching out to people. He seemed to connect with people and care for them.

I'm beginning to wonder if some of the best ways to be church is to have a conversation with a friend over coffee than it is about trying to get them to come to church. (Which is good, since I love coffee.)

What I like about the whole emergent conversation is that in many ways, it is trying to bring back the sense of incarnation, the Word made flesh. I remember thinking how wonderful it was that God became flesh, became one of us. And the thing is, God continues to enflesh God's self in God's creation all the time. The Holy can come while sipping a latte with a friend or stranger.

Something to think about...

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