Sunday, July 7, 2013

How Big?

I attend a tiny little Christian Church (tiny by the standards of what you normally think of as an urban church community). We're an open, accepting community, theologically and politically left. Not your standard-issue Christian. On a good Sunday we will have 35 people attend services. Our norm is about 20-25, and even fewer at religious ed. One of the brightest events of the day is seeing a new face or faces(s) at services. I've been going to the UCC of Norman for about 18 months, if my memory serves (and it doesn't a lot of the time), and I know that it's seldom a visitor comes back again after a visit. We never know why, and we don't question. People are where they are, and that's fine with us.

But the question of why they did not choose to come back is often nagging. Yesterday we had an engaging discussion about what people thought of growth as a church community. I think it's fair to say that opinion was divided. One the one hand there's the security, safety, and warm fuzzy feeling of being among people who accept you, listen to you, and (for the most part) agree with you. Do we want that endangered or diluted by numbers of "others"? Do we want to bend or fashion our bedrock beliefs to suit the sensibilities of others? These are valid concerns. But on the other, there's the desire to share what we have, to let others know that we follow a Jesus who's human first and foremost and who has taught us how to be authentic human beings ourselves. We believe in a God who is still speaking. Revelation of this wondrous God didn't stop in the first century. What we have to share with others is truly good, liberating, joyous news. We want to share this with people

Why then aren't more people interested in hearing it? That's our dilemma, as I suppose it must be for any group of people outside the mainstream, outside the ordinary. That constant tension between our being and our becoming, and how much choice we have in either. 
Post a Comment