So this afternoon I played organ and piano for Markus' installation and had a great talk with Scott, who under the Formula of Agreement's provision for interchangeability of ministers of word and sacrament currently is serving as interim at HolyLand ELCA--in another FoA denomination. That's happening all over the place all across this country, but the crazy thing is that church is on Flat Mesa Blvd., the same street as this church he recently left after a long called interim, so I'm wondering if his next interim won't be at the local Taco Bell, since he's been gravitating to or it could be that entities only located on Flat Mesa Blvd. have been grabbing him? Does Taco Bell have any kind of formal agreement with other (food) denominations? Oh, yes--KFC, and also Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, A&W and Long John Silvers, all sheltered by the YUM umbrella. But if they're all YUM-affiliated, that doesn't make them different denoms, and besides, they all serve very different and distinctive types of food. Speaking of Taco Bell, I *think* the PCUSA, UCC, DoC (etc.) TB boycott has been over for some time now...try this site with the interesting fourth meal concept.
the serious stuff
Oh, how many times have I exclaimed to anyone who'd listen "sometimes I think I loved the Church more than I loved Jesus." This afternoon part of Scott's charge to Markus was to not love the church more than Jesus...just yesterday I was considering how somehow I'd become marginalized in a ton of ways from society's main streams (though not from the mainline church, since for the most part I still attended one or another), and yesterday evening I finally realized the Spirit of the Church had chased me outside the city gates, outside the purported shelter of the walls of the city=civilization to where I'd find Jesus, to where Jesus died--outside the city. Am I therefore suggesting it's harder to find Jesus in the church structure, in Word and Sacrament than to encounter Jesus outside the church? That's been suggested before. Theologian Darrell Guder accurately insists God does not limit Godself to the means of grace, and I've blogged and spoken my logical rejoinder, nonetheless, God does bind Godself to the means of grace, and I'll add whether or not we recognize, acknowledge or act upon that fact. Like lots of folks I've been thinking, writing and blogging tons about liminality, betwixt, betweenness neither here nor thereness and some of the meanings, dangers, and freedoms of life as exodus people--exodus people? Better make that baptized people!
Last week hot cup lutheran blogged a really good one about small churches but it got deleted, though she's now done a related blog and asked,
So... (1) what do you think the forseable future of small churches is? (2) how do you overcome the inertia in your own setting? (3) what do you do when you feel 'devalued' on both ends of the church?... oh wait chocolate? hmmm good idea HotCup better post & go get some...go check out the comments--more later here, but for now I'll scream PLEASE NO CHOCOLATE for me--it's not mandatory, is it?
Take a look at today's gospel:
11On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. 12As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, 13they called out, saying, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" 14When he saw them, he said to them, "Go and show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were made clean. 15Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. 16He prostrated himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. 17Then Jesus asked, "Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? 18Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" 19Then he said to him, "Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well."