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Thursday, March 20, 2008
Pubs, Clubs, and Alternative Worship
I recently returned from London, where I helped lead a college class exploring alternative forms of [Christian] worship. The class was taught by Kevin Corcoran, professor of philosophy at Calvin College, a close friend of ours. Components of the class were filmed by my husband Kurt Wilson, and colleague Matt Burnell. As a team, we helped 23 students engage a whole new approach to faith and explore what worship might look like in a postmodern context.

Personally, I found the time profoundly restorative and hopeful. The Brits with whom we connected were overwhelmingly hospitable, and gave us a great deal to think about. I came home wrestling with some new ideas, and grateful for the following challenges:

  • What might church look like in my own context? I've tried, too often, to find "just the right answer" to the question "What is church?" Each of the folks with whom we met answered that question differently, and each service we visited reflected diverse perspectives. This leads me to believe that God gives us the freedom to work out that answer uniquely for our specific context. What freedom!

  • Who needs perfection? It seems we Americans feel tremendous pressure for a strategic, fully developed plan before we begin to implement. Relatively speaking, the folks we met with in London were remarkably laid back. When they felt the urge to start something new, they just did. It was clear that mountains of effort and time & energy went into their services, but very few groups had started out with a long-term plan. The excellence and beauty they achieved were, at least initially, on a "case-by-case" basis. And when things went amiss, they chalked it up to experience and kept going. Again, what freedom!

If you're interested in a visual story of the time, we've posted several short films. You can view clips of services we attended, as well as interviews with a number of leaders who graciously indulged our curiosity.

It was thrilling to meet with folks who enjoy the freedom of living into new ways of faith, and I was challenged to find ways to do the same, even back here in the heartland.
posted by Lori at 8:09 AM ¤ Permalink ¤


  • At 3/21/2008 02:29:00 PM, Blogger Bino Manjasseril

    Interesting thoughts. I came to your blog through one of the 'BlogRush' clicks. The concept of church in the Bible has no emphasis on buildings, programs, services etc, but it has emphasis on the people. The word 'ecklasia' has been used and it means 'called out ones'. Wherever 2 or 3 gathered, I am there in the midst Jesus said. It is all about believers acting as one Body, listening, serving and living under the head (Jesus).

  • At 3/28/2008 10:49:00 PM, Blogger Amy

    Lori, I've been looking forward to hearing about your trip. I've started looking through the videos. They're lovely.

    Thanks for the reminder that fully-developed plans are not all they're cracked up to be!


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