Sunday, January 27, 2008

Something old, something new

So we moved in November. New community. New neighborhood. We don't really know anyone here.

So we had to find a new church. I might have voiced before, I wasn't entirely unhappy about this change. I am not a church hopper, but I honestly was just okay with taking a different direction in church.

About a year and a half ago, I got all curious about Anabaptists. Then I got all curious about contemplatives and new Monastics and all my real closeness with God was happening in service opportunities. It was through those experiences my heart was changing, I was learning. Mostly because I didn't know what I was doing and so anything good I had to offer had to come from the Lord. And I knew and know I had/have a long way to go, but felt and feel that I really had found where my direction was.

So back to finding a new church. As fate would have it (or perhaps it was planned all along), we moved to Newberg. Initially we were going to move to another town where my job is, but all the houses there were insanely overpriced. We would have to move out of the city into the country into a smaller, less attractive, not well located home to afford this other town. Before that, we looked in many, many other towns. All had obstacles that were forbidding. Overpriced, poor, no homes or whatever. The final option was Newberg. And here we are, happy with where we landed.

So the first part of establishing our community and getting involved was to find a church to dig roots in.

Our first church was a foursquare church. It was like our other church in many ways.

But on the way to the foursquare church, the Friends church we passed seemed to always be hoppin. And since we were looking for something new, we gave it a try.

It is hard to explain why we liked it so much with out letting on a little about what we were trying to get away from. We had visited a church that honestly felt more like a Janet Jackson concert than a church. It was very dark with many TV screens and while the message was fine, the whole experience was so passive that it made me feel like I was in the audience, watching other people worshiping.

Since I got back from Russia, the American church I had to deal with more than anything. I felt like church was starting to look like 700 club. I couldn't not go. I didn't want to be critical. I just resigned myself to a church that was changing into something I didn't really like. Apparently there were small groups, but it was never clear how to become involved. Worship, opportunities to serve, the depth of teaching...I decided church was important, but not because it was necessarily edifying.

Both J and I have been happy with how this Friends church is meeting us right up to our every hope of what we could find in a church home. It is contemplative, it is relevant, it is open to voices from the congregation, it is service oriented. It didn't hurt either that a really nice couple opened their home to us.

I am excited about what we are going to be learning...we haven't settled on this one place yet, but it is a Friends church, Quaker. Hopefully they will invite us to their potlucks :o) (could they possibly be better than a Baptist potluck is for a starving college student?)

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