It's hard to talk about decisions made regarding church without talking about things that were hard to bear at some point. And whenever one goes there, there is a bit of "Oh so you think you are too good for..."
or it sounding like one is being overly critical.
When in reality, my heart just started wanting something really different than the way church was being done. I wanted a place to study the bible. I wanted maybe a few other people my age. And of course, I wanted to be in a church service that didn't mostly talk about self help psychology and have singing that reminded me of the 700 club. I wanted no more people in front of me shouting "JEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESUS!"
And I had begun reading contemplatives and had for some years seeing service as really the best way for me to serve.
Enter the alternatives. I looked at the emerging church. I still listen to the podcast sermons from Imago Dei, not because they are emerging, but because they are so solid. I never could see what the distinctives were really, and felt like the distinctives were little more than they were distinct. Being different for the sake of being different, was that all there was? I never understood how what the emerging church was so terribly different, but if they were bringing people to the Lord, well that has to be good. I liked Brian McLaren, I agree with him, and Rick McKinley and that other Blue Like Jazz guy...but something inside me wanted more than merely new.
I am at a Quaker church. And while no denomination is always going to be the best at all the time, so far I am so impressed with some things I am seeing...
People here actually are involved with so much of what happens at the church. It isn't a top down type of thing. People talk about what shape they want their worship services to take.
People read books and they have a huge active library, they share their books with you and they are a nice bit beyond one's life having a purpose.
There is a focus on service and equality. This focus isn't entrenched in decisions that were made eons ago. It is dynamic, new daily. "How does this look now?"
The services blend technology so elegantly. I don't feel like I am in a theater, nor do I have to read an overhead projector.
The church is a nice size. I don't know how many people, but with 3 services, we have to look for a place to sit in the balcony if we don't come early enough. There is a good mix of ages, from youth to the seniors.
They think about what they believe, and ask questions and discuss and it is interesting to them. I thought for the longest time that Christians didn't talk about religion because it was maybe not tasteful, or it might be a secret, but the nitty gritty, well, it was not nice or something. And if I did want to talk about it, it became so dogmatic, a reiteration of the same talking points... I am so relieved to be able to talk about it here.
And if that wasn't good enough, there is a Friends church with a co-op preschool just a touch down the road. Most excellent for the mom with little ones.