Why a post about Church?
Recently a friend and collaborator Harry Jarrett Jr.posted his thoughts about why he likes a denomination my wife and I have been members of for the past several years. Although our historical family tradition is Mennonite, and we both went to Mennonite Highschools CD and LMH, but, I have not been actively involved in the Mennonite church as a larger denomination/network or agency until recently.
A brief backstory.
As a family, my spouse and I have worked in the space of evangelical mega-church, after which we spent half of our adult life not going to a formal church, but started a home group called Livingroom during our recovery from Church. After some major life transitions we become active member/participants in a local congregation where we have found support and friendship for our journey and a space to belong to God’s Body, the Church, even I don’t “fit in”, (in the more traditional sense of the word).
The reality of the work I have been invited to participate in would not be possible with out the connection to the Church and it’s agencies.
Being Church Again.
Here is how I have participated with this denomination called Mennonite Church USA
I was invited into leadership development relationships through Franconia Conference and given oppertunities to apply my ideas and experience through leading seminars and speaking.
Later, I was invited to apply experience and learning for a missional experiment through Doyelstown Mennonite Church called
This past year I have listened and shared thoughts on a Transformational Team through Eastern Mennonite Seminary where I am continuing my adult learning in Leadership from an Anabaptist perspective to graduate in 2012 with a M.A.
In 2013 I will be apart of implementing innovative ideas for an interactive experience through media/tech at Mennonite Church USA Convention in Pheonix Arizona.
Possible Reasons for Church
A gift this network of people, churches, agencies and higher learning.
Relationship with a broader community of faith acting out of a narrative of peacemaking and reconciliation in our world. This has transformed my understanding of self, others and mission. I have become a player in a theatrical story taking place in our world for the work of God, where people with out food, share a meal with people who live in abundance. I can invision what Jesus talks about in the gospel being repurposed through an actual Church in a where society has removed themselves from the system of doing church on a large scale. I imagine from my own experience this is due to the amount of corruption, and injustice done in the name of God, Jesus, Crusades where ”Jesus”, “God” are used for personal/political gain.
I can imagine an actual body of work over the past 1500 + years of being Church reconciled in our local communities and global society where acts of violence/injustice are actively confronted through practices of resiliency and peacemaking from a broader perspective of faith. This is due to the STAR program I participated in last year on a hilltop in scenic Harrisonburg Va. through Strategies for Trauma and Resiliency . Recently a Nobel Peace Prize winner winner was a graduate of this institution and applied her leaning from the Center for Justice and Peacemaking to her context in Africa.
The greatest part of being apart of Church, is the sense of participating in the narrative of God’s love in our world that confronts our own fears and inabilities to understand others on a healthy and functional human level. This grand story in scripture and live out through history, be it unreconcilable at times, invits us to particpate in practical ways in our relationships with self, family and friends. Our indavidual story has the chance of getting caught up in the epic journey of holistic spiritual transformation in order to actualize a self that can make a mutual benifit in society. I have witnessed the results and outcomes in my relationship with my spouse, daughter, extended family, community, colleagues, and a cohorts of learners.
What is your expeirence with Church?
In what ways are you making meaning out of Church?
What are your reasons for or against Church?