Wednesday Night

Have you ever seen a one-legged man trying to dance his way free?
If you've ever seen a one-legged man then you've seen me.

- Bruce Springsteen, "The Wrestler"


My girlfriend and the kids and I went to church last night. Wednesday night church. Mid-week service. Do you know how long it's been since I've gone to church in the middle of the week? Well, let's just say a long time.

Have you ever seen a one-legged man trying to dance his way free?

After four years of attending an Anglican church in Colorado Springs (a twenty minute commute), we decided we had to have something local; a church full of kids our kids know and people we see at the grocery store, that kind of stuff. We decided to say to hell with the quest for the perfect church; let's find one in the place where we live and commit, warts and all.

So, after visiting the locals, we're now attending Trinity Lutheran Church. My roots are Southern Baptist, I spent a year with the non-denominationals, then four years lovin' the Anglicans, and now find myself in the arms of those tuna-hot-dish Lutherans from Lake Wobegon. My lord.

Have you ever seen a one-legged man trying to dance his way free?

The Lutherans were starting a mid-week series on the seven deadly sins. I figured they might need an object lesson for each one, so I decided to go, help 'em out you know. It was a good evening for all of us. Folks introduced themselves to us, probably thinking we need to pray for this guy with a ponytail. Hell, I'll take all the prayer I can get. When the evening was said and done, I thought it felt like, well, home. My girlfriend agreed. The kids were in some classroom making s'mores while a teacher kept reminding them God is love, so they were slap-happy. I may go with the kids next week.

I don't know what church looks like for you these days; it may not even be a category in your life. That's fine; the grace that keeps this world is deep and wide. But a lot of folks, maybe even you, are disgusted with the gathering of God's people: the criticisms range from it's nothing but entertainment to isn't there more? Trust me, I've lobbed those same critiques myself. Some of you are searching for that pure expression of the New Testament church. Good luck. I believe the New Testament church was a room filled with folks chock-full of the seven, maybe even eight, deadly sins, and the folks back then knew it, so they prayed for one another, especially those with ponytails. Their saving mantra was God is love; they made sure to teach their children well. As to entertainment, well I'm sure things got a little interesting at times (read the New Testament). And as to isn't there more?, well, I've got a hunch they said sure, we've got more s'mores; there's plenty to go'round.

Have you ever seen a one-legged man trying to dance his way free?

It was a good evening in our little Lake Wobegon church. We didn't leave having witnessed those frequently sought after signs and wonders. Then again, maybe we did.

9 comments:

  1. It is rare to see "Midweek Services" these days. With all of the "life groups" (or "small groups" depending on your terminology) going on.

    I realized long ago when one of our pastors demonstrated his humanness and underwent scorn that no church is ever going to be perfect. It simply isn't possible with a bunch of humans running it. What matters is not the rhetoric or processes by which people hold "church;" but the heart attitudes; the honest seeking of Christ and the leading of the Holy Spirit in the midst.

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  2. Right ON, Shanda Babe, right ON!

    You stole my comment, in fact--just wrote it a titch more elegantly than I would've.

    And I suspect that as you go to your church long enough, John, they'll realize that the ponytail is reasonably clean (God, I hope), and is attached to the head of an awesome thinker and giver of grace. Glad you enjoyed your new church. I'm jealous of the s'mores.

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  3. well, this is so appropriate for my thoughts today.

    I honestly am not sure how I define church anymore...our church has gone through major changes and ups and downs but we've stuck there for 9 years and now yet again "ch ch ch changes"...I feel like my church is an extension of myself...and I wouldn't even want to begin searching out a new place...so I am praying. a lot.

    So, I commend you and the fam for finding a place where you are happy and home.

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  4. sweet piece/peace
    Amen

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  5. One of the most powerful things we could do as Christians is to be open to new things...or old. A friend (Christopher Hopper) said that he sees the various church denominations as flavors of ice cream. Sure, you have your fav, but we're all ice cream. I like that. Thanks for dipping into a new bin, John. We're happy to have you guys aboard.

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  6. I'm from the land of Lake Wobegon; land of hotdishes, lutefisk, ufta! ... and the frozen chosen

    I really enjoy reading your blog,John. I appreciate your creativity and willingness to reveal the things of your heart.

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  7. i kinda needed this kick in the tail. been thinking about it since the new year started but haven't acted on it yet. there's a small church up the street.

    i haven't attended church in over a year. and i was in ministry for 12 years prior to that. the church body... hm... a puzzling bunch sometimes. i was glad to be free of it for awhile, but i miss worship.

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  8. By the way...I'm a big fan of Garrison Keillor! My husband's family is from that "neck of the woods." It cracks us up every time when we are listening!

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  9. my beloved and i are tracking with you, john. just a bit further north of your church, is another church where we've found a couple of seats in the back. it's a tiny church as churches go round these parts and the folks who call it home ... well some have ponytails and quite a few wear hearing aids. there isn't much talk about loving ... but it's everywhere. tomorrow i think we may make our way up a few rows.

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