Our church went retro, and I’m okay with that

We go to a church that’s fairly up with the times. You may recall the Easter Mii invitation from about a half year ago. That was our church. We’ve historically met in industrial-like spaces with coffee tables and IKEA furniture lit up with candles and lamps. Recently, though, we moved into an older church building (with a Julia Morgan-style architecture), and there were some concerns among our congregation that the pews and old-style furnishings of the building might take away from the hip spirit of our church.

I have to disagree. Basically, some people thought our church was about the furniture, and a lot of us felt the church is about the people. Yes, the furniture is an expression of who we are as people. Nevertheless, we are still the same people if we worship in pews in an older building. Well, now that we’ve actually made the move, and I’ve actually experienced worship in our new (or old, depending on how you look at it) building, I have to say I like this better. We did manage to move around some pews and put some coffee tables in. We also brought in our sound system and projector. But there’s a homey quality to the old building that appeals to me, and having younger folks inhabiting the older space gives it a fresh feel that doesn’t remind me of the church I was in growing up (which was mainly populated by older folks like my parents).

I have nothing against old folks and will probably be one in a few decades. I just want to feel young while I still am, and it’s great to be in an old building with a bunch of young people. I’m digging the retro.

Christianity Life

Renewal – To Each Her Own

Right now, our church is doing a sermon series about creation and is also experimenting with allowing congregation members the opportunity to create during the sermon. Children are painting murals. Adults are playing with pipecleaners and making pizzas. We’re even encouraged to blog during worship (which is what I’m doing right now on my Eee PC).

Bruce started off his sermon talking about how he finally realized he needed a day of rest, and he went to a cafe and read a book. That was his way to relax and reconnect with God. Now, he’s soliciting responses from the congregation about how they feel renewed (some people go out into nature, some throw barbecues).

What I like about this line of inquiry and this whole experiment is a recognition that people have different ways to create, to connect with God, to be fed, to feel renewed. A lot of times, you go to church or to a church retreat, and you’re asked to perform a particular ritual that is intended to be the most appropriate thing for you to do in your spiritual life at the moment, but everybody is required to do it. How could we possibly all be at the same spiritual place and have the exact same activity to be appropriate for our spiritual needs?

For example, I’ve had services where someone will ask you to write down three ways you want to improve your relationship with Christ and commit to doing those three things this week. That may work for a lot of people, but that sort of thing doesn’t work for me. It doesn’t mean I don’t want to connect with God or be a good Christian. I just do things my own way, and I think it’s important for people to recognize that the old saying of “To each her own” (or, as some of you may have heard it, “To each his own”) has merit, particularly on spiritual journeys. Blogging during the sermon… interesting. Still not sure if it’s for me, but it was certainly worth exploring!