I had the honor of sharing a homecoming Sunday at my father-in-law's church this past weekend. The people were welcoming, the food excellent and the music toe-tapping. I had a great time.
Which honestly strikes me a little odd. I am an unconventional pastor leading an unconventional community of faith. See... we don't even use the term "church." I have devoted the past 6 years of my life and service to creating an environment that reaches/connects to those traditional church has not connedted with. We are casual, acoustic, and try to use current tools to help share the message of God's love, power and leadership (a.k.a. grace.)
The idea of homecoming would on the surface seem antithetical to the conscious and constant choice to be other than the usual and traditional. However, as God lead my study and reflection in preparation of this event, I came back to one of those written-in-ink beliefs of mine. (These beliefs have, through trial and error, reflection and experience, become more permanently etched in my soul.) I believe the pomo move of the present is doomed to fail if it does not start in the tradition and history of our particular blend of the Christian experience. We can not have a clear and attainable vision of the future of Christianity (beliefs and behaviors) until we understand where we have come from.
I feel more energized to continue what so many see as progressive and iconoclastic because I see a clear flowing of principles that begin in the New Testament era and continued throughout our particular Wesleyan Blend. I see traditionalists flowing from the Pharisees through to today with a greater concern over the practices of the past and not the principles that propelled the practices.
So I thoroughly enjoyed my homecoming weekend and reviewing the history of one congregation's attempt at spreading the Good News. I rejoice in the principles of lay and women ministries, personal and corporate sacrifice, willingness to adapt and even physically move to meet the needs around, and the proclamation of the truth that God not only looks at us differently through grace BUT actually changes us into the imago Christi through his grace.
Having seen where I have come from helps me see where I am going.