With a fellow parish, my wife, Sr. Warden, and I took a mission trip to Guadalajara. There, we did a seminar entitled ‘The Life in the Spirit’ which is a course designed to teach some basics and to bring folks to a deeper walk with Christ. Lots of experiential stuff that Constantine likes. I’ll have many thoughts on this in this and future posts.
We did the seminar for the clergy and laity of the Anglican Diocese of Western Mexico. I found myself going back to my past in the bilingual Pentecostal church I grew up in (yes, I am Hispanic and no, I didn’t learn Spanish)in which the passion of worship was full of life–and sometimes chaos.
What struck me about the culture down there was their emphasis on the ‘table,’ that is, the meal times and the wonderful interaction with families and friends. Life stops for meals and when the dishes are cleared, all gather for the sake of simply being together.
The buzz words in churches in the US is ‘community’ and ‘family time.’ But it is painfully obvious that we have no clue what that is. We exist for our careers and jobs and have little time to laugh with those we love. We are hurried, going from one trivial pursuit to another.
There is nothing romantic about Mexico, in fact the spiritual darkness there is palpable. However, they have something we don’t–each other.
Giving to the church Deux:
Going back to the discussion on giving, we are in our annual pledge drive. I got some pretty honest and important feedback (see the post ‘how to ask’ below)from you readers. When you’re dealing with a church budget, some of an average person’s pledge will go to the rising energy costs to keep the building heated, etc., some will go to my salary (which is modest and for which I am grateful), and the rest will go to the ministries in the church.
Many churches face a crisis in giving and I always get heartburn at this time of year. Your questions:
1. Why do you think there is a crisis in giving to churches?
2. Why do you give?
I love your honest feedack…
Listen to this great quote from U2’s Bono:
“The idea that there’s a force of love and logic behind the universe is overwhelming to start with, if you believe it. Actually, maybe even far-fetched to start with…But the idea that that same love and logic would choose to describe itself as a baby born in shit and straw and poverty is genius, and brings me to my knees, literally. To me, as a poet, I am just in awe of that. It makes some sort of poetic sense. It’s the thing that makes me a believer, though it didn’t dawn on me for many years.”
I am resonating as we speak. (Sorry ’bout the ‘s’ word mom) (grin).
On more than one occasion, I’ve heard Episcopal priests use this quote from Teilhard de Chardin, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, but we are spiritual beings having human experience.”
What sayeth ye readers? Is what the Frenchmen says true?