Wednesday, July 09, 2008

naked lunch theology

Taking a break for the next three weeks…blogs may be spotty.

It was fun coming to the Vineyard last weekend as a civilian, trying hard to not think about what’s working and what’s not. Thought the worship time was beautiful; especially when the video for “You Wait” came on the cyc. Wow. Moved to tears.

And then Joe knocked it out of the park. There was a fabulous balance of metaphor and didacticism, of self-effacement and God-confident insight. I was hooked. I left thinking, “Okay, I’m probably a little biased, but I love this church.”

I wondered what it would be like to not like your church, to not get genuinely excited about what God was doing in and through the people there. To not have your heart inexplicably and mystically woven together with others. Don’t get me wrong: of course there are things that drive me crazy. Heck, there are even people who drive me crazy (duh, yeah). But it’s like my family.

Yeah, that one; the one from Kentucky.

And then the flash of the naked lunch (as Burroughs put it: “the frozen moment when everyone sees what is on the end of every fork”): you see how screwed up you are yourself. It suddenly becomes crystal clear: we’re all in need of Big Time Redemption. It is one thing to really see how screwed up you are; it’s another to see how passionately loved you are. And that brings us to Paul’s pointed prod: forgive as the Lord forgave you. Or, as Jesus turned it around, “He who has been forgiven little loves little” (do prophets/messiahs all drink from glasses half-empty?).

Funny how that works: the more I recognize my own need and God’s delight to fill it, the more capable I am to love others.

Do you love your church? Why?

No, really: why?


  1. First off, I remember reading from G.K. Chesterton who said something like "optimists are worse off than pessimists" or something like that.
    Second, I love my church (of course, it is a plant that came from VCC). I love that we are a tight community that can survive struggles and we feel like a family. I also like that at this point it is small enough to make it easy to connect to current areas of ministry, and start new ones. (I attend Compass)

  2. I don’t think it matters whether you see the glass as half-full or half-empty; what matters is what you do with the glass. To me, the best viewpoint is seeing things as they are AND, more importantly, how they could be.

    **back to Dave’s question: "Do you love your church? Why?"

    I suppose if I were making a list of what I liked about Vineyard Community Church it would go on and on, but at the top of the list would be that this place is filled with the most amazing people you will ever meet.

    And to those of you who are saying "but the people ARE the church," my answer is: because these amazing people are allowing themselves to be used as instruments of God to change our world.


  3. I am neither an optimist, nor a pessimist. I am a pragmatist. It doesn't matter whether you see the glass as half full or half empty. What is important is if you know where the tap is and how to work the faucet. A little bit of crushed ice is nice too, if you have one of those nifty refrigerator dispensers, but we are still talking about water, right?

    I have been around the VCC since. . .well. . .it was a handful of us that were thirsty that knew where a bunch of other thirsty people were. One thing I have decided over the years is that it isn't about the glass or the type of faucet--it is the water that is important, and what we do with the water, no matter what quantity we currently have.

    Maybe, since I have grown long in the tooth, I have a lower tolerance for dialogue about surface features and I am missing something important in that discussion. To me, shopping for a church is kind of like going down the plumbing fixture aisle at Home Depot. The color and style doesn't matter much if the plumbing in the house stinks.

    Right now we have good, clean water pressure, let's take advantage of it.

  4. If my glass is full it can't be filled up. The first time I walked throught the doors at VCC my heart leaped. It took me several years to become a regular, every Sunday. My heart still leaps. What brought me to VCC was a glass that was empty and cracked ready to shatter. VCC is a healing place for my soul. Like a sponge I soaked up the messages, the music, the people I spoke with, with tenderness and love my glass started filling up with God's love, on someday's it feels like my glass is over flowing. Not always, someday's.
    Dave and Joe are inspiring fellows that paint a picture of joy, forgiveness,fearlessly loving others.Yet it takes the people inside that live it, to give it away. I love that about VCC they fearlessly and radically loving people. For example the outreach to the abortion clinic was amazing, taking them flowers and NOT condemnation, Sometimes I turn on Christian radio while Dobson is beating his drum politcally, you guy's are out there on the front lines, walking in with flowers that's love! That's what I respect.
    Also, Dave Workamn is fearless, when he wrote his article on Rev. Wright, while everyone around, the press and newspapers, people around the water cooler jumped on the band wagon, Dave was authentic in his review. He said what I felt, when few were saying it! I was afraid to say it, not DAVE.
    The teaching of Jesus's radical love, radical forgiveness, loving our enemies, VCC not only teaches God's word, they live it, The people live it. It's not the building, its' what is inside.
    At my old church,I use to bring people to church with me, people that were not like the other members, maybe they smelled, maybe they needed a ride, most of all they needed the arms of the church wrapped around them...that church could not do it.
    It's very difficult to attend a church you see changing in a direction that is more about conformity that love.
    I could imagine VCC around a camp fire every Sunday evening, the passion would burn just as hot as the flames. That's what I love about VCC, the passion is real, the passion is Jesus and the Holy Spirit comes in.
    I love my church, it's like honey for my soul, I come in soak up and hopefully give back to others. As I am realivelly new, and I have made connections with people, everyone of them are a gift in my life.
    The kingdom messages are wonderful as Joe speaks my mind draws images, it's like my mind gets in a time machine and gets it.
    Thanks for being real, thanks for loving Christ and teaching us how much he loves us and encouraging us to go deeper, to live authentically and forgive others and to give of our self.