Monday, June 2, 2008


We've been hanging around with this Christian community for a while now. New to the area, singed, burned, scorned, and scarred by various Christian communities over the years, we've not been in any particular hurry to formalize the relationship.

It's an interesting bunch of people. There's a wide mix of professionals (professors, business owners, specialists of one sort or another, etc), a burgeoning younger demographic, an array of blue collar folks, and a bunch of very long time survivors. It's these survivors that amaze me.

Along the wilderness path of this community, it's been the point leaders who have done the real damage. Mostly, they violated relationships of one sort or another--mostly sexual. And given that sordid history, the community had times when prospective new leaders decided it was the better part of prudence to avoid the mess of this community.

But here's the thing. The community seems to be the better for it all. They have fashioned a style and commitment to "being the body together" in such a way that it doesn't all depend on the point leader. Point leaders, like anyone else, can come or go; the body will endure. So worship is led by lots of people. The pastoral care, too. Though when a "point leader" is in place, that person's gifts are celebrated and embraced along the way.

Recently, a few of these folks invited Connie and me to join them on a Sat eve trip downtown. We carpooled for the ride, ate together in the open air, and then enjoyed some live theatre together (the theatre was free, since we volunteered to do the ushering duties). It was a great afternoon/evening. But most memorable for me was the "anointing."

About mid-way through our meal, I was being pressed a bit by one of the group about what Connie and my plans were viz a viz the church. Would we become members or not? It was clear that they wanted us to say yes. That was nice, of course. But something didn't feel quite right about it all, either, for the person went on to assume that I'd offer some kind of "leadership."

And that's when the anointing happened. As this person was "pushing" me to accept the legitimacy of the community's expectation that I should be willing to offer something special, a bird flew overhead and dropped its doo on me.

Now, what should a person make of this?

Do we dump a load of crap on a person when we assume roles for them? Or does any person anointed to leadership inevitably suffer a load of crap? And why must people be anointed with so much crap from their leaders?

Whatever the case, it's the survivors that amaze me. May the crown of life--and life more abundant--await those who persevere in faith and hope. Amen: Let it be so.