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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Church Re-Imagined

I am currently reading "Church Reimagined" by Doug Pagitt and others. It is the story of how church works in the Solomon's Porch Community in Minneapolis.

Solomon's Porch (SP) is an attempt at doing church in different ways that are not reactive or anti-Institutional Church but are simply ideas to create a stronger sense of community.

They sit in a circle because it is difficult to build community by staring at the back of someone's head. no-one has a personal microphone because no one person's voice is more important than another. There is no stage and, because of the circular approach to seating there is no "front" to the church. All of the rooms are open for anyone to go into.

Just reading such a description can make it sound like some attempt at hippy-fied socialist experiment in cringeworthy church but, as you read the story, it is clear that this is a genuine effort to, as the title says, re-imagine Church.

I have been so inspired by this book. It is refreshing in its tone and exciting in the possibilities explored. Doug Pagitt makes it clear that this is not a blueprint for church nor is it the answer. It is a community on a journey to allow the life of Jesus to permeate all of their lives 24/7.

One of the joys of the book is that 6 members of the community wrote journals and excerpts are placed throughout the book. It is fascinating to see what this church looks like "on the ground" and "from the pews" as it were.

SP also write their own songs not as a reactionary measure but because they want to sing from their own experiences. Some of the lyrics are found at the end of each chapter. I have gone on to download songs from their website and will continue to share some more specific quotes and song lyrics in the next few posts.

If you want to dream about a church where we don't sit in rows and hear one person speak for 40 minutes and then have coffee and go home please read this book and let your horizons expand.

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