For a final project in one of my classes this quarter, I was tasked with doing a creative interpretation of a self portrait or self revelation. I set out to use the images of my life to create this portrait. I gathered all of the photos I’ve taken in California and created the image below (click to enlarge). The majority of the photos are from touristy forays, Ducks games, Disneyland and the like. In the end, however, they do a pretty good job of showing my life since moving to California, enjoy.
Download full version here.
I’ve noticed this interesting phenomenon here at seminary. Very few people go to church together. Everyone seems to split up into smaller groups and attend niche churches. I think a big reason for this is the pressure we have to nail down our internship early. Usually during the second (sometimes third) year of the M.Div. people do their required 9-month part-time church internship. As a result, people have scouted out their denominational churches early and are getting involved in them. This definitely fragments an aspect of community life here. I’m just starting to build solid relationships with people here. It’s sometimes hard to do that when everyone goes to a different church. For most of my life, the majority of my community has been found in a church-type setting. Still adjusting to the new dynamic I guess. I think I wish things were a little different.
I’ve found a couple great churches that I would be happy to attend, yet I feel like my biggest criteria for choosing a church right now is supposed to be “can I get an internship here 9 months from now?” About none of those churches can I answer that question affirmatively. That’s tough. One of the churches has a Sunday evening service. Maybe I’ll have to go there on Sunday nights and attend somewhere else on Sunday mornings. We sure have made this complicated…
So during orientation in September, the most popular word we heard from the various people talking was “deconstruction.” I was deconstructing well before I got here in some aspects of my personal theology/ecclesiology/soteriology and several other -ologies. Is basically consists of lots of questions. Most of which I don’t have answers for yet. Lots of people are asking the same questions.
One of my professors better described the process as a touchstone. We examine our previous notions on any given topic and see if they hold up upon deeper inquiry. The things we consider “essentials” often involving things like Christology are pretty sound for me. It’s more of the secondary and tertiary things. What is church? What is worship? What does it look like to be in community? Basic stuff, but fairly loaded questions.
I’m realizing that Twitter is probably not the best discussion forum for these kinds of questions. One hundred and forty characters just isn’t enough for this stuff. So, I’ll bring the questions here.
So for the first—very loaded—question:
What is church to you?