Sunday, February 20, 2011

Action/Waiting Room Ethics

Two weeks ago my little sister got very sick so I took her there around 9:30PM. She is better, no worries…

Most of the time we were waiting was fairly inactive. There were several things I noticed as I looked around. I noticed a few husbands taking care of sick wives. A mother with her grown daughter. A grown daughter with her aging mother. A few families, one of the members was sick and the rest showed up. No one seemed to be by themselves. Until one man walked in alone.

He was a rough looking Hispanic man in his late 20s. About 5′8” 200 pounds, he looked like he used to be an athlete, but obviously wasn’t anymore. He seemed to have been hardened by the neighborhood that he may have grown up in. Wearing baggy jeans and a dirty tanktop to show off his many tatoos. His head was shaved clean and he had a swollen and bleeding eye. I assumed this was why he came in…

He started pacing back and forth in the room. He must have been trying to keep his cool by the look of anger on his face. A few minutes went by and another lone woman walked in and made a B-line to the phone that sat on a side table. She quickly picked up the phone, sat down and began to dial a number, making sure to keep her head low. The Hispanic man noticed her presence quickly and his anger was brought to rage at her sight. He started yelling profanities at her and telling her to leave quickly. The security guard behind the glass moved over to the window quickly to observe, but she seemed frightened herself.

The woman wouldn’t say a word, and didn’t budge, trying to make her phone call. The man grew louder and angrier. He started to yell for the security guard to remove her. It was at this time that he had his back to me and I could see the real reason he came to the ER. He had a golf ball sized gash in the back of his head, covered in blood.

The security guard appeared to be in shock. She didn’t know what to do so she just watched in silence, as did everyone else in the room. When he saw that the security guard wasn’t going to meet his demands he took matters into his own hands. He grabbed her by the hair and raised her up out of his seat. He then began to shake her head and tell her “get the f*$# out of here!”

When I saw that the security guard was not able to do her job I stood up in her defense. My blood was boiling, similar to the way it is now as I recall this event. I stood up, looked him in the eye and said, “You let go of her!”

He quickly moved all of his anger from the woman to me. He started yelling profanities at me, asking if I wanted to “take this outside.” I could think of no words to say that would be helpful. So I simply stood my ground and looked him in the eyes. I had already succeeded at my task anyways. The woman was not being harmed anymore. As he continued his threats 2 security guards came around the corner and escorted him outside.

Afterward several strangers asked me to recall the story from my perspective. So I preceded to tell the story over the next few hours to my new friends in the ER.

Its situations like this that call one to question things like, when is it wrong to be meek? When is being a peacemaker better? Or is it ever? What would I have done if the man had attacked me? Or if he hit the woman? Would I have moved in physically then? Was Jesus a pacifist? Or would he have stepped in physically to defend this helpless woman if things escalated?

Life is tough.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

What is the Emerging Church?

The Emerging Church is a fairly hot topic in many evangelical circles these days. This topic brings more childish banter out of the religious far right than any almost any other I can think of. I must also be fair to say that, those on the religious far left have used this expression of church as a sort of covering for an "anything goes theology."

Both are equally unhealthy. The Emerging Church is tough to define. Even the more prominent leaders of this emerging movement have a tough time defining it. I am by no means an authority on the subject. But it is a movement that I have been paying close attention to for the last 4-5 years. I have also been participating in a few expressions of church that most would define as “emerging” in the last year. Using both personal experiences and research I will attempt to briefly define the "Emerging Church" at the end of this post.

Let me tell you about a few of my experiences first...

I lead a monastic community in Edward’s Hall made up of 10 freshman and sophomore’s that have committed to a monastic rule that we developed together. This rule includes: daily time in silence/solitude, reading the sermon on the mount 3 times a week, fasting weekly, daily time in conversational prayer, weekly meeting with monk brothers, a soul friendship (church of 2 or 3), and bi-weekly coaching.

I am also part of a simple church that started in August. We meet together in each others home. Eat a meal together with the Lord’s supper. Each person has an opportunity to share their hearts with one another and say anything else they would like to share with the community. We then have a time of listening together and then we usually spend some time encouraging and building one another up. It has been amazing to become part of a community that not only shares several hours once a week with each other, but is deeply invested in one another’s lives on a daily basis.

Given my experience in these forms of “emerging church” and many readings of other’s experiences I would like to give my best shot at a definition. Here it goes...

“The Emerging Church movement is a conversation centered around reforming Christ’s Bride by blending ancient traditions with Post-modern cultural expressions in order to become a community that represents the Gospel of Jesus, and the life of a particular local.”

What do you think of this definition? Or maybe a better question would be, what do you think of the idea of this kind of church?

Monday, February 07, 2011

The Conversation Continues

I’m having a difficult time keeping up with this blog after all. Largely in part to my newest hobby. You can check that out at I am really having a blast capturing the beauty of the creator on camera.

However, I do have a renewed plan for keeping up with this blog, as I feel it is vital that we speak to the issues I am beginning to address here... AND several of you have encouraged me to do so. I’m glad that you feel these topics are important. I do too, and I want to continue to help articulate what I know many of you are experiencing and feeling in the church today. Stay tuned… and please keep the conversation going through the comment section.