my kind of church

I am a pastor of a church, but I struggle with it. Man, do I struggle with it! When I think about the mechanics of running an organization, the delicacies of maintaining tenuous relationships, the banality of nurturing a bureaucracy, or the boredom of keeping an institution going, I just go NUTS! I hate it. At that point, my wife Lisa usually says, “David, just remember: it’s about the people and about God!” Then I can feel my heart rate restore itself, my blood-pressure level off, and my brain cease its convulsions.

Like right now. It’s hot out, and I can think of nothing better to do than sitting on my porch with some friends, overlooking the beautiful Kennebacasis River, smoking my pipe filled with the new Executive Blend tobacco my brother sent me, drinking a fine red wine (preferably Syrah), and talking about the latest books we’ve read, movies we’ve seen, jokes we’ve heard, or thoughts we’ve had. Heck, I’d even do that with enemies!

I remember several years ago, there were about 12 young adults visiting our house in the evening. We sat on our porch around the fire pit. What a lovely night! Some wine was poured, and Lisa served some fresh homemade bread she’d made. We sat around drinking the wine and pulling hunks of bread off the loaf, just talking and laughing and connecting on a memorable level. When I layed my head on my pillow that night, it struck me that we’d actually had communion… communion like I’d never had it before. I’ll never forget that night. Now, THAT’S my kind of church!

Are you with me?

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35 Replies to “my kind of church”

  1. Welcome to the working class Dave!

    I am sitting here momentarily while around me a dozen kids yang, scream, lament and demand my time and energy. Andy is off working and will no doubt come home in a bad mood because of all the idiots he works with.

    Wouldn’t we all love to do what you are wishing for.

  2. Not profound … just a thought!

    MINISTRY! In the thesaurus another word for ministry is ORGANIZATION. Just to think Dave…that is what God has called us too. Sounds alot like Jesus’ relationships and ministry. Although, I don’t know if Jesus had brain convulsions. If He has, it had to do with me in my journey with Him.

    Full Time Ministry or Secular work is exactly that…WORK! Everything in life come with some organization – relation – frustration – motivation – intimidation – exhaustion – and some constipation.

    By the way, I would love to sit and have my pipe, wine and bread that way! Sounds refreshing and relaxing!

    Cheers on the wine and pipe!

  3. I mean my thought is not profound …. whew, if you were sensitive that would come across harsh!

  4. Alot of responses Dave on the pipe! Makes me want to go home from the office and have a nice glass of wine and a pipe!

  5. Sitting around eating bread and drinking wine has it’s place but like anything can become a simple case of chronic loafing if that’s all you do. If we only indulged in what we wanted to do, we’d become drowsy, not to mention poor! Work isn’t necessarily fun but expending energy creates energy if there is a balance between work and play.

    I find this tidbit interesting:

    According to the results of a meta-analysis (Karau & Williams, 1993), social loafing is a pervasive phenomenon, but it does not occur when the group members feel that the task or the group itself is important.

    These are simply the thoughts that tumbled out of my head after reading today’s entry, they may or may not have much to do with the point you were trying to make. Just my 2 pence. ;o)

  6. I’m with you David, but replace that pipe with a La Gloria Cubana Muduro Corona and the Syrah with Zinfandel.

    One thing is for sure, communion is not a ritual. It is a remmebrance, a covenant and a proclamation.

    “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread;

    and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”

    In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”

    For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

  7. I’ve had that cigar, and I’ve had that wine! So we are agreed in many, many ways! Hey everyone… this guy’s an artist too! We have exchanged pieces; and now, Stan, we exchange pleasant words. Good to hear from you.

  8. Wow, apparently the protestant work ethic is alive and well!

    I am not trying to be mean but it appears many commenters have taken David’s words and interpreted them they way they wish. Ministry = Organization? Communion = Remembrance? Enjoying time with friends = loafing?

    Whether those interpretations are true or not, it appears David’s point has been completely missed and have been interpreted back to each person’s own way of thinking.

    If this exercise of sharing insight and perspective is meant to move us and challenge us, it appears there is a great deal of resistance to this whether it is acknowledged or not.

  9. All words are left to interpetation .. thats the joy of dialogue done in a safe enviroment.

  10. “I’m not trying to be mean…” ? You just can’t help yourself, correct? It’s compulsive behavior right?

    Perhaps for the less cerebral, you’d like to explain just what David’s point was and of course in a non-interpretive manner, which leads one to this conclusion: Why do we need David, you will suffice.

    “My kind of church” is one with communion where no one has to have a disclaimer excusing them from being mean. To me, and you may interpret this as you will, being in communion excludes mean.

    Perhaps you’d like to spell out all the laws. I’ll make sure not to step on any feet with my banal and gross misinterpretations.

    Never mind, I’ll likely not post here again. So your “mission” is accomplished.

    David, I’d love to share a glass of wine and a quality smoke sometime, maybe even break bread.

  11. Good grief what is wrong with a work ethic…no one is even disagreeing with Dave…but reality is what it is…there is nothing religious about that. He made more than one point in his statement.

    I think you might be overly sensitive and or critical to anyone who bases their opinions contrary to what Dave writes…is this a blog or a fan club?

    Why do you assume you are the only one who understands what Dave is trying to say? If we all agreed I would bail on out of here because it is only through discussion that we can understand someone’s point of view.

    Doesn’t mean that I will like it, agree with it, or even respect it…but I respect that they have the opinion they have and they are entitled to that without it being boxed into a nice neat little label or category…yuck!

  12. John, you smart guy, you caught the “loafing” thing! LOL!

    Dear dear me Jeff, so if I don’t regurgitate back what David says I’m being resistant? I’m surprised you’re offended at someone having another point of view.

    As far as spending time with friends equaling loafing, that’s a classic case of oversimplification, but to each his/her own.

    I’m thoroughly enjoying hearing everyone’s thoughts!

  13. David,

    How I love your blog site, and how I wish you were still here with us in Sherbrooke. We do so need your kind of Church.

    Please come back!!!

  14. This is fantastic! I don’t remember this kind of input in church. Anyone who says the internet hasn’t opened new lines of communication hasn’t experienced this.

    Considering that email is a dangerous medium to communicate sensitive matters, the blogosphere isn’t any different. The lack of facial expression and tonality create great challenges. That’s why I use Canadian terms like “I am not trying to be mean but…” but apparently that won’t be necessary in the future. To drop out of a conversation after a minor criticism is, frankly, bizarre. I wouldn’t wish anyone to leave dialogue here for any reason and honestly can’t understand what would even prompt such a response. But us liberals are a simple people.

    Dave, your love of life and friendship is evident and enjoyed by everyone who knows you. You have found a ministry and communion with others through the simple things that make routine life a pleasure. It is understandable that the mundane adminstrative crap would be life sucking for you and I agree with you. I am, indeed, a fan!

  15. Adminstration is not that bad when it coincides with vision and passion. All things we do require some form of adminstration and organization. When I am excited about what I am doing – whether family, friends, hobby, and even in ministry….administration becomes part of the excitement of seeing vision unfold.

  16. So John, what do you think of Bonhoeffer when he says in his book, Life Together:
    “Every human wish dream that is injected into the Christian community is a hindrance to genuine community and must be banished if genuine community is to survive. He who loves his dream of a community more than the Christian community itself becomes a destroyer of the latter, even though his personal intentions may be ever so honest and earnest and sacrificial… God hates visionary dreaming…” (pp. 27f)?

  17. i am stepping in here with fear and trembling, and Dave you want me to comment with these kind of arrows flying? anyway…i just want to talk to dear dear Carolyn… if he came back they wouldn’t be here!!!! i can’t let that happen again. But you are more than welcome to come here!!!

  18. Jeff, forgive me for my uncalled-for comments. We don’t see each others facial expressions and such and it’s good to add extra dialogue to ease that lack. I am sorry to you and any others I may have offended because my fingers became an extension of the tongue, which for me was an outburst of pride. I was so excited about David’s revelation that I had to comment right away and obviously didn’t convey anything relevant. Communion takes on many forms. Let me offer a simple analogy, because I too have had those fleeting moments of communion that I believe all of us have had.

    Let’s say that Martha is in the kitchen prepping a great dinner for all the guests. She is slaving away doing the best she can to make everything right because she knows who the guest of honor is. However she becomes frustrated because Mary is not helping her with this demanding task. Mary is in the living room giving the guest of honor a foot rub. Both are having communion. Martha is stressed out and Mary is having a divine moment. Jesus told Martha to chill out.

    So many times I find myself getting caught up in the banal and mundane work of “service” that I miss the communion I think I have. Then (sometimes) it hits me.

    So it’s not bizarre. I’m still in this conversation.

    David, just one question: would that be California red wine or Canadian? LOL

  19. Ahhh Grasshopper David! I did not say “human wish dream” …

    Am I missing something here? God does give passion and purpose … you have a passion for art which God has gifted you… you want others to enjoy that art. You have to have a sense of vision, along with administration skill to make it happen (art shows, ebay).

    Your passionate gift in operation is a cohesive part of community, just as all others.

    Now, Bonhoeffer saying: “God hates visionary dreaming” concerns me. Please explain!

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