Shane at Wesley Blog loves urban ministry and has some challenging words for the rest of us:
Urban ministry is not about putting band-aids on wounds and calling it a day. It's not about doling out money to deal with symptoms while refusing to deal with the root problems. It's not about having cool stories to go back and tell our congregations. And it's not about doing the bare minimum to appease liberal guilt. It's about becoming part of the solution, and expanding the Body of Christ in unfamiliar, sometimes uncomfortable places. And it's about pushing back the gates of hell and fighting for souls that too many people have given up on.
A new addition to the blog list, Storyteller's World, tells of an unfortunate happening during passing of the peace. What a quirky place the church can be:
Something nasty happened at the Eucharist this morning. A member of the congregation refused to exchange the Peace with me.
This distracted me all through the Eucharistic Prayer. If two members of the congregation refuse to exchange the Peace with each other, I believe they should not receive Communion. But what if one person has offered, and another refused? What am I to do if this person comes to the altar rail? In fact she didn’t do so; perhaps she realised it would be impossible to do so; maybe (here is the infectiousness of paranoia) she had only come to church to create a bit of mayhem in me. In the mean time I felt uneasy enough about receiving the bread and wine myself.
One of my new favorites, Bridget Jones Goes to Seminary, shares an e-mail she recieved from a professor in response to her recently published article on Rumspringa, a practice in the Amish community where children are sent out to experience temptations of 'the English' and then given the choice whether to return. She suggested that everyone at her school engage in a theological Rumspringa. Her professor was encouraging (and witty):
Dear Amish sympathizer,
Declaring a theological Rumspringa is the sort of seditious activity we Ordination Gestapo have come to expect from types like you. Since you're familiar with Rumspringa, you probably know that the majority of the Amish do decide to return to the church of their parents, and do so with greater appreciation for its traditions than they had before. We Ordination Gestapo believe that the seminary will be better off without such nonsense. We prefer that students fake their theological orthodoxy and keep their potentially questionable questions to themselves. Although students' constipated inquisitiveness may explode and hit the fan in their ministry, this institution at least will be free of agitation.
So a word to the wise....From your loving Gestapo.
I'm glad I still have blogs like this to read.