I was all geared up for a long bike ride after work today, rode past one couples house on my way out of Joondalup and saw another friends car out the front so thought I’d drop in…You know how it is, you get talking and an hour has gone, you have lost the bike ride ‘anointing’ and before you know it you are back home eating chocolate cake!
The conversation we had was interesting. There was an indication that a few people have got some crazy ideas of what our Joondalup Thing is all about, and with good reason in some cases. These guys I was having a chat with (one of whom is connected to our group) had been talking to people who had said, “I have heard…” And “did you know that these guys are in to …”
What I discovered in listening to the rumors was that most of them are true…Sort of. You know what they say, all good rumor has a slice of truth!
I sometimes say some things that in hindsight I think ‘maybe that was a God picture because it’s too smart an illustration for me!’, and this was one of those times.
I suggested that what I see of our Joondalup Community Thing is a big tapestry, and depending on who you talk to from our group the tapestry looks ever so slightly different.
What happens when you pass someone in church on Sunday and they say “heard you were doing something strange in Joondalup”. Instead of pulling out the whole tapestry and showing them, which may take a good few hours, a thread from the tapestry is drawn out from the big picture and discussed. Sometimes, I like to ‘bait’ and stir the pot, so the thread pulled may be a controversial one for that person.
An example may help.
Last Sunday a rough tough young guy asked me what we were doing, I responded by pulling out the threat of organic vegi gardening. This is in my tapestry picture (not even a current reality! But I love the idea of playing together with some neighbor’s in an experimental vegi garden, building relationships, meeting new friends and having fun). But of course this young guy thinks he has just seen the whole tapestry, a vegi garden looking tapestry, a bunch of ‘poofy’ greeny blokes tiptoeing around their patch of strawberries, when in fact all he saw was a thread.
Another thread may be the way we express our ‘church services’. Maybe the way we include kids in them as well. Maybe our following of the traditional church calendar, or the way we do communion, or our leadership style, trying to avoid heirarchical traps. Another thread maybe the sharing of our goods, our lives and our resources. It could be getting involved in our community with action groups, it could become political at times. It could be the intensity of our discipleship or the way we choose to use our finances, or not use them. Maybe the level of involvement we choose to have at Whitford church, our home church. It could be the way we view our environment, or our theology of evangelism and salvation.
All these threads make of a wonderful picture, given the time to sit and explain it all and ‘show off’ the threads woven together, most people are over the moon, but it’s taken years for some of us to see the tapestry as it looks today. And many people really don’t want to know what and why we are doing it all, in fact what I find is that many people who are deeply committed to existing church structures avoid finding out too much as it simply does not fit the model. In fact even to this day when one of our core groupies look at the tapestry they see some different colours and shapes to the way some of us others see it, but essentially there are a whole lot of common threads that come from a bunch of different dreams, woven together that are slowly forming a great looking picture.
I need to be careful I guess that my ‘teasing’ ways don’t push it too much. Sometimes people just take these throw away comments about nudist colonies too far and before you know it we will be having animal sacrifices around an open fire! (we always use a gas stove!)