Just before our first service a year ago I was playing Bebo Norman’s song, “Here Goes” all the time:
Here goes nothing, here goes everything, gotta reach for something, or you’ll fall for anything. Take a breath, take a step, what comes next God only knows, but here goes.
It’s the same song that is playing underneath the video for our community (see our pictures page if you haven’t seen it yet). Sometimes a song can inspire us in ways that nothing else can.
For our Anniversary Service yesterday we held a rock ‘n roll service and played and sang some great music from “Here Comes the Sun” to “My Sweet Lord,” “Jesus is Just Alright” and “Barbara Ann.” Plus, instead of preaching on a scripture reading, my message was about the words to John Lennon’s song, “Imagine.” It may very well have been the best energy I’ve ever felt in a worship service, and I can’t imagine another place where that could have happened without eyebrows raising and tongues wagging about whether that was really appropriate in church.
I guess that’s why we’re trying to be a community instead of a church. We’re trying to be spiritual instead of religious. As far as I’m concerned there is nothing that God is not a part of… I know, that’s a double negative… if you need it more plainly, God is in everything. Really. Everything. Secular music can make your soul sing just as much as religious music. Non-biblical readings can evoke as much awareness and understanding of God as Biblical readings. I can preach just as well in blue jeans as in a suit, and I’m convinced that God doesn’t care either way. I can’t, however, preach as well in a robe and stole, it feels sort of suffocating in an authoritarian sort of way, but I may just be weird.
After a year I feel really good about the community we’re creating. People tell me they’ve never experienced anything like it – and they keep coming so they must mean that in a good way! Looking at our religious backgrounds, we’re quite the eclectic group, but we all seem to have one thing in common… the old way (and that means different things for different people) wasn’t working for us anymore. And all of these folks are looking for a place to bring their questions, a place where they can think and learn and grow. I’ve determined, sadly, that this just isn’t for everyone. Some people prefer the glitz of the mega churches with the big screens, paid musicians, coffee shop in the church, and a preacher who will tell them exactly what to believe. It’s just the same old stuff in a prettier package, but I suppose it is easier than thinking.
As for us, we will keep thinking. It may, in some ways, be harder, but I firmly believe it is more spiritually fulfilling. Engaging at this level truly develops a deeper personal understanding of the divine. So… here goes nothing, here goes everything… what comes next God only knows!