Saturday, December 18, 2010

“Silent night, holy night…is calm…is bright, round yon…gin mother and child, holy infant so tender and mild…in……pea….sleep in heavenly peace.”

Or “Guys start carols too high”

Caroling, right? What a great idea! Everyone, let’s get together and we’ll tromp around the neighborhood singing familiar Christmas tunes. How Christmassy! How effortless!

The emperor has no clothes on.

Or, to be more precise, not nearly enough clothes on. I held this truth to be self-evident about ten minutes into last night’s evening of caroling, as the temperature plunged in a sick inverse relationship to our group’s starting key. At least there were a lot of us – the body heat of 30 people raised the ambient temperature a good two degrees. And thanks to the quick thinking the organizer, we had song sheets pinched between frozen fingers, so the second verse of Joy to the World escaped sounding like an unintentional Christmas mash-up.

I’ve noticed that there is a moment in events like this – that moment between “this is going to be the best!” and “Well, we’re in it now, so let’s soldier on,” where you realize that real life is not a Christmas calendar. It’s cold and unorganized and some things go on a little too long. Some people are a half-measure ahead of you. Sometimes your driver locks his keys in his car.

Times will not always be sentimental, or hilarious, or traditional, or perfect. There are long stretches of off-key ordinary connecting the post-card memories. And that’s fine. You have to give good memories some breathing room. They don’t perform well under pressure.

And actually, I had great time caroling with the youth group last night. We weren’t going to be mistaken for a GAP advertisement at any point of the evening, but there is a bonhomie that comes from freezing your collective keister off with a group of happy people. It was fun, it ended with a gift exchange, and I was treated to some of those flashes of brilliant humor that teenagers display during their great transformation.

And it was my last youth group at Chapel by the Sea, at least for bit.

So I guess it was sentimental and hilarious and traditional and perfect.

But seriously, somebody should have brought a pitch pipe.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Sometimes I call it GV

The vision of the Lumen Foundation is to plant several small, neighborhood-based churches in the city of Columbus over time.

I love the idea of neighborhood churches - congregations full of people who live near one another and can invest not only in their church, but in their community at the same time. A place where new attendees feel comfortable because the rooms are full of their neighbors. I like the idea of meeting actual needs without being saddled to a cumbersome program. I want people to come to church because I want them to hear about Jesus and to understand that the stories in the Bible are the key to unlocking the truth about life. I want them to experience the power and peace of the Holy Spirit. I want believers to have a place to be around other believers, to be encouraged and exhorted.

Cross City Church, the Lumen Foundation's first plant, is going to be established in German Village, just south of Columbus's city center.

Here is another reason why the decision to move was easy: German Village looks amazing.

A historical neighborhood with brick streets, old houses, and a big second-hand bookstore, German Village is the kind of place I would visit on vacation. As near as I can tell (using my trusty resource, Google Maps), GV is located just south of the city center, near the river (whose name I can't remember) and close enough to the freeway (whose number I also cannot remember). It's about 12 minutes from Ohio State University, so I expect to be dusting off my enthusiasm for college football. And that's...pretty much all I know.

So, I'm not exactly sure how I'm going to insinuate myself into what seems to be a fairly tight-knit neighborhood. I mean, even when I moved to Bath, I had an MA programme full of potential friends, and more than 5 people attended my church. But my plan is to try to get involved in community activities - like a writers' group, or a scrabble night, or some kind of volunteerism. I will most likely spend a lot of time standing around, trying not to look awkward.

Nothing new there.