Category Archives: The Church
OK, friends, the jury is in. By acclamation, an overwhelming vote, and 100% of responders… This blog is going to merge with my daily blog – “The Life-Charged Life”. I will – for the time being – continue to use this “Clergy-Hubby” site, but the content will be the same as “The Life-Charged Life.”
Take today’s post, for example – it could have ended up in either location. So:
- Let me know what you think
- Pass this address on to others
My publisher is always telling me I need to be “cutting edge” in my use of social media.
- That’s how I got into blogging, and I appreciate the nudge Upper Room Books gave me to get my “on-line journal” going.
- It’s also why I’m on facebook. Again, I’m glad I’m involved, and I value the way it keeps me in touch with so many people.
- I TWEET too – although really I’m not sure what I’m doing and 90% of the time my Tweets are little more than an invitation to read my blog. I’ve been told people want to read any snippits of pithy, humorous or informative information I’m willing to put out there – but thus far I’m not locking in on the medium.
But, yesterday, I think I may have gotten a handle on the Tweet idea - even though my “Aha!” moment came in retrospect and I didn’t actually Tweet a thing.
Here’s what happened. We had a baptism at fpcBrandon. A young couple, active in our church, brought their infant son and it was one of those deeply moving occasions. So I grabbed my Android and snapped a couple of pictures. Then I thought, “Why not post this on facebook in real time?” So I did. I labelled the post “Church as it Happens.”
I enjoyed the concept of Church-as-it-Happens so much that I posted a series of pictures, with comments, in real time during the morning. It felt awkward to be “playing with my phone” so much during worship, and I did get a couple of sharp elbows from the preacher, but I do believe it was worthwhile.
That evening I talked with a friend who had picked up the facebook posts. She told me what I had done was a “made for Twitter” thing, tweets – apparently – are more “stream of consciousness.” To be honest I’m still not sure that I’m going to do that much on Twitter, because I have a hard time remaining in any way detached from the event I’m participating in – plus part of me can’t get away from the idea that “It’s rude to be on your phone” when participating in any kind of a public event…..
IMMEDIACY: I think what intrigues me most about this whole conversation is the immediacy. Of course, it’s also true that nothing is quite so immediate as actually being there! Point taken. But, I don’t believe the church-as-it-happens concept is about providing an alternative to showing up. I think it’s about taking some of what is real and engaging and transformational about Sunday morning at fpcBrandon and holding it out there as a kind of invitation.
Let’s face it, the vast majority of people don’t even have public worship on their radar. So this is not about giving anyone an easy out, it’s about offering the beginnings of an easy in. Social media is crawling with the raw evidence of life without committed faith. I believe it’s time that – without judgment or anything other than love – more evidence of the truth of the Gospel message finds its way into the mix.
It’s time that – without judgment or anything other than love – we tell the story and we tell it right.
A flurry of activity over the past few weeks led to a key moment in the construction of our new facilities at First Presbyterian Church of Brandon. The general contractor threw his “Topping Out” party and we’re officially down to the fine details.
The fine details, of course, will take the best part of a month to complete, but it’s all downhill from here.
Officially, “topping out” is supposed to celebrate a building that is dried in and secure from the elements. In reality, this milestone means that we also have electricity, air-conditioning, windows, doors and that the plumbing is pretty much finished up too.
Flooring is going down, there’s paint on the walls, appliances are moving in to the kitchen. They’re working on the landscaping as well, along with the new entrance and sidewalks and such. Exciting stuff all around!
“Topping Out” is a contractor party. It’s thrown by the construction folk for all the people who have been working at the site. Employees, sub-contractors, inspectors etc. If they want to – and this isn’t always the case – they invite the people who are paying for the work, too. Our contractor graciously invited a handful of folk from the church that included Rebekah and me, so I thought I’d share a few pictures in this blog.
A whole bunch of doors – above – were set up in the hall for finish work. I thought they made great ecclesiastical art. One of my favorite scriptures is the John 1o passage where Jesus talks about being the gate, the entry point for the Kingdom of God. I like the image of our church serving that role for so many people who are exploring their spirituality and what it means to live in relationship to God.
Our builder used the opportunity to share his testimony with the assembled workers. What Jim did was to provide an excellent barbecue lunch and preach a ten-point sermon while everyone was eating. It’s definitely one approach to telling the Gospel story.
But what really gave me pause, as I walked around the facility, was the fact that this building is a profound statement of faith. The quality of the work, the way we are committed to making the facilities accessible to so many community groups, the training in discipleship that will take place, the evidence that First Presbyterian of Brandon is active in this community and working to raise the standard of life in Brandon.
It all speaks to the transformational love of God that has so taken hold of us all here.
One element I’m very pleased with is the “Coffee Bar” area, right in the middle of all the downstairs classrooms. The design of the structure is built around our recognition of the value of community-building as a key building block in discipleship. The hallways, the stairwell landings, the entry points… these are all larger than minimum code requirements and conducive to gathering.
The Campbell Discipleship Center is beautiful, yes, but it’s very much a practical design that facilitates community. Some of the key attributes, for me, are:
- Natural Gathering Points
I really love the fact that it doesn’t have any of the “Don’t touch this it’s too nice” feel that many church projects often come with. It fits the personality of our congregation and the thrust of our witness.
This last picture is of the new north entrance, being carved out as we speak. One more interface with our community from a church campus that is improving constantly. I pray that the way we live out our discipleship will also continue to move forward; bright, airy, inviting, accessible, community-friendly – telling the truth about JESUS.