Monday, May 12, 2014

This Old House.

I love this old, creaking parsonage.  Every day her bones cry out loudly and without warning. She's settling in for the next hundred I suppose.  I've grown accustomed to her hollers. 

Her floors are hardwood and they were cool before hardwood floors were cool. Sometimes I think about the life they've held: Open houses, Christmas parties, difficult conversations, Sunday School dinners, move-in celebrations, and weddings (over 150!)...if floors could talk!

The tradition of old houses excite me.  It's true:  Some walls could come down. Some repairs are warranted.  Some updating could improve the value. But in the end, old houses are pretty great.  

I like new houses too.  Open concept kitchens, palatial bathrooms, and generous backyards are hard to beat.  It's true: Luxurious amenities aren't needs, but for a family of 6 more than 1 bathroom is...helpful!

In the end, new houses are pretty great too.  New houses account for modern sensibilities and suit the palate of a 2014 homeowner-to-be.   

Both new and old houses have the same basic goal:  Shelter.  Both have their charms.  Both have their advantages and disadvantages.

Might this apply to church?

Like old and new houses, there is more than one way to "do" church.  Both new and old (should!) have the same heartbeat:  Jesus Christ is Lord!  

Yesterday our guest worship leader, Rachel Shultz, told me she is eager to come alongside traditional churches and experience with them newer expressions of worship.  She finds value in both old and new.  I like that.

Traditions shouldn't be cast aside simply because they are old or seemingly outdated.  Boo on those reasons.  At the same time new expressions shouldn't be eschewed simply because "we've never done it that way before."   Boo on those words.  Both new and old expressions of church have their gifts; why not learn from each other?

Both old and new can use renovations from time to time.  Lately I've decided to emphasize 'change' less because I don't think that's what the church needs.  I think what we all need is a holy kind of flexibility.  I think we all need to be malleable to the Holy Spirit.  I hope we are doing that. I hope I am doing that.

This month our theme is "Worship and the Arts" and we're opening ourselves to ways of worship different than our norm.  Thanks Scottsville Baptist for your willingness.  It is a joy to experience God with you in old and new ways.  


  1. I noticed your post on Rainer's book went missing. I was going to say that I've on occasion found his insights and research to be useful. Simple Church, while a simple book itself, has some good things to say and some good reminders. And I would agree with your assessment that of course, we do not always have to agree with every nuance of a person's theology in to learn from them. :)

    1. Thanks Jon. I removed to refine:) and it got left behind! Thanks for your feedback and affirmation. I'm afraid we don't know how to listen to one another anymore. If we disagree even just a little bit, we can't listen. That worries me. (I'll put up the post again soon:))

  2. By the way, this post (This Old House) is very good, too. I find myself in the ancient/future both/and camp.