Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Big Tickle

Hubby and I arrived in Memphis, TN today for Emergence Christianity, a Discussion with Phyllis Tickle and friends. This event has been nicknamed by some as The Big Tickle.

I'm really enjoying my time in Memphis so far and really looking forward to Friday and Saturday, the days that this Big Tickle is suppose to take place at the Episcopal Cathedral here in Memphis. Since I am a bit older than most of the folks who have embraced Emergent and Emergence Christianity, I am here to learn. To learn from not my elders but from the mouths of babes.

I've read a bit on the topic, enjoying every word of Phyllis' book The Great Emergence. I am disillusioned with the corporate nature of the church, especially denominations. I worked for the first 8 years of my ministry out of seminary at the national offices of my denomination, the PCUSA. I've done a lot of pulpit supply and I helped a church close its doors after 55 years of ministry. My current ministry is a part time contract position with a small church and I also work as a hospice chaplain per Diem. I have come to the conclusion that I will probably never be what most people consider a 'successful' pastor in that I do not see myself as ever being called to a full time pastoral call and installed with a cushy benefits package, and staff. The church hasn't fit that model for a long time, although that is the model of Church that was sold to me in seminary.

What Phyllis Tickle has given me is hope, hope in the midst of what I see as dying structures and institutions. Hope that the faith I hold to does not need structures and institutions to be authentic and real. Hope that there is more to church that maintaining a program or a building. That ministry comes from a group of people and reflects the needs of that community. I look forward to insights this week of how to help folks catch that vision for the church and what God may have in store for me in the future.

P.S. Since I love to laugh, I am truly looking forward to being Tickled and finding Holy Humor in the happenings this week.

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