10Q10Q -- faith, life, rethinking church, following Jesus...stuff

Come join in the discussion of faith at the Koinonia Page where scripture and life intersect in conversation and exploration. Visit on Facebook, Twitter, and Dave's Web Page too! I'd welcome your company at Palmyra First United Methodist Church, where I hang out, too, come and see!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Community and New Orleans

     Two hours down the road in Jackson, MS “find-a-church” (www.umc.org) helped me locate a congregation for worship.  I arrived early thinking…bathroom break and reflection.  I was spotted and whisked into a Sunday School class with reluctant cooperation.  That began community.  Their study of Bishop Schnase’s “Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations” got us talking about God at work in our lives.
     I was quiet until someone asked where I was from, which led to “what do you do” and “what brought you here” which morphed into a conversation of what the church is called to be.  A good conversation that made me glad I came.  God opened doors beyond my reluctance and it was good.  (For the record God often does God’s best work by pushing my comfort zone!)
    Church attendance was  much smaller than advertized on the web stats.  The young-adult organist did a good job as the  congregation seemed to fly through the traditional liturgy with both heart and speed.  A remarkably good Men’s choir and well crafted sermon joined the congregation’s  search for real church to mine.  All sealed with a gift mug filled with fair-trade coffee and church info.
    A few more hours and voila, I’m in New Orleans.  A first for me.

New Orleans
     I settled into my accommodations and hopped the Canal St. Trolley for the River Walk, French Quarter and Bourbon Street.  It certainly is a colorful blend of culture, color, architecture and excess.
   The best music was on the street, not in the clubs and also not on Bourbon street.  The carnival reputation was accurate and beyond the experience of saying I’d been there I wasn’t drawn in.  I marveled at the copious consumption of alcohol, the blatant strip clubs along the corridor and more trinkets, baubles and t-shirts than the free world could consume.
    The trolley car, the Mississippi and the 10 year old New Orleans Jazz drummer beating mature rhythms to her music family’s ensemble were worth the adventure.  The India House Hostel on Lopez St. is an experiential oasis of culture, youth and rest, that is home for the night.
    New Orleans showed me what God given hunger for community might look like if it goes wrong.  The morning Sunday School Class demonstrated a hunger to feed that hunger well.

    Monday I’ll tour the 9th Ward by car and head down the coast toward Corpus Christi.  Next stop unknown.  Exciting things for certain.  A little like journeying with Jesus.
    What exciting and uncertain things are your experiencing for holy purposes?

1 comment:

  1. Really starting to make me jealous. What an experience. What a gift. Anxious to hear more. Is there a book in the works ...
    Continued safe travels.