Do The Church Hop Part II: An Apophatic Explanation
On May 18th, Courtney and I will be leaving Maple City Chapel to join the church formerly known as 808 (now Thrive) which meets upstairs in the Goshen Theater. It has been a long decision in the making; we’ve been tossing it around for nearly two years now, finally deciding in January. Especially because I serve in such a visible role at Maple City, I figured I should offer some sort of explanation to those I haven’t been able to chat with one on one. (You can read part 1 here). For part 2 I thought I'd get apophatic (an Eastern Orthodox theological approach that describes God in negative statements such as, "God is not unloving." It gets more complex than that, but it's an interesting approach). So in ambiguous Orthodox fashion, here are a few reasons we are not leaving.
1) We are not leaving because we are dissatisfied with the music/preaching/color of the chairs. But if we were operating out of an worship style preference we'd be heading toward a high church tradition (Anglican, Catholic, Lutheran, etc.) that works Bob Dylan songs into the liturgy. Also, the chairs would have memory foam padding. If you give me the memory foam, they can be neon pink for all I care.
2) We are not leaving because we are mad at someone. I think conflict is a stupid reason to leave a church (though I'm sure there are exceptions). Sure the disciples fought, but fortunately for them, to walk away from one of their cohorts would have meant they had to physically remove themselves from Jesus' presence. You think your group is unbearable? Jesus put both a Jewish political revolutionary and a turncoat Roman tax collector on the same team and threw some ambitious and hotheaded fisherman brothers in the middle. Jesus was terrible at forming advantageous social clubs, so should we be.
3) We are not leaving because they are fed up at me (you know, since I can sometimes be a pot stirrer). Nope. The people at Maple City Chapel have been loaded with patience for me and my contrarian ways. And even if they were fed up, going back to number 2, Jesus calls us to a life that bleeds redemption, which sometimes means we have to endure blows in the process. It is always too early to stop working through conflict.
4) Because of the Coffee. Actually, the church we will be going to doesn't have coffee on Sunday, which is fine; I have ridiculous standards for what makes coffee enjoyable.