Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Rooting for the Home Team

Warning: whining ahead.

This Sunday, after kissing the nephew goodbye (which is sad enough in its own right), I went to church. Last week after worship, the congregation met informally to talk with the staff about the idea of change, continuing to bang the drum that we can't "do church" the way we've always "done church" and expect to survive -- people today aren't joiners, they aren't drawn to institutions, they connect virtually before they connect in real time. Scary words, though I can certainly acknowledge that they are true.

This week marked the end of Vacation Bible School and the service was being run by The Director of Discipleship Ministries (I think that's his title anyway) who is young and progressive and sometimes more out there than I'm comfortable with just yet. The week had clearly been successful with lots of kids learning lots of lessons, and the structure of the service was extremely unstructured to sort of show what the kids had experienced, so we're talking projection screens, freestanding speakers with equalizers, slide shows, and iMac films. Even though this was a special day for a special occasion, it was, I think, a glimpse of the future for our church and it was painful. I needed quiet, and time to pray, and time to ask for forgiveness. I felt like I was visiting in a place I've been to almost weekly for 10 years. It wasn't bad, it was just foreign.

Later that day, in an effort to feel better, I went to watch the Reds play the Nationals in the new DC ballpark (as an aside, Ben's Chili Bowl is worth the trip to DC all on its own). Growing up, the Reds were the home team. We'd make the two plus hour trip to Cincinnati to watch them play, we'd watch them on TV fairly regularly, we knew the players' names. These days, let's be honest, the Reds are a hard team to root for from a distance. I didn't exactly expect Dave Concepcion to come to the plate, but I thought I'd still feel some sense of familiarity. Zippy. In fact, I kept forgetting who I was rooting for as the Nationals are the team of my home.

I keep telling myself I'm okay with change, that it's a good thing in the long run. I believe that in so many ways. I don't want everything to stay the same -- how boring. I'm just wishing it weren't everything at once -- work is crazy, home is crazy, church is crazy, even friendships are crazy as the first of the Dinner Club babies is due this winter. I don't have any answer when people ask "What's new?", so maybe it's just the threat of change that is getting me.

Maybe I just need to root for the Red Sox.

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