Defining “Church” Can Be a Pretty Messy Thing:      A Video Montage

[Note: This post is a bit different than previous ones – being loaded with a host of videos to view. Worth it, I believe.  Highly worth it.  But, it does have me imagining you wanting a nice cup of tea or coffee or soda – as you sit and enjoy… and ponder.]

I’ve been sending daily video links to my brother – as he’s about a rotation at work in Kuwait.  Four weeks over there, four weeks here.  I am hoping that the videos give him a sense of distraction [and humor] at the end of long days away—cutting through the space and time between us.  (And then, there are the ways that I hope some humor helps to counter the grief we are experiencing in the wake of losing our other brother, Bob, a few weeks ago.)

Videos this week had a way of centering, at first,
on worship “bloopers” or “fails”—as, e.g.:

[Yes, when all else fails, bridge the awkward moment with a “Praise God” or two!]

Further searchings had me googling for preaching “bloopers” and “fails.”  They’re out there, to be sure.  But in the mix are some which I’d hope were “fails” but have a real edge of being real… and being serious.   Here, I want to be careful.  I want to be tolerant.  I know and want to affirm that it’s different folks for different folks.  I must admit, though, that the more I engaged these videos, the more they made their way from amusing to shocking to deeply disturbing:

Surely, I hope, this last one was one church’s humorous way of asking members to silence their phones–via a video about something that never happened.  But, then, after the above, I do not know what to think….

[Here, as an aside: I’ll admit with some embarrassment and shame: the time or two I came down on my own kids, distracted (and distracting… at least to me) in worship.  Not real happy about those memories.  Not happy at all.  I pray that they’ve overcome those memories—forgiving me… and not holding them against the Faith!]

From these worship and preacher “fails” (sent earlier in the week), links migrated (here, in the last day) to some Steve Hartman human-interest stories from CBS news.  The first one I saw this last week.  It had me recalling the second one (from a couple of years ago).  I’ve always loved Steve Hartman’s stories.  I wish they could build a whole hour (at least once a week) on his kind of “news”:

Putting them together here–juxtapositioned,
I can’t help but hear a message or two:
that we need not confuse the “Church”
with particular expressions called “church,” and
that “Church” can and does breaks out beyond “churches” and congregations.

Yes, defining Church
(the ongoing “body of Christ” in this world)
can be a pretty messy pursuit, an imprecise science–
what, when there are so many imperfect expressions
that vie for the title…
and, then, there are the ways that the cosmic Christ
breaks out in most refreshing ways!

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