ok, cheating due to time constraints: I posted this on the Emerging Women blog:
Emerging Women: June 2006
I have become a Creekbank Christian.
It was an innocent day, sunny, not too warm, grass green and soft with the fresh, bright smell of late Spring. We were standing on the bank of a shallow creek that winds along a limestone ridge through miles and miles of central Pennsylvania pastures and cornfields.
Two people who attend the same congregation we have been had just been baptized. Some of the older teens were playing frisbee back where we'd parked our cars. The newly baptized (one was a surprise addition) wrapped themselves in towels while the rest of us stood around enjoying the moment, not quite ready to pile back into our cars, back into our regular routines of Sunday afternoon dinner and chores.
We were (and largely remain) a group of strangers. Some of us (ok, just us) have adult children, several are young single adults, and there were two families with young children. We chatted amiably, aimlessly, and I realized: We were, for the moment, the church. We were a group of people gathered together for the common purpose of living out our shared committment to the Christian God.
Everyone in the group was relaxed because no one had presumed authority for the spiritual well-being of the group. No one was playing the watchdog, sniffing out the least sign of less-than-full commitment. No one was on guard for another's transgressions. We were, during those 20 perfect minutes, honoring each other's best efforts at discipleship, recognizing that we came from a wide variety of backgrounds and carry a broad spectrum of sometimes conflicting theology. Our togetherness defined our community.
After a while someone suggested an outing for later in the summer. Someone else suggested another idea and then, another. Jody and I arranged to meet later in the day for a hike. We missed Sunday church stuff for the next two weeks, but when we met there this morning, our fellow attendees announced dates and times for get-togethers based on the conversation from two weeks earlier.
Creekbank Christianity. I'm sold on it.