Sunday, November 11, 2007


My blogging has not been comprehensive lately. I know this because many of you have been emailing me with "How are you? Tell me about..." kinds of questions. It occurred to me that others may be wondering the same things. Hence,

Grace in the City Frequently Asked Questions

1. How are things going with the church?
I've been hesitant to write about City Fellowship Church. I feel slightly protective of it, like it's a fragile newborn. But, friends, the church is going very well. God is bringing together a community of about 15 people each Sunday evening. We're alternating between times of worship and small group gatherings. And while we continue to work very hard to build this church, I feel awestruck as I look around the room on Sunday evenings. It is clear to me that God is at work, that this group will be built by Him and not our efforts alone. That knowledge is a gift to two type-A people such as Steve and me. And it's something we have to gently remind each other daily.

2. What's the church's worship style?
One of the core values of the church is "Experiencing Worship: Our worship is an experience of dialogue with the living God perceived through vibrant and creative liturgy, preaching to the mind and heart, and sacramental communion with God through Jesus Christ." Just exactly how that hits the ground is something that we are developing in community with the others in our group. Currently, our worship is a liturgy of three movements: 1. Orientation (to worship and to God) 2. Disorientation (expressing how sin disrupts our focus on God) and 3. Re-orientation (assurance of God's faithfulness and grace). The elements of these movements shift weekly, but in general, we sing a combination of hymns and praise songs, have a strong focus on scripture, and include as many people as possible in the various roles of the service. It's been a blessing to me, and I 'm excited to see how it evolves over the next year. There is much room for creativity within those three movements.

3. But how do you fit everyone in your apartment?
Let me show you why we chose this apartment over the others at which we looked:

When it's time for worship, we can move the couch against the wall, pull out every possible seating surface that we can find, and worship in the round. That works for now, but if more people join us, we'll have to head to Ikea for some folding chairs and modify that arrangement. We've got room for 25-30 all in. The table where Steve was sitting is where we always set out food. You saw the computer, too, so now you can picture me whilst I'm blogging.

3b. Wow, that's some stark white apartment. Why are the walls of your apartment so barren?
Because most of the walls are made of concrete, and I can't figure out how to hang things on them without a jackhammer. (Although the concrete wall is another reason why we chose this apt; it provides excellent soundproofing for worship).

4. What does your day to day schedule look like?
I get up at 5:30, which is Jonathan's favorite time to wake up. Chloe arises around 6:00, and we get ready for school. The kids ride with me to school. I buy a cup of coffee from a woman named Sarah at the cafe near school. Sarah is sweet and beautiful and knows how I take my coffee. She always asks after the kids. The kiddos hang out in my office for the 30 minutes or so before school starts, and then I send them on their way. Steve picks up the kids when school gets out, and I work for a couple more hours. I get home between 5 and 6, and then we usually have a church-type activity in the evening. We try to host many of them in our apartment, so as to cut back on babysitting.

5. Do you cook for all those people that come to your apartment?
Sometimes, sometimes not. I try to keep from being too uptight about it, but I'm not always successful.

6. What's the funniest thing your kids have said recently?
This one is from Chloe just this morning, while listening to "I Will Survive," by Gloria Gayner and twirling around the room: "I wonder how I got to be so good at disco dancing, when I've never taken a single lesson?"

Grace in the City Not so Frequently Asked Questions
(ie: Never Asked, but I Still Want to Tell You)

1. What did you do last night?
Steve and I and the kids went to a local restaurant, where Jonathan was regaling us with knock knock jokes like this:
"Knock Knock."
"Who's there."
"Hawaii, who?"
"Hawaii Beach! Get it? BEACH?"
To which Chloe would inevitably reply with a deadpan "No."

The atmosphere around our table suddenly grew brighter, and Steve looked up to see if a lamp had magically appeared. But no, it was, in fact, only the ignited bread basket paper on our table. The corner of the paper had dipped into the little votive candle and started on fire. The waiter quickly appeared and tried to turn the basket over and smother the fire. That wasn't quick enough for me, so I took my glass of water and doused the thing. Voila: Soggy Toast, house special.

2. Have you recently read any books which give good insight into the postmodern view of religion and spirituality?
As a matter of fact, I have. Life of Pi, by Yann Martel, and Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert are both well written and entertaining reads that would spark great conversation about truth and God.

3. Is this the longest Grace in the City blog post ever?
Probably. Have a beautiful Sunday!


Lorraine said...

Holy cats! That is a huge apartment. And you're in Manhattan??? Wow.

Thanks for the update. I absolutely adore the "Orientation", "Disorientation", "Reorientation" concept.

Anne Marie said...

masonry bit for your drill, girl.
that's all you need.
for the walls that is.....

disco dancing line slayed me......
love, max's mom