frenchpress and i have been going
to a "seekers class" at Woodmont Hills for a
little while now, and it's always difficult
(or perhaps i just overcomplicate it) for me
to explain what the class is and what it is to
me in particular. i've begun and erased a few
entries on it already, but here goes . . .
the term "seekers class" is to me a bit of a
misnomer, since -
a) it's a "class" but not really. there's no
standard teaching going on, even though Terry
moderates and leads the group. primarily, we
spend the time listening to one another.
b) the term "seekers" is usually associated
with a "seekers service" - an evangelical,
altar call-centered sort of traditional church
service, which this group certainly isn't.
it's "church" to me, and i still use the
phrase "going to church" in reference to it,
but it doesn't define church to me. rather,
it represents one facet of my church community,
along with Scott Owings' meditation group, or
the frenchpress/pendulous/myself trinity ;-)
(we still haven't figured out which of us is
supposed to be the father and son, and mark
keeps running in wearing a sheet saying "Woo!
i'm the holy ghost!")
everyone in the group has been broken by life
(as all of us are, eventually) to some degree.
we are questioning, crippled, dying, addicted,
rehabilitating, 12-stepping, uncertain, afraid,
healing, and kind of desperate.
it's refreshing, in large part because it's raw.
most of us have been wounded or abused by religion,
by religious people, coming out of cultures of
judgment and the despair that only grows from
legalism, and there's a great sensitivity and
empathy towards those experiences that we share.
most of the time, the class proceeds like this:
Terry reads a scripture, or a passage from a book,
and then we go around the table and respond. we
learn to listen, to really listen, to one another,
and in that, we learn to hear the voice of God.
and that concept - hearing the voice of God in
one another - is really important to me, because
i feel as though we've been brought up to only
listen for His voice in the words of "professional"
ministers, which eventually brings about an
unhealthy distancing between parishioner and pastor,
and causes an unfortunate dependence on these often
godly people for answers, disempowering us as the
hands and voice of God in one anothers' lives.
and of course, sometimes we run down tangents of
opinion and convictions, and we find out that we
certainly don't agree on everything. but most of
the time, it's just about the parts of us that are
less certain, the areas in which we question and
wonder and need one anothers' experiences and words.
connecting underbelly to underbelly,
weakness to weakness,
jaggedness to jaggedness,
and finding out that we fit.