The on-going saga of "Should I Stay Or Should I Go?" continues. Some of my friends have asked for an update. So, I'll post it here.
I have been attending both the Vineyard and Nexus (United Church of Christ- God Is Still Speaking) for the last couple of months. I would attend the 8:30 service at the Vineyard (that's 8:30 AM), drop off the wife and kids and boogie on over to Nexus for their 10:30 service (which is like the middle of the afternoon for me). The more I heard about Nexus, the more I was attracted to it. I also joined a small group with some people from Nexus and found the conversation there to be about 1,000 times more stimulating than any conversation I had had in a small group prior to that.
Nexus' stated mission is to be "open and inclusive". Over the last several weeks, the pastor has been exploring what that means with a series of "Revolutionary _______ (fill in the blank)" talks. The talks are based on the Phoenix Affirmations, which I plan to read and review (as soon as I can find the time). Personally, I'm not that thrilled with even the greatest sermon (anymore). Keep 'em short and sweet for me. But, I like that Nexus has taken the time to really identify who they are and what they believe so clearly. Gregg has been very bold in saying things from the pulpit that would make some people run screaming from the building plugging their ears and screaming "Heresy!" (Go Gregg!). And, I really, really (really) love the fact that there is time left at the end of the sermon for the congregation to "talk back". The small group has been discussing (loosely- we get WAY off topic) "The Secret Message of Jesus" (which I will also review one day). So far, everything I have heard from the Phoenix Affirmations has resonated with me. Everything I've read in the Phoenix Affirmations has just seemed to obvious to me that that is the way Christians should be (is it intolerant of me to say that?). If I knew Christians could think this way I wouldn't have had my crisis where I thought I was going to have to give up Christianity.
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to share my views of salvation with the "whole church" (see my previous post from today if you want to see details on that). "Whole church" is just a handful of people. But, it was so nice to be out of the closet, in church. Me, a heretic, invited to speak about salvation? What is really weird, is my remarks didn't even raise an eyebrow. And, Gregg talked about the idea of universal salvation and encouraged people to explore it for themselves. What, am I dreaming here?
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Ty has been attending the small group with me. I didn't ask her to. But, I think she was scared I was being drawn into some sort of cult and wanted to keep an eye on me. She drilled Gregg pretty good on what the UCC is all about one week at group. Ironically, she has "joined" the worship band and has sung with them twice. Yesterday I asked her what she thinks about what she's heard from the Phoenix Affirmations. No big shocks to her. Nothing she disagrees with. So, I guess we're good with the Nexus "doctrine".
The bottom line is we haven't made a life-long commitment to Nexus. I told Ty I would not be attending the Vineyard during the month of February (which is another week). After that, we'll see...