Thursday, June 5, 2008

Second Visit to a Friends Meeting

Yesterday, I went to my second Quaker Friends Meeting. I really had wanted to go back. But, for various reasons, hadn't been able to make it the last two weeks. After the first meeting, I was unsure about how I felt about it. So, I knew I had to give it another try.
The meeting was similar to the first I attended. It was very enjoyable in some ways, uncomfortable in another. It's about a 180 degree turn from worship at the Vineyard which is high energy, constantly moving and keeps you entertained. What I realized about worship at the Vineyard is that there is almost absolutely no time for reflection- for really being alone (or being alone with God). I just finished reading Henri Nouwen's "Reaching Out" where he talks about how we hate to really be alone and the lengths we'll go to to avoid that. At the Vineyard, from the moment you walk in, you're bombarded with PowerPoint ads for upcoming events, then the worship music starts, rock and roll music for 20 minutes, then announcements, then the message. Everything is programmed, every moment is filled. Even during the communion, there's no silence. Because I'm becoming skilled at being mindful, I do find time in there to get still within myself. But, I wonder how many people really do.

OTOH, the Quaker service I've attended seems to be about 60% silence. I'm not sure that balance is good for me either. I took my Bible and decided to do a little reading to reflect on. And, the Pastor's remarks were very good again and really food for thought. So, I reflected on those, after he spoke.

My wife is very happy with the Vineyard and doesn't want to even consider leaving. So, I should attend there, if I can, for her sake. That doesn't mean I can't go somewhere else, too. The Quaker meeting is late enough I can attend both places. It doesn't mean that if I just can't take it anymore, I can't leave the Vineyard for my own well-being. But, attending there is a ministry to her.

So, as I'm pondering all of this and leaving the service yesterday, the Pastor grabs me in the hallway. (I'm not hard to spot. It's a very, very small service and I'm the only black person I've seen there). He says he's been reading my blog and that he's been meaning to comment. I think "cool". Someone actually took the time to read my blog. But, then he says it'd be easier to just talk in person and wants to know if I can meet with him. Now I've got mixed emotions. I feel a little like the kid who's been asked to stay after class (I'm an oldest child- we tend to be that way). So, we've scheduled an appointment for this week.

As I was reflecting on the whole thing coming home, I realized that I really doubt that even if I left the Vineyard anyone (let alone the Senior Pastor) would take the time to meet with me and ask why. Not that Dave's not a great guy or the people at the Vineyard aren't great people. It's just the dynamics of a mega-church. I understand that. Of course, I have no idea what Pastor Dan wants to say to me. But, the fact that he would take the time to meet individually with me, a stranger who has visited the church only twice, the fact that he would take the time to read my blog, that's impressive.

I'll keep you posted (pardon the pun).


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