going to carolina in my mind

since october of last year, tuesday nights have been the best part of my week. that is the night we hold our "servantship" meetings for the people who attempt to make decisions about how to organize the sunday group. out of everything that i will miss about columbus, the tuesday night meetings are going to be hardest to leave. lewis used to write about the amazing fulfillment of being in a small group of people with whom you are attempting to accomplish something bigger than yourselves. he described the freedom in losing yourself when your energies are concentrated toward the task. or more accurately, toward the others with whom you are sharing the task. it seems silly to make the comparison, but i remember feeling a sweatier, more testosterone-laden version of this on the football field. guys who i wouldn't associate with normally suddenly became good friends when we strapped on our helmets and shoulder pads and grimly ran out onto the grass under the stadium lights. there are obviously no "touchdowns" in servantship. but the analogy serves: when we get together on tuesdays--whether it is to plan meals for the meeting or debate doctrine--there is an energy that, for me, exists in few other places. i long for someone, like brant did in his inaugural meeting last night, to plop down a challenging question and then to have us sift through our intellects, our memories, our emotions, our experiences, to hack through that question and attempt an answer (or at least a more descriptive question). it is not simply the problem solving or the analysis or the listening or advice giving; it is the comradery of doing those things together. and that ultimately is something more powerful, more church-like, than doing greater things alone. i think it is telling that even paul worked with a team--even if he was seen as the "last apostle"--that he had barnabas and mark and timothy and unknown others sharing his joys and sorrows in a real partnership. conceivably, God allowed him to retain his "thorn in the flesh" for the very reason that it made him terribly dependent on God and, therefore, dependent on other servants of God. it is that mutual dependency that i have experienced so rarely inside or outside of churches that i will miss the most. if it were just me and b making decisions for the group and then passing them out, the joy of experiencing this dependency would never have happened. and then it wouldn't be so hard to leave; it would be freeing, like dropping a heavy burden onto some other poor soul's shoulders. instead, it is like playing in your last home football game, your senior year, knowing that your back-up will replace you next season, that the team will find niches for all of its players, that the game will continue to be played whether you are there or not. it's the best and worst way to leave.


Blogger Scott Sloan said...

Erik, You and B will be missed as the church moves forward. Both of you gave a lot to us, and showed us how to become Acts 2:42-47. For those of us that are joining Jeff's church, we can take that example of hospitality, and serventhood with us as we journey with Jeff.

I miss the Tuesday Night meetings as well, yet life goes on.

5/26/2004 3:05 PM  
Blogger brad said...

Rock on! I love the image of you in community like this, man. Thanks for sharing!

I was at the Notre Dame website today looking at some stuff and saw they have a Social Concern Center for studnets to put feet to their studies through. Is that something you will be looking into at all out there? Pretty cool stuff. I called and talked with a guy named Kelly Roberts who said that the center is trying to serve as a bridge between the Academic Department and the Student Life Department of the University. I dunno, but it sounded right up your alley.

Have you guys looked into any churches in the area?

5/26/2004 3:06 PM  
Blogger e said...

brad, i think the answers to your questions are, yes i have talked to that office, yes i plan on getting involved in their things, yes the philosophy dept is also very committed to doing "outreach" projects--esp. to gary, indiana and chicago, and yes we're looking into a little church through a friend of mine here who has connections to small urban churches in south bend.

but i still couldn't put a finger on what all that means :-)

5/27/2004 10:03 AM  

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