Step 5. Will cease all attempts to apply teaching and rebuke to anyone but ourselves.
My son, Chandler goes to a very cool church. The pastor has tattoos and brown disks the size of poker chips implanted in his earlobes, and he quotes from Oswald Chambers and C. S. Lewis — oh yes — and he plays a mean electric guitar in the worship band. His wife has bleached hair shaved ultra short on the sides, and not sure what it’s doing on top. The church meets in what was once a civic center auditorium with a large stage, concrete floor and theater seats. The concrete floor was a good thing since I spilled most of Marti’s hot tea on it and no one seemed to care. That’s why they let you carry your free coffee and cookies into the service. The bulletin was announcing a new women’s group called “Chicks,” (to go along with the men’s group, “Dudes”). On the website, the associate pastor is on a Harley.
Marti and I are stoked. We would never say it, but the distant thought does occur that perhaps we sent Chandler to Wyoming to go to this church. Though it’s not required, Chandler goes to church regularly, because, as he says, “It’s the only time in the week I get to be around happy people.” Church is his “happy time.” The pastor (called “Vision Pastor” in the bulletin) calls out a question to the congregation and Chandler elbows me to answer, because he’s proud of the fact that I probably know it. I try, but it’s a young girl in front of us who has the answer he is really looking for.
After the service we meet Josh, the man responsible for taking Chandler there every week. He is a large round man with long red hair and a beard, and a face like a gnome. He is the campus chaplain at the school/treatment center where Chandler lives, and he takes a van load of kids to church every week. He also takes them once in a while to a spiritual event like a Christian rock concert where Chandler got excited about a rock group he heard there and now follows. (I now take back every negative word I’ve ever said about Christian music.)
As we talk with Josh after the service, he reveals to me, somewhat apologetically — somewhat reverently — that one of his most cherished childhood memories is of his dad reading him my novel, Saint Ben. That was when he was in the third grade. He said they’ve read it through together a number of times since. This is the man who now is in a position to speak into my son’s life in significant ways. And the circle it goes round and round.
And what was the sermon all about? Oh dear, I’m not sure I paid that kind of attention, since I was working so hard trying to remember everything I wanted to tell you about. Next time we visit, I promise myself I’ll pay closer attention to what God might be actually saying to me here.
From the church’s website: We have determined that our lives will not be lived passively, but instead we will actively embrace the adventure of life with the anticipation of encountering God in tangible ways. Christianity was never intended to be a religion focused on what it opposes, but instead God’s intention was to gather a people who would illuminate the things that are most important to Him. At Whitewater Christian Church we see our focus in four words: Adventure (a life chasing after God), Community (dedication to helping one another), Service (commitment to making our community a better place), Worship (encounters with God).