So Andrew’s posts really got some articulation-juices flowing in me, and I thought I’d write a little about something that I don’t think I have yet, directly, in this blog: I am an Ordinary Somebody in a house church.
I have a hard time owning up to this sometimes outside of my local community, because I have an uneasy relationship with the ‘house church movement’ in North America. We (I’ll take some ownership and say ‘we’) have a lot of fundamentalists who insist ours is the only legitimate way to ‘do’ church, and we have a lot of hurt people who are de-toxing from religion. Sometimes things can get insular, and other times things can devolve into their own arcane language just as specialized and ‘insider’ as any other tradition or denomination. Because I love the entire Church (and beyond that, the entire humanity and creation-kosmos) I tend to kind of lay low with my house church affiliation in my public writing and sharing.
Nonetheless, there is a time to speak about it. Because most people involved in house churching are wonderful people, and I love them. And because I’ve spent about a decade sharing life with people whom–whether I like them or not–I’d take a bullet for. And that, my friends, is some powerful (albeit largely involuntary) spiritual formation. And this way of conceiving the community of faith is worth articulating because the decentralized, clergy-free house church lens is such a minority perspective, even in the emerging church conversation, and it easily gets drowned out in what I call The Clerical Assumption: the assumption that if the Church is to really change, and if we are really going to experience fullness of life in the Spirit, it’s going to come through professionally-trained ministerial leadership. I’d like to say that this isn’t necessarily the main agent of change, and may not even often be the vehicle of change. I say this respectfully, not as a fighting fundie, but as someone who sees a multi-layered enigma before us and would love to engage in some conversation.
There is much I can write about this, and it’s my blog so I suppose I shall over the next days/weeks/months/aeons. But for now I just wanted to sit on my stool and say “Hi, my name is Mike Morrell…and I’m a house-churcher.”