“It’s time to change our posture. I’m not suggesting an extreme alternative of falsely positive, overly peppy Church culture that says nothing is wrong. Jesus, Paul, David and every writer of scripture has shown us that this is not Biblical.”
I have a confession to make: I go to church. Gasp! How could you, they say? A variety of reasons come to mind. I get it. Being someone who was raised in a religious institution that came with numerous amounts of “baggage” which brought about unhealthy consequences, I get that church really is the last place a good amount of people want to be a part of as the statistics show. Being exclusive, dogmatic, legalistic and tribalistic are the driving forces in bringing about the “nones and dones”.
Seesh, what a mess! How could anybody be part of that type of structure they call church? Well, there is always a different way of doing things. That being said, I would like to list the reasons *why* I am grateful to be part of The Oceanside Sanctuary. And no, I’m not claiming that we do everything right or that we are the one to replicate. It’s a process and journey and we are just enjoying the ride. It’s my own subjective reasoning but a reasoning to consider nonetheless.
I think these five qualities that I’m about to list are desperately needed within our current culture climate. We like to call our style “Vintage Modern”. That is profound in my opinion because it shows that we can respect the old ways but at the same time, not be afraid of the new. Also, this is likely not a shared view with everybody that goes to The Oceanside Sanctuary and guess what? It’s all good!
1. Inclusion: Everybody (Democrats, Republicans, Atheists, Agnostics, LGBTQ, Black, White, etc.) is welcome and accepted here. Seriously, no joke. If we cannot have unity within diversity, then we are in for some trouble. We have to let the Spirit push us forward.
2. No statement of beliefs: This does not mean we don’t all have some. We just don’t burn each other at the stake when we disagree. We are a people of faith not certainty. It’s more about *showing* people what we do not what we believe.
3. Christ-centered discipleship: This is what we all have in common. We are fascinated with the life and teachings of Jesus and are seeking new ways to follow him within our community. His teaching can be summed up in this: LOVE ONE ANOTHER. This doesn’t mean we don’t welcome people who don’t “follow” Jesus’ teaching. On our main web page it states:
“Whether you are looking for a place to worship, a community of faith, or just an opportunity to serve others in need, you are welcome here.”
4. Eucharist/Communion-centered worship: Breaking the bread and drinking the wine is the invitation to step into the Grace of Christ. ALL are invited to the table no matter who and where we are. This is what the Gospel is all about. It’s a freaken amazing feast for all. Let’s party baby!
5. Service/Social Justice Outreach: Our bread and butter is helping feed the homeless in our community of Oceanside. We are always finding new ways and avenues to better serve this community to bring about healing and liberation. We are moving towards new social justice outreach programs to be able to bring the same goals of wholeness to our community as well. Exciting times.
In the end, a sanctuary is a place where one is protected from outside harm. Through the biblical narrative, this protection was always meant for the outcast and marginalized. Unfortunately, we see it being used more as country club where only the privileged few are allowed to join.
Jesus came to do away with all that. His sanctuary is made up of ALL people. What these people do matter. What we are to do is serve the least of these. We do this not to please some wrathful deity in the sky, but to join in the Divine Dance of God who is love. This is what church should be all about. This is what brings healthy communities.
Well there it is. It is quite simple, really. What it is all about is living in a community that is truly trying to bring about a “fully-alive” world. Shalom is the vision and reality we are all trying to bring about…
“For Jesus, such teachings as forgiveness, healing, and justice work are the only real evidence of a new and shared life. If we do not see this happening in churches and spiritual communities (but merely the conducting of worship services or meditation sits), religion is “all in the head” and largely an illusion. Peacemaking, forgiveness, and reconciliation are not some kind of ticket to heaven later. They are the price of peoplehood—the signature of heaven—now.”