The Villager Voice ~ from Alan

You may have seen my friend Molly Baskette’s UCC Daily Devotional last Saturday, “Keep Christianity Weird.”  Her title derives from a portion of her church’s mission statement, “To grow in intimacy as the weird and wonderful body of Christ.”  (Molly is Senior Minister at First Congregational UCC in Berkeley, CA, so there may be a certain amount of redundancy at work here...).  I get what she means though.  The earliest church was, in a way, like the Isle of Misfit Toys.  Jesus’ appeal, as we have seen time and time again, was not to the respectable church (actually, temple) elders and leaders of his day, but rather to the people who lived on the margins of society.  They would likely have fit right in to First Church Berkeley.

Don Remick, the Transitional Interim Conference Minister (that’s the kind of title you get when your Conference is about to be subsumed into the Southern New England Conference) of the UCC’s Massachusetts Conference has lately been leading workshops focused on Beth Ann Estock’s and Paul Nixon’s Weird Church:  Welcome to the Twenty-First Century.  The book basically reminds the reader that doing all the things we used to do, but just doing them bigger and better, is a recipe for extinction.  It utilizes something called Spiral Dynamics to describe a new way of doing church - and no, I don’t know what that means.  But there’s that word again:  weird.  (Does it mean anything that both Molly and Don once served as Associate Minster at Second Congregational UCC in Beverly MA?  Are all former Second Church clergy weird?)

The word succeeds in capturing attention.  But to me, it’s like the high school freshman who tries too hard to stand out, the one who wears purple socks to class every day.  There are a lot of other words to describe the emerging church:  in our best days we are prophetic, transformative, visionary, engaged, faithful, relevant, and you can probably add a few yourself.  But the fact remains, if you did read Molly’s devotion last week, it is very likely you remember it, if only because of the title.

Weird.

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