Before I'd realized this, I'd been doing Google searches to get a sense of what my options were in my area (translation: which denominations I haven't already attended have worship services in my area). And I found a bunch of churches that don't seem to have any denominational affiliation, and I've come to understand better why people react the way they do when I say that the church I grew up in was "non-denominational" (though apparently the current website says "interdenominational"). To me, the term has always meant simply that I don't have a denominational affiliation (which is still true, though I'll usually say "low-church Protestant" when pressed to describe myself, since that's a more accurate descriptor of the parts that are important to me), but now I have a better sense of what people are likely thinking of when they hear "non-denominational."
I was still thinking, "Why am I doing this?" I mean, I'm checking out churches I'm fairly certain going in I won't want to make my church home (or even a second church home -- since I already have a church home at CWM). Admittedly, some of it's just a sort of anthropologocal curiosity as to how other people do church.
Then I was doing some blogrolling and read a post about Annual Conference [the author is in Missouri; ours -- yes, CWM is "my" church, so more and more I think of United Methodism as "ours" ... sidebar: is CWM not listed because we're a "mission" of the Annual Conference, or is it just really outdated? -- is next week] and it occurred to me that one thing about visiting other churches is to explore why these churches are thriving, what it is their parishioners love about making their church home there. It's easy for us to say that more conservative churches are growing because people want certainty, and that explanation is actually one I'm more comfortable with now than I used to be, but I still think that can't be the whole answer.
I was feeling frustrated that all the churches I found that didn't have a denominational affiliation looked theologically conservative. Where are the radical congregations like Cambridge Welcoming? [And yes, I know CWM is very much a part of a denomination.] Before Rest and Bread tonight, Jeff mentioned Common Cathedral and Outdoor Church. Those are really places I should check out, to look at really non-traditional ways of doing church, really embodying the radical hospitality that Jesus lived out.
I was looking at Highrock's website (I think they're friends with SCBC) and hey, sermon podcasts.
Title Prayer Month: The 7 S's of the Lord's Prayer
Speaker Gary Parrett
"to avoid the temptation to pray to impress other people"
Whereas I've recently been thinking along the opposite lines -- about how it's an act of great humility to say to a community, "This is how I am broken; this is where I need God."
He did acknowledge that prayer in community, like in church that morning, can be a beautiful thing.
"don't keep on babbling as the pagans do"
I really rebelled against this idea as soon as I heard it 'cause, hi, I talk through stuff with God when I pray. "Simplicity" is really not the point.
"the temptation now is to impress God"
"The Father already knows what you need"
"Let your yes be yes and your no be no" (Sermon on the Mount)
"One day each of us will have to give account of every careless word we've said" Matt. 12:46
Ecc 5:1-2 "When you come into the house of God, don't offer the sacrifice of fools ... don't be quick with your mouth, don't be hasty with your heart"
* [a spirit of] Submission
"Instead of trying to maniplate God [...] pray in submission"
BUT WHAT ABOUT ABRAHAM NEGOTIATING WITH GOD?
"You don't want God to do your will" (because God knows better)
"I want to control the universe, or at least I want to control my universe."
"prayer is discerning God's Will and submitting to it"
"I try to listen more, speak less" -- Okay, I will concede that I'm no good at listening when praying and I know I should work on that.
Matt 6:9 - "This then is how you should pray..."
"God is not particularly impressed with creativity"
what matters is that you pray sincerely, not whether you made the prayer up yourself
when words seem inadequate... it is so liberating to know you don't have to come up with words yourself
"Our [Father...] us..."
in solidarity even with our debtors
"God never lets us think of love of God without thinking of love of neighbor"
He talked about expanding his "our" beyond just his wife and kids -- his Highrock family, the suffering church, 2 billion Christians ... I thought, "AND THE WHOLE WORLD"
* [a spirit of] Surrender
"I surrender the throne of the universe; I surrender the center of the universe. [...] It isn't until halfway through the prayer that we're invited to think about our own needs."
Aquinas: we ask not only for the things we should rightly desire, but the order in which we should desire them
He said that someone once said: To pray "Thy kingdom come" with integrity, I have to pray "my kingdom go."
about how all that we have comes from God ("give us this day our daily bread," etc.)