Mike Cope's blog

Monday, August 09, 2004

When I'm on vacation, I get a better picture of church from a visitor's perspective. The Sunday we were at Pensacola Beach, we had two wonderful churches to choose from--both of which we've visited before. So, when it came down to the final decision, what was the biggest factor? One church's assembly was at 9:00; the other was at 10:00. (I, of course, was up before light. But there were two high school and one middle school students on the trip. Their favorite church service is the one that begins later.) It's a great church to visit. One thing different this year is that there was an American flag at the front. One thing I've always appreciated about Churches of Christ is that there is almost never that kind of nationalistic display at the front. Our symbols are about the in-breaking kingdom of God which knows no political boundaries. Countries come and go, but the rule of God will be forever. That wasn't the full experience, though. The church has a genuine sense of community. As visitors, we didn't "get" all of the references, but that's as it should be. They are a family of faith--with their own stories, their own concerns, their own inside jokes. Just to be with them was a blessing.

10 Comments:

  • This makes me laugh. I can remember many a Homecoming/Sing Song Saturday night sitting in the KIVA Inn watching my Mom dial around to see which church had the latest late service! Highland ususally won! That seldom comes up in worship planning meetings, but how true!

    By Blogger SG, at 8/09/2004 09:20:00 AM  

  • Our early service is at 8:00, but our "late" service doesn't start till 10:45 (which is where I usually find myself). Of course, we also have an 11:00 informal service in the gym called the "encounter" service. I think it'd draw an even bigger crowd if they called it the "pajama" service, but it does pretty well as is.

    ...

    I may have had a point when I started this comment, but if I did it was lost somewhere around the third letter.

    By Blogger Q, at 8/09/2004 10:37:00 AM  

  • Mike-
    Glad you're home, dude. Missed your blogs. Can you please keep Joel Quile and Grqant Boone in line? That should take up all your spare time these days.

    I agree with the flag stuff. Even as a kid I remember visiting a few places outside our tradition that had the flag prominantly displyed. I even thought it was weird then.

    I'm so jealous that you were on the beach. I hope it was a restful time. Let's talk soon.

    By Blogger Brandon Scott, at 8/09/2004 11:25:00 AM  

  • Ah, Pensacola. I spent five great years on the ministry staff of the church that you visited! And yes, there is a strong flag-waving presence there, but it probably has much to do with the fact that Pensacola is a Navy town. There are some sons, daughters, and grandsons/granddaughters from that church serving in Iraq and Afghanistan right now. (Some of them were in my youth group.) We also had "Military Appreciation Day" once a year. I always granted them a "bye" on such issues because it hits REAL close to home for them -- right in the living room, in fact!

    Glad you had a great time down there. Lela & I have fond memories of visiting your family at the condo there -- I remember Megan crawling all over me. My eyeglasses barely survived! :-)

    And didn't we skip Sunday School together there once??

    By Blogger Matt Elliott, at 8/09/2004 11:43:00 AM  

  • A pajama service? I think the time is ripe for that! (It seems to work in the early classes at ACU.)

    Brandon, about Quile and Boone. They are incorrigible. Sometime, you need to fill me in on their college careers. I need ammo.

    Matt, yes, we did in fact skip Sunday school together. I might add that in that situation I was a visitor and you were a staff minister. :) I've enjoyed my friendship with you and Lela that began there (or was it at a Youth In Action before that?). Thanks for the memory of Megan trying to snatch your glasses. That gal was quick to the draw. I also have a great memory of spending the night with Buddy and Stephanie Bell (the second night in their new house) when the first hurricane came through. And, of course, having Chris and Tara come out for fried fish and a swim.

    By Blogger Mike, at 8/09/2004 11:54:00 AM  

  • Mike,
    I share your discomfort with the flag stuff. Our church has done several things like that recently, and it has bothered me (for reasons I don't completely understand). I am very "proud to be an American," but these displays seem to me to be out of place at a worship service.
    AE

    By Blogger Adam, at 8/09/2004 05:04:00 PM  

  • I agree about the flag and all things patriotic not fitting in a worship service, I agree that when I visit I like later start times, but at home I want early start times (you know where you can visit the sick, ride the Sea-Doo, other things in the afternoon). Leave Joe Quille and Grant Boone alone, they make me laugh. And I am so glad you are back to blogging. Hope you made many memories of the beach to tide you over.

    By Blogger DJG, at 8/10/2004 07:07:00 AM  

  • You can just as easily add Matt Elliot to the list of incorrigibles. :)


    MS

    By Blogger MarkS, at 8/10/2004 09:01:00 AM  

  • What bothers me more than the incorrigibles or even the flags is the fact that so many of these seemingly otherwise sane people like beaches.

    By Blogger Q, at 8/10/2004 09:30:00 AM  

  • Q - just wanted you to know you're not alone. Even more amazing in my case is that I'm from the California coastal area, raised in beach cities/towns, lived in Mexico 30 years with all of its beautiful beaches. The water's great, but I DO NOT LIKE having to trek through all that gritty sand to get to the water. Guess it's a reminder that this is not paradise, that there will always be 'sand' along all our beautiful 'oceans'.

    Methinks thee and me are the only sane, biblical ones here. I don't recall anything mentioned about sand and beaches in escatalogical scripture. :>)

    By Blogger Kathy, at 8/11/2004 07:04:00 AM  

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