I’m resting up, after the glorious tornado that was the Reba Place Church 50th Anniversary Celebration.
I served as point man for the tech and A/V portions of the program, which ran Friday night and all day Saturday, culminating with a music, dance, and multimedia extravaganza on Saturday night. In the absence of a stage manager, I ended up filling that role too: keeping the machinery oiled and all parties on one page. Though it all came out fine, it was hard for me personally, as I must begrudgingly admit I do not bear the weight of such wide-ranging responsibilities very comfortably–especially the tedious tech itself. To paraphrase a Mark Heard song, covered admirably by Buddy Miller, “I worry too much.”
As for the event itself, I think generally the people attending considered it a success, a chance to celebrate the past and take stock of the present. Yet it was very hard to accurately tell the complex story of this officially Mennonite, recently Emergent, evangelical-leaning, communal hippie-influenced, racially reconciling, ecumenical and oft-conflicted congregation (originally a small house church and Voluntary Service unit on a street called Reba Place).
With such widely divergent people and priorities over the years, many times it seemed the only things we could agree on –in our theology, social teaching, discipleship models and worship practices– was that Jesus is good for the world, singing is good for the soul, and food is good for the body (and also the Body… nothing like a few thousand potlucks to create an intimate community life). After that, the workings of this influential institution have been all over the map: from Old Mennonite to mainline Protestant to pentecostal to megachurch charismatic to Catholic & Episcopal, plus a lot in-between. We were at turns both radically liberal and biblically and socially conservative… yet all unified somehow by the love of Christ.
In other words, it’s one of the biggest, floppiest tents ever!
Tomorrow: I name names…