A few weeks ago after a great day of hanging out with Torey, we stopped by a women’s worship gathering at Hope in the City (a church in south Austin). My dear friend and mentor Linda sent me a link that described a full day of prayer and worship for the women of Austin. She hoped to be there herself but ended up needing to stay in Houston that weekend.
Torey and I knew it was going on all day and were simultaneously drawn and repelled to the thought of going. If you’re a woman, I bet you know why. We loved the idea of women from all over Austin gathering for prayer, intercession, and worship. We loved the thought that women from different churches—most of them not ‘professional’ (as if there is a such a thing as a professional Christian)—would be leading prayer and worship. But honestly. Gatherings of Christian women have a high propensity for cheesiness. There are usually lots of earnest and well-intentioned women who are more comfortable in pastel colored Capri pants than jeans, haven’t listened to anything but Christian radio for the past twenty years, and just *feel* better if the communion elements include grape juice instead of wine.
I’m talking about the kind of people who genuinely love God and His people but have lost their ability or desire to connect with the world Jesus came to save (or are living in a one that existed 40 or so years ago). They talk about reaching the lost but are uncomfortable with their unchurched neighbors and don’t know how to love their city’s unique culture. Don’t get me wrong—I’m definitely not saying I’ve got all those things all figured out and or that I’m living them out fully. I want to, though. I want to be a part of church that knows how to weep for their city as Jesus wept for Jerusalem. I want to be like Paul who knew enough of the world of his time to be able to use their own spiritual practices, their own poetry, their own philosophy to tap into their need for the hope and peace and life only one God can deliver.
Anyhow, our ambivalence about a “Christian women’s gathering” meant that Torey and I talked ourselves out of going first thing in the morning as we’d planned. We’d sleep in and go later we told ourselves. Then we decided we’d use our car wash groupons to get the bird poop and splattered bugs off our cars and take a walk around Town Lake while we waited. It was such a pretty day, after all. After that, we couldn’t pass up P Terry’s for an Arnold Palmer and burger. Then we took a quick hike at the green belt. Like I said, it was a beautiful day. And we had to shower when we got home, of course. We couldn’t go to church all sweaty and covered in pollen. It was nearly seven when we were finally ready to go. We’d procrastinated most of the day but we actually got there just in time.
….to be continued on Wednesday…