I’m sometimes embarrassed to find I’m not up to date on religious slang, particularly of the hipster megachurch sort. Not long ago someone characterized a mutual friend as a “seeker”—meaning someone who’s not too religion-friendly, but spiritually curious. I liked that. But I was a little surprised to learn there are entire congregations who identify as “seeker churches,” suggesting they skew their worship, language, and affect in directions that soften boundaries between religious types and not-so-religious ones. I’m all for that. I think church has become so culturally bound with outmoded traditions and dogmas its decrepitude distorts any resemblance to Jesus’ ministry and early Christianity. But that’s another discussion for another time.
What interests me about the “seeker” designation is its surface deceptiveness. Is the seeker actively looking for faith or spiritual guidance? Or is he/she/they purposefully looking away from those goals to fashion something more amenable to their disengagement? To follow Jesus, regardless what your church experience may be, is to be engaged, committed to a life of prayer and fellowship, loving-kindness and social justice. Anything less is mere religion, regardless how “non-religious” it feels. (Yes, atheism and agnosticism are religious postures—another discussion we’ll take up some time.)
In the parable we’ll examine this coming Thursday night, Jesus has a very different idea about what makes someone a “seeker.” And, bluntly put, it’s someone willing to risk everything to gain the one thing he/she/they want most: life in God’s reign. In the parable, a gem merchant sells his entire inventory to purchase one pearl. Jesus says such a move is what the “kingdom of heaven is like.” That opens up all kinds of meaning and we’ll dig into what Jesus may be steering us toward this Thursday night. Don’t miss this conversation!
Join us this Thursday for our latest study in the “Kingdom Stories” series. We meet in person at 7:30p CST at Pilgrim Congregational Church, 460 Lake Street in Oak Park. Or you can find us online (in real time or later) via Facebook Live.
We need your help!
As we think about the future of Gather, please let us know what gifts you bring and would like to share with the community. There are many roles that have to come together to make Gather happen every week. This includes setup, technical support, worship, managing handouts and information, coordinating drinks, and teardown. We need your help. Please let us know what type of service you’d be interested in!
Watch God Work,
Tim & Shea
As we prepare to become a vibrant worshipping community, we invite you to enjoy a Spotify playlist that captures the kind of worship we hope to embrace. Give it a spin while you’re driving. Make it your workout jam. Add it to your devotional time. Most of all, feel yourself becoming part of a sacred village of believers who love their God and one another!
Check out the Gather Worship Playlist here.