Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Back porch musings

I was sitting on my back porch this weekend, reading my book, when I looked up and saw the same abuelo that I had observed a couple of weeks ago. He had the toddler with him again and this time he was also accompanied by a chubby 8-year-old boy.

The boy brought a bat and instead of practicing his pitching, like the toddler had a few weeks ago, he practiced batting. The distinctive ringing sound of an aluminum bat is what caused me to look up in the first place. Again, his form was pretty good for a kid using rocks instead of a ball. The grandfather wasn't pitching but simply watching. The toddler was standing near his legs. Every time the boy made contact with the rock, the toddler would cheer and clap, cheer and clap. If the rock made contact with any object in the alley - shipping container, I-beam, fence - the boy would drop the bat and run imaginary bases to the cheering and clapping of the baby. The baby never varied his enthusiasm for the boy's activity; regardless of whether the bases were run or not, his response was of the same high intensity. This went on for 10 minutes straight. One boy tosses a rock up and hits it. The baby cheers and claps. The grandfather watches it all, standing in the shade of the El tracks.

I think I've mentioned before that I'm staying in my neighborhood even though the commute to school to will be about an hour and I no longer attend the "neighborhood church" that I used to attend.

I'll be honest, the main reason that I have made this decision is that I hate to move. Really hate it.

Also, the apartment is very well set up for a stranger roommate, with lots of doors and very little shared living space. It's also cheaper than any single I'm going to find anywhere.

Finally, though, I think it's important to put my roots in a community. If I live two years here, then two years there, then two years somewhere else, how will I ever feel like a neighborhood is my home? How will I ever get to experience the rhythms of a grandfather returning to the alley with his grandsons to practice baseball with them?

As humans, we experience such delight when we can make connections between things, connections between experiences, connections between people. How will I experience these connections if I put a big schism in the geography of my experiences?


Anonymous said...

Rebecca, it's Erin. I was just checking up on your blog over coffee at work, as I am periodically accustomed to doing, and was surprised to find out that you are not attending River City anymore. Might I ask why? (I am trying to gain a better grasp on the theology and practice of that church for my own personal interest.)

Are you now attending the small church with the pastor who knows people's names and has a blog? It sounded like a really right place for you from your description.

PrincessMax said...

Hi Erin,

I'm so tickled that you are accustomed to reading my blog. Woohoo!

Absolutely, you may ask why I'm not attending River City any more. I would say that there are four main reasons.

1. Because I cannot sign on the dotted line underneath the 12 statements of belief to become a member, Pastor Daniel told me that he would be uncomfortable letting me hold leadership roles within the church because he didn't want to risk advocated "wrong teachings." This made me feel terribly stifled and made me want to seek out a church where I could use my talents in service of the Kingdom of God.

2. In that same conversation, Pastor Daniel offered up as a non-sequitor that he didn't think that my brother Daniel would probably ever "come to Jesus" at River City. I think he was referencing some earlier emails in which I had explained some of my actions (i.e. wearing Converse while part of the worship team) as being motivated by wanting to create an environment that my brothers would feel comfortable in. I think all three of my brothers fit the classic definition of "post-Christian." They don't need to be converted or to come to Jesus; they need to be a part of a community of believers that love them just as they are, just like God loves them. Pastor Daniel's comment made me realize on two levels that River City wasn't going to be that community of believers and I'm not interested in putting my energy into a place where my family can't follow.

3. I can't worship at River City because although I have asked every staff member and every deacon to help me reconcile with Erick, no one has been interested.

4. The methodology of Wicker Park Grace is incredibly attractive to me and it just happens to be in my neighborhood, unlike other emergent churches, which tend to be on the north side.

I think River City is a great place with a lot of really cool people (yourself being at the top of the list). I just can't blossom there.

I have become involved with Wicker Park Grace and just attended a phenomenal conference this past weekend of like-minded churches. I'm happy to talk for hours - apparently - about the theology and practice of that church. Do you want to meet for coffee while it's still summer or shift to email? I'm happy to talk here, but it might bore some folk.

Anonymous said...


you are hilarious. no need to butter me up with 'yourself being at the top of the list' as i don't attend river city or ever intend to. (perhaps you're thinking of someone else...this is erin schultz from ccda.)

my not attending river city aside, i'm sure the erin you are referring to would love to know of your affection toward her.

i'm still reading and loving it - thinking about many things as you write.

PrincessMax said...

Oops. Your kind of Erin is pretty cool, too. :-)