February 25, 2014

ON GOING TO CHURCH I don't want to talk about Donald Miller. This is in part because in 2006, when I was working on my first book, my publisher kept bringing up Donald Miller's name in every email or phone conversation we had, wondering why I couldn't write more like him. (Ha!) It is also because I don't know Donald Miller, or the nuances of his meaning. But mostly I don't want to talk about Donald Miller because I what I really want to talk about is church, specifically, going to church. Why do we go to church? This is the question at the bottom of all this musing, right? Miller speaks for many who see the hollow-ness of what the gathered church has become. I see it. You see it. So we ask, "Why go to church?" Immediately, someone is going to say, "We don't go to church; we are the church!" There is, of course, something true about this statement. But it misses a very crucial point...and we'll start with that point: 1. We go to church because being and place belong together. Those of my readers who are more philosophically inclined will be able to cite various French and German philosophers and social theorists who talk about the necessity of human beings being grounded in place. We are not free-floating entites unconnected to particular points in space and time. We find our identity and memory and sense of being by being in a place. There is, I think, a simple illustration for this: a family and a home. A group of people living together in a house doesn't make them a family (See: house, fraternity). And a family will always be family even when the kids grow older and move out of the home. But what is a family that has...
Why I'm Becoming an Anglican Priest...at New Life Church. I grew up in an Anglican home. My mother comes from several generations of Anglicans, in Singapore and Sri Lanka. As a baby, I was christened at St. Hilda's Anglican church in Singapore. When my parents were introduced to the move of the Holy Spirit in the mid-1980's in Malaysia, however, their parish wasn't quite sure what to do with all of it. So eventually, we began attending a non-denominational Pentecostal church. I was 8 years old. What followed has been almost three decades of a rich and meaningful spiritual life in churches within the non-denominational, Pentecostal or Charismatic streams. I have experienced and continue to experience profound “encounters” through the Spirit in times of prayer, praise and worship, and Bible reading. I have been a witness to and a participant in the good and proper use of the gifts of the Spirit. I love the spiritual vitality that comes from believing that God is at work within His world today! So when I tell you that I am on a journey to become an Anglican priest (I was ordained as a deacon on February 17, 2014, and, God-willing, will be ordained as a priest in August), it can seem like I have either taken a sharp turn off course or have come home at last. I think there is a sense in which both are true. Let's say this is a sharp turn off course...Imagine that you are about to embark on an adventure and you suddenly realize that you do not have what you will need when you get there. You will surely turn around to go and get it. Over the past few years, I have become more aware of how our practices—what we do and say and sing—shape our faith. While our expression in worship has...

Glenn Packiam

Lead Pastor, new life DOWNTOWN, New Life Church, Colorado Springs, CO. Author and songwriter.

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