Word of the Week


The longer I am a pastor of Washington Plaza and the longer I am in the DC area, the more I realize the uniqueness of our voice as a community faith.

With thousands of churches and faith communities of all sorts to choose from, there is something special about our congregation.  It's more than the fact that the community welcomes all genders of pastors. It's more than the fact that we are not a homophobic community and without question welcomes all people. It's more than the fact that community building is essential to our identity as evidenced by our Sunday lunches together. And, it's more than the fact that all people, no matter what are welcomed (we're all a little strange after all, so no need to get exclusive).

It's something unique that can't be put into words.

And even though this is the case, I feel it is worth exploring further. In an age of divisive church fights about who is welcome and who is not, what is sin and what is not, who can be pastor or deacon or elder and who is not, these things really don't matter so much to the folks at Washington Plaza.  We simply are.  We've gotten through, moved past, and work together on many "issues" that the church consultant types say crumble organizations.

I heard one church member say to me yesterday that in trying to invite some of her friends to church the reply was, "I just can't believe your Baptist church is like that. You are just making them up."

But, Washington Plaza (though we are not perfect by any means) is not a made-up community. We are real as evidenced by our worship gatherings every Sunday at 11 am. 

Another member said to me once, "There's just something beautiful in the air here. Once you visit, you know that this is a loving community where you are accepted exactly the way you are and so you can't help but want to stick around for a while."

But, why? Really, is it just "something in the air?"

I've been thinking a lot about what then, our particular congregational voice might have to offer the larger religious conversation.

And, I’ve also been pondering what my personal responsibility is as a leader of such a community of faith. Might there be a calling to  share our story and my story as a better way of being a person of faith, doing church and pastoring in the modern era?  

I’ve come to the conclusion that I cannot be silent any longer: this conversation topic is bursting at the seams in me and I can’t wait to get started.  In response to more things to say on this topic than just one blog entry, I have decided to start a new venture in the form of a website entitled, "Re-imagine."

The purpose of Re-imagine will be to give me a space apart from the obligations and responsibilities I have as pastor of a particular church to be a catalyst of many of the questions, frustrations, and possibilities I see ahead for communities of faith like the one I'm in, for the pastors like myself who will lead (or not lead them) in the future, and resources available for those who care about the church as well as faith seekers but don't want to lose themselves in the process.  Re-imagine won't be exclusively about Washington Plaza, although stories of hope from this community might be brought in from time to time.  And, it won't be full of merely personal rants either. I also hope to connect readers to others who are asking similar questions and who are looking for honest answers (even if the truth hurts a little).

So, what about the future of "Preacher on the Plaza" you might wonder? The show will go on. I'll remain committed to writing on this site to share the good news about the ongoing adventure of being church on the Plaza. It will tell the stories, even more exclusively about our life together whereas, Re-imagine will focus on the questions of a wider audience.

I look forward to this new venture of writing personally and professionally. I'm hoping that you'll cheer me on and join the conversation as it begins today at Re-Imagine.