Here is a short answer to many questions I've received lately. We aren't leaving kaleo. That's it. We're not leaving. Which, of course, leads to other questions.
A good friend, one of my oldest friends, in fact, and a mentor of sorts to me was in town over the weekend. After an unusual Sunday night, we decompressed with the hot, hairdresser, bartender wife. I filled her in on everything that has happened and answered her questions about the blog, the church, the denomination, etc. Then she said, "You should be Methodist. You'll be okay there. Or Presbyterian (PCUSA)."
"What about Episcopalian?" I asked.
"That too. Some place where lifestyle issues won't matter."
This advice from an old friend who knows me well, knows my weaknesses and my obstinace, knows how much I dislike church, knows how much kaleo means to us, was a bit distressing. Believe it or not, I actually try to hear the voice of God in people around me, especially when they love me. I had a momentary crisis about whether or not to move on. The wife has alread informed me that she isn't doing church again; it either works here, at kaleo, or she's done. She likes the idea of leisurely Sunday mornings with pancakes, coffee (for me), an afternoon movie, and a quiet evening at home.
So, we're staying. To the Nazarenes who are glad about this, thanks. For those who aren't, sorry (but not really). The question is how much cognitive dissonance is possible within a community. It's apparent from several posts I've made here that there are many things about the Nazarene denomination with which I am displeased, not that I'm the easiest guy in the world to have hangin around your church. To be fair, it's not picnic for them either. So, why stay?
I think I believe that Christianity at its best is redemptive friendship. We have those redemptive friendships at kaleo. We aren't willing to risk losing them by going somewhere else. Also, I think I believe communities should be full of different kinds of people, so I need them as much as they need me. This is the beauty of competing voices, keeping people honest and self-reflective. And I've long since stopped believing that church is a place or a denominational affiliation. I guess we'll test our resolve to live in a community with all its promise and pain and confusion and fun. And I will continue to critique the tradition. A few of them have even asked that I do that. Imagine.