Thinking Out Loud

November 27, 2021

Boldly Going Where No Baptist Has Gone Before

Filed under: Christianity — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 12:11 pm

by Ruth Wilkinson

Some churches seem to specialize in “ministries” that make for good Instagram posts. I mostly don’t.

What I love best about my job (after teaching) is the conversations I get to have with people, which for sooooo many reasons don’t get Instagrammed. Partly because it’s none of your business. Partly because they’re real-life unscripted conversations, with friends old and new. Partly because sometimes I’m reminded of the fact that I don’t know everything.

This week, tho…

Our church building stands on the corner of a little street in a small town. Up the block is another heritage building that has been home to many retail and service businesses over the years. The most recent, as of September, is a family owned endeavour featuring reiki, tarot, crystals, and smudging supplies. They host workshops, do readings and provide massages.

I’m Baptist.

So…

Of course…

Every time I walked past the windows for the last month, I felt the Holy Spirit say, “Go in and say hi.”

Just that.

It took me a while (I’m a socio-phobic introvert and the Holy Spirit thinks he’s funny) but this week I popped in. I’m so glad I did. Because I think I made a friend.

I introduced myself (“I work at the church on the corner, and I don’t know anything about crystals”) and the beautiful woman whose passion and dream this store is took time to explain them to me. She talked about the energy that resides in the earth and how crystals harness and carry those energies. How tarot connects people to their chosen sources of wisdom, like angels or ancestors. We talked about our faiths–hers and mine–and where they are the same and where different. She talked about growing up Catholic, and later discovering the “holistic” nature of where hope and healing can be found. I described my faith as being more specific.

Then (and, seriously, this never happens. Ever. Want to end a conversation? Tell people you work at a church) she asked me what it’s like to work at the church. I told her how much I love my job, and tried to explain what Evangelicals shorthand as “worship leading.” About choosing songs for us to sing together, about asking God what it is about these songs that we should pay attention to, and about introducing them to the congregation with thoughts on why we are singing them and why it matters.

She beamed a huge smile at me, clapped her hands and said, “You channel! I was going to say that, and now I see why. You channel!”

I sort of wish I had a picture of my face at that moment. It would have been an expression of combined defensiveness, surprise, and revelation. Oh. My. Word.

Baptists don’t channel. Channeling is ‘new age.’ Right?

It took a split-second for the penny to drop. For me to remember that, every time I lead worship, I silently pray, “Sing through me.”

Channeling the Holy Spirit? How could I not want to do that? How could I possibly think that’s a bad idea? To be so connected to the Comforter, the Counselor, the Advocate, the Wisdom of God that his power flows through me without my even having to try. How amazing would that be? So in the end, I was smiling, too.

Life as a Christ-follower in Canada these days is life as a minority. Long gone is Christendom (good riddance, I say) and we have to do the work of knowing what we believe and why. Of being able to explain it without using Evangelical code. Of hearing, actually listening, to the people around us and to the Spirit. Of being willing to be surprised in wonderful ways.

As I was leaving that morning, she said that next time, if the store’s not busy, maybe we could have a tea or a coffee. Turns out we’re both coffee people. So I’m looking forward to that. Conversation, surprise, chewing the metaphysical fat.

Instagram be darned.

 

1 Comment »

  1. I go to a store near me that is basically the same. I love talking all different people. I will pray.

    Comment by Angie — November 30, 2021 @ 6:28 am


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