Visiting Churches

For the past two weeks, I've been away from Unity of Fairfax.  As a minister, being away from one's church can be an anxiety-provoking experience... will everything be alright?  What will they think that I'm away?  Will the place be standing when I return?  As you can see, questions such as this are evidence of the minister's ego on overdrive.  Well, this minister, anyway; but my colleagues often share similar thoughts.  The wonderful thing for me is that Unity of Fairfax is indeed "a vibrant spiritual community awakening each person to the Christ within."  In doing so, it is a healthy and inspired community, and there's nothing for me to worry about.  Still, I am SO looking forward to being back this week! But while I've been away, I've had the blessing to attend Sunday services at two other churches.  And truly I've been blessed. On Sunday, March 6, I attended Broadway Baptist Church in Kansas City.  Broadway, in years past, had the reputation of being a very progressive chruch with a dynamic music program.  The prior minister, Paul Smith, wrote a book inspired by the integral psychology of Ken Wilber entitled Integral Christianity.  I have this book on my bookshelf in my office.  Now, however, the church is in a process of discerning its next steps - the building is for sale and the congregation is smaller than it once was; but, wow, what a congregation, and what a message! The pastor Edgar Tanner is a Jungian analyst.  That's not what I expected in a Baptist church.  Nor did I expect the service to have many contemplative elements.  Included in the order of service were these: Listening for the Deeper Lesson in Scripture, Some Time for Quiet and Listening, Inviting a Deeper Experience of God.  Some of the music was the same we use.  But the message is what really grabbed my attention.  It was entitled "Becoming a Compassionate Congregation,"and was a panel discussion about the value and necessity of being an LGBT inclusive congregation.  And to say the people were friendly and welcoming would be an understatement. During the fellowship time, Rev. Tanner and I had a deep and meanigful conversation about the role of spiritual depth in both the life of an individual and of a congregation.  He used lines like, "For us, we put relationship before theology," and "You influence culture when you step to the edge.  Broadway did."  Rev. Tanner at one time worked closely with a favorite Jungian analyst and author of mine James Hollis, who happens to live in DC.  Hmmm... I am always deeply grateful to discover a place like Broadway Baptist Chruch.  Truly, a congregation, like ours, grounded in the consciousness of oneness.  For more information, visit broadwaychurchkc.com On Sunday, March 13, I attended my home church Unity of Wilmington, a church in which I was a member from the first day I walked in in 1989, until I left in 2009.  It truly was a wonderful homecoming, and I spent some time with my first Unity minister and mentor Rev. Rene Pare.  Reconnecting with friends and the new minister Rev. Mindy Tucker was a blessing. And all that being said, I can't wait to return to Unity of Fairfax!  Join me this Sunday for Palm Sunday. Peace be with you and namaste,   Rev. Russ