Monday, September 25, 2006

the death of the gathering

i held off on this post for awhile, because i wanted to make sure we emailed all the right people to make them aware of the situation. it was a few years ago... a group of us got together and began to dream and brainstorm about a spiritual community that would focus on reaching people who have felt neglected, ignored or straight offended by the traditional structure and language of the american church. it had also occured we had spent years reaching out to kids in our community, but as they left high school many did not connect with the traditional structure of the church as a whole.

this led us to create the gathering... a journey that lasted for about 1 year and a half. we had a lot of fun... i don't think ben and i would have become so close if it was not for the gathering. i had to step away from helping to lead the gathering, because of my own life drama and a team of people really did step up and lead the gathering. we changed location because of the adventist church not allowing us to meet for free there. i am not sure of when the gathering began to circle the drain, but for the last few months i knew it was inevitable. it was a matter of time before it would be completely gone.

the night of the last gathering... i knew it was what had to happen and it seemed like i was cool with it, but as i chilled with my boys at home by myself. i think it hit me that i think almost everything in my life has been flipped upside down over the last 16 months. what is once considered my life passion and focus has been reshpaed. that is except for my boys (kade and evan) who are the bomb and because of the changes i have a lot more time to chill with them... give them mohawks... pick them up early from school because they bit a teacher. i guess that is the one change that i would not change.

so i think i am good over time with all of the changes and the new refocuses... i am still with uywi... that is the other anchor in my life besides the boys. my extended family has grown to include old faces from many years ago and the constant ones that i have served the community with forever.

i have not quite decided where and who i will call church for me and my boys in the next chapter of my life, but i know that it is not the gathering. i will miss the gathering and maybe someday i will help shape something again that will live out the values that we dreamed of for the gathering, but until than i will continue to make friendships and grow my extended family with those who i interact with. peace.


pableezy said...

reminds me of the fresh prince of bel air:

Now this is the story all about how, my life got flipped, turned upside down..."

i feel you on this post. but what i have been thinking about ltely is the next stage. life is all about stages. TG is dead, but the ideals, the spirit behind it are not.

what's in the next stage? more of the same homie. love god, love people, nothing else matters.

Tiff said...

yeah what Pablo said

urBenLA said...

I think the Gathering was worthwhile if the only fruit was the relationships we built with you guys colaboring and living life together. At times I felt like it was how ministry should happen, in the context of community and truly being there for each other.

urBenLA said...

John. You're my boy. God won't leave you hanging.

Oddly enough, one of the services at one church we have friends at and Carey and I are thinking of trying out is a ministry just started (last week) Saturday nights called "the gathering". It's a "postmodern" service and they advertise celebrating the traditions of the church in a "contemporary gathering." I shudder to think of what contemporary might mean, but I love what "the gathering" means in my life and -- who knows -- God might have something redeemable there for us to receive and give through.

pableezy said...

it was totally worth it ben, i agree with you. i don't regret anything about it.

the nice thing about having a healthy understanding of Church (capital C) is that things like this are not the end of anything. TG was an expression of faith and ministry. now we look for a new one.

by the way, what's up with Believe?

J-Lou said...

good question pablo... me and mary are playing phone tag right now, but i really want to put some energy in it... i love what could happen with believe and what it could mean to the city of alhambra.

pableezy said...

did you read my blog on the development happening in the ALH? there's gonna be a HUGE influx of people (as if we weren't already overloaded) over the next 5 years. that means a lot more high schoolers too.

J-Lou said...

yes, they droppin alot of money on stuff that will create more teens but nothing is being built to do anything positive with them. we settin them up to mess up. i need to learn more about how to make change in those avenues, but i have seen a group that is against the redevelopment... they have a website. i also saw some people picketing out in front of the old library... i think against the use of funds to build a new library. i really have not spent much time at the old one, so i have no idea if it old and we need a new one. but i did see the plans and it has nothing to help kids stay out of trouble in an active way. plenty of space to be quiet and read a book... not that i am against reading a book... but it is not high on the list of things i desired to do at the age of 16. peace.

Sonia:) said...

i know for a fact that the gathering helped at least a dozen or more people become energized about going to church and serving God. those people had either stopped going to church or had never been to church. whatever "church" means to them now is at least something positive. it's a seed that was planted and God will be faithful to water. in my book--that's a success. i am personally grateful for all of the blessing i received through new and old friendships that i have now because of the gathering.

Samdog said...

yeah what Sonia said