Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Visiting Church of the City New York

We finally got to go to church in New York City this past weekend. I've long been fascinated with churches in this city - the most influential and strategic city in the world seems to be experiencing a resurgence in new churches lately. Katie has been there all semester but this was the first weekend where it fit for us to be in the city on a Sunday morning.

I was thrilled that we were able to attend Church of the City New York. I've followed Jon Tyson's work for a while now and no one has thought more deeply about spiritual formation in a place like New York: achievement oriented, fast paced, affluent, postmodern, post Christian, and pluralistic. Sure we say that about the suburbs but it's not even close. Unfortunately, Jon wasn't speaking but his Chief of Staff delivered a phenomenal talk on the topic of being an ambassador. And like I expected and appreciated, it spoke to this specific context and this specific city.

Other interesting observations:
+ They meet in 2 schools for 4 gatherings on Sundays - 2 at one school in the morning and then another 2 at another school in the evening. Portable church.
+ Before the time for the offering, they have a responsive reading focused on generosity and blessing. They don't pass out baskets but give time for people to donate electronically.
+ There was a few minutes at the beginning of the service when someone shared a personal story of their experience in trying to live out 'Kingdom Values' [their current sermon series.] Really makes the community feel connected.

And this quote from the talk:
When the modern world says to us aloud, "You may be religious when you are alone," it adds under its breath, "and I will see to it that you never are alone." To make Christianity a private affair while banishing all privacy is to relegate it to the rainbow's end or the Greek calends.
- C. S. Lewis

I try to read everything Jon Tyson has written. My other church on the short wish list was Hope Roosevelt run by my friends Dan and Amanda Sadlier but the timing didn't quite work out right.

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