Week 16: Riverstone Community Church, Wesleyan, 20 April 2008

Riverstone Community Church is a tiny Wesleyan church in Post Falls, ID. We overshot their parking lot and ended up in the parking lot of the overwhelmingly large North Country Chapel, which afforded ample opportunity for popping a U-ie and doubling back to our intended church.

When I say that Riverstone is a tiny church, please understand that I never apply that particular adjective to congregations over 25. In addition to the pastor and the three of us, there were 6 adults and 5-7 children in attendance this morning. The service was very basic, beginning with some music, led by two guitarists (one the pastor), an followed by an offertory, the sermon, and one last song. As with many protestant services, the sermon was the main focus of the service. This week, the pastor was preaching the third sermon in the Live Like You Were Dying series, based on the Tim McGraw country hit by the same title, on the topic of Sweet Speech. The creators of the series include several guys coming out of Saddleback, which you will recall from Week 1 were on the “if my bullet [sermon] fits your gun, then shoot it” side of the original sermon debate. We also watched the mini movie “That’s Life” as part of the sermon.

I have some leftover angst about Wesleyans in general, leftover from my college days at Houghton, which I describe alternately as “going to school in Footloose, with no Kevin Bacon” and “going to college in the 50s.” The angst has less to do with Kevin Bacon, the abject absurdity* of Houghton College. Anyway, any angst for today was unwarranted, and we found the service enjoyable, even as the building was a wee bit chilly. Farmergirl immediately added Riverstone to her list of churches she’d be willing to return to (which, if you’ve read her reflections, is a pretty exclusive list). She liked the music, felt she got something from the sermon, and wasn’t overwhelmed by the size or volume. I’m not sure these are criteria I’d use, but it’s interesting watching her debrief and wrestle with the issues. Someone asked me a few weeks ago how Farmergirl was liking the project. The truth is, that while she’s a trooper, she’d drop the project and beat a hasty path right back to ECOR tomorrow, if the option were there.

It’s been (and is going to be) and interesting educational year for her. Last night, we took her to see two GetLit! festival speakers, Thomas Lynch and Naomi Wolf. Wolf spoke on her latest book End of America, and Farmergirl said, at the end of the presentation, with a gulp, and big eyes, “Guys, I’m really scared.” (If you watch the speech, you probably will be, too, though it’s still worth watching).

I feel certain I have more things to say . . . on Riverstone, on angst, on church going, on the project, on Farmergirl . . . but the brain has shut down in the chilly evening snow, so I’m going to sign off for the moment (9:39pm, 20 April).

* In the Fall of 1989, the Homecoming committee of HC planned to show Rain Man as the campus film, but because it was rated R, they decided instead to show the overtly occultic, but PG Rated, Beetlejuice–a ridiculous swap at a Christian college, which demonstrates as amply and easily the many other problems with religious institutions that regularly play out at places like Houghton where legalism — not thoughtfulness, deliberation, or even common sense — are paramount in decision making.

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