Week 20: Kaleo, Otis Orchards, 18 May 2008

We’re not quite sure when the Kaleo popped up. Small towns are kind of weird that way . . . sometimes you know and see all the changes, and sometimes things just pop up. We first noticed them back in January, when we were on our way to the Seventh Day Adventist service. Since then, the Four Corners Bakery in the same plaza closed, and Kaleo has either grown, or moved into, that same space. Michael is away this weekend at the 8th Inland NW Cursillo, and Farmergirl thought we ought to go to Kaleo because “they have a fun sign.” (It’s orange). (And it is fun).

As you’ve probably noticed, I often do a little bit of poking around to explore a church or a tradition before we attend. Among other things before we went, I found that Kaleo is listed as one of the churches of the Spokane Emergent Cohort, which seems to be sleeping. (I say sleeping because the most recent post is from September of 2007, but if you read any of my other blogs, you’ll see that some they all have been sleeping for far longer than last September, so I’m not ready to declare any kind of death). If you’re not already familiar with the Emergent/Emerging movement, Scott McKnight’s What Is the Emerging Church? is a good a place as any to start.
(If you find the 30 page transcript, Twain allusions, and theological language too much to handle before coffee, give the Christianity Today version a gander instead — but I have to tell you, the longer, more academic version is totally worth the time and brain cells . . . I read it to Michael last night while he was unpacking . . . pretty heady stuff that late in the evening).

The Kaleo congregation is young — mostly 20, 30 and 40 somethings with young children. We were warmly welcomed by Renee and Josh, a couple who invited us to sit with them for the service. There are two forms of seating: round tables, and sofas along the back wall (which seemed to largely be used by the nurslings and toddlers). The bulletin wasn’t illuminating as to what to expect in the service, and I didn’t read McKnight before going, so I was a little thrown when the first part of the service was a concert by guitarist, singer, and songwriter Marshall Mclean, who’d recently returned from Italy. From his patter between songs, I think he’s been part of the Kaleo congregation for sometime. This was followed by the sermon, which was part of a series based on Mark (specifically, Mark 2:18-22), and tying it in with Isaiah 58.

I swear there’s something in the Spokane water, because this was probably close to the tenth sermon that touched on ritual piety (fasting, Yom Kippur, Bible-reading, prayer) as maybe-not-such-a-good-thing, or at least, maybe-not-the-most-important-thing. He headed down the road of what actions might be pleasing to God — and doubled back to the use of practices like fasting to center oneself and keep the focus on God, but (and he largely said this was the case), he came to no conclusion, because he hasn’t reached one. This is, I think, a huge part of the tensions of the Emergent movement . . . asking Francis Schaeffer’s question: How Should We Then Live? (with a new set of answers). After the service, when I was talking to the pastor, Justin Bryeans, I suggested the essay from Elie Wiesel’s Night in which he discusses fasting in a Nazi concentration camp.

The sermon was followed by singing, including an incredibly lovely rendition of Come Thou Font of Every Blessing, done with guitar, drums, and (maybe) keyboard. (None of these links does justice to the version at Kaleo). I say maybe, because I’m not sure the keyboardist was playing. It was lovely enough that I pulled out my cell phone, hit the speed dial, and called Michael’s voicemail to leave a recording for him.

On each of the tables, there was a Bible, a glass of red grape juice, and a small plate with a roll. The Bibles were a version I hadn’t seen before, The Books of the Bible, an NIV translation arranged in chronologically written order, with unnumbered chapters and verses (there are chapter-verse citations at the bottom of the page, sort of like the keywords that appear at the tops of the pages of a dictionary). The music team bade us to take communion, by breaking off a piece of the roll and dipping it in the cup. I’m beginning to see a trend in communion: fenced tables have words of institution and some kind of ritual surrounding communion. The unfenced often have very little significance or ceremony placed on it. I don’t know what to make of that.

We’ve been to 20 churches, 8 of which have had communion, 5 of which we’ve taken this year.

Took communion at:
ECOR (week 1, liturgical, semi-fenced: baptized Christians and those who feel called)
Life Center (week 6, “bottoms up”, unfenced)
St. Luke’s (week, 13, liturgical, semi-fenced)
Peace Lutheran (week 14, liturgical, semi-fenced)
Kaleo (week 20, unceremonial, unfenced)

Didn’t take at:
Greenacres Kingdom Hall (week 12, extremely fenced–no one partook)
St. Aloysius (week 15, liturgical, fenced, Catholic)
St. Ann’s (week 17, liturgical, fenced, Catholic)

Kaleo made Farmergirl’s (extremely short) list of churches she has any interest at all in possibly returning to, which begs an interesting question:

What if, in our introduction of her to the rest of the Body, Farmergirl decides she wants to be, say, Baptist? or Kaleoian? or Seventh Day Adventist (still her top contender)? I don’t know . . . because, of course, we meant to show our ACE (accidental-cradle-Episcopalian) the church at large before she decides to confirm as an Episcopalian . . . we hadn’t really considered that she might decide not to confirm in the Episcopal church.

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6 Responses to Week 20: Kaleo, Otis Orchards, 18 May 2008

  1. Pingback: 52 Churches » Blog Archive » Week 34: New Hope FMC, 28 August 2008

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  3. Pingback: 52 Churches » Blog Archive » Week 26a: Kaleo (redux), 29 June 2008

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  6. zachary says:

    This brings up several interesting questions, I suppose, the most relevant of which might be what Al might ultimately choose at the end of this journey. This sounds like a place I might like, I think, for many reasons, not the least of which is the couch thing. I like my small group very much, but I also like Brenda’s couches, which are incredibly comfortable and cozy. They make me feel lovely, even if all I do that evening is listen.


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