Friday, May 16, 2008

Bench Outside the Box

"By planting the flag outside the walls and boundaries of the church, so to speak, the church discovers itself by rallying to it---this is mission."

-Hirsch, "The Forgotten Ways," p 236

This beautiful park bench;
and the house behind it,
is the highlight of our neighborhood.

Actually, the saints who live in the house behind the bench are the highlight of the neighborhood,
which is precisely the point.

The bench was placed on the prominent corner lot as a prophetic act/blessing/gift/gatekeeper/mission to the neighborhood. I have seen high-schoolers (clean-cut as well as gangster-looking), and senior citizens sitting on it; taking a break on their walk home; and journey through life.

Even though my family and I walk by it almost daily, I consider it almost too sacred to sit in.

Folks stop for a smoke, a prayer, to people-watch, to drink gin...

The Tongan and I once were pretty sure we caught some angels sitting on it one Sunday morning.

It is a Godsend.

It is surely the most prayed-over bench in our city.

Maybe even the most blessed pew in town.

It might even be the postmodern version of Finney's "anxious bench."
"Tear the curtain down; Pull the altar to the ground.." as St. Mike Roe and the 77s once prayed in a church..uhm bar I was visiting...2:20ff in this clip.

Of course the bench has to be screwed into the ground; the original bench was stolen.

But that didn't deter the mission, or the gatekeeping family.

This is church "as God wants it"; planting the flag outside the walls. Not as a gimmick; not as a sneaky, cheesy, sexy evangelistic strategy to get those butts into pews.

But to get those butts blessed, even if they never enter a "church building."

Which they already have...

PS The mom of the house asked the ginsters to kindly take their empty gin bottle with them as they left...that's not an unreasonable rule for a church that plants its flag and bench outside the boundaries and box.

PPS. Of course this is the same family who did THIS with their house at Eastertime.

PPPS. Some of you are savvy enough to figure out where this holy site is, and go to Google Earth or Microsoft Virtual Earth and see who's sitting in it now.

"When the sun beats down and I lie on the bench...."
-Genesis, "I Know What I Like" ...4:45ff below

1 comment:

  1. What a great post. I love the bench and your comments about it. We all need to find some why to include a "bench" on our property. Thanks.


Hey, thanks for engaging the conversation!