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The Preacher's Post: Considering the Call to Go “Off the Map”
Ever had one of those experiences that force you out of your
normal routines? Catching up on some deferred maintenance on my car
proved to be exactly that kind of experience for me. Long story short:
it took a couple of days, and when the work was done my car was in East
Bremerton and I was not. So, I decided to try something new. I figured
out the schedule and walked to the bus stop. Let me pause here to point
out that if you’re looking for Kitsap Transit schedules on Google
Maps, Google will flat out lie to you! But that was just the first step
on my little journey of discovery. It was the bus ride itself that
And no, it wasn’t that I ended up crossing the Manette Bridge and snaking my way around Perry Avenue to finally work my way back to the garage on Wheaton Way – though that was certainly “off the map” compared to my usual drive up Warren Avenue and Wheaton Way. It was actually the handful of people on the bus who opened my eyes to something I hadn’t really experienced. During my 20-ish minute ride, I became the silent guest at what felt like a regular meet-up between people who knew each other. And while I listened to them talk about the things ranging from the government shutdown to what was going on in the lives of apparent mutual acquaintances, I realized that they probably were regulars on this bus – and in this moment, I was an outsider here. As I reflected on this encounter, it dawned on me that if it weren’t for my car being at the garage, I would’ve never encountered the #21 bus equivalent of a coffee shop conversation – and I certainly wouldn’t be writing about it here, either!
I’m reading a book called Canoeing the Mountains for the upcoming gathering of the Northwest Association for Theological Discussion, which I’ll be attending during the first week of February. This book follows the journey of Lewis and Clark westward to our corner of the world and draws parallels between their experiences and ours today to explore how we might learn to live, lead, and grow as Christians in new ways. Presenting the dilemma of being trained to lead a 20th century church into a 21st century world, the author spends the rest of the book answering the question of what it means to journey and lead “off the map” like Lewis and Clark. As I continue to make my way through the book (no, I’m not finished yet – don’t act so surprised!), I keep finding myself struck by how hard it is to intentionally go “off the map” in the first place. Just like my ride on the #21 bus, I often avoid any route other than those well-worn, comfortable paths of habit until I absolutely have to do so. And I’m pretty sure that I’m now the only one.
As you’ve probably already noticed from the front page, we’re continuing our year-long celebration of 100 years of ministry. And we should celebrate this milestone achievement! But as we continue to look back, I hope we’ll also start to consider just how well-worn and comfortable some of those historic paths we’re celebrating have truly become. If my author is right (and I suspect he may be), then there is no better time than now for us to consider the mission and ministry that lies just “off the map.” God knows where the journey with Jesus might take us in these next 100 years!
Yours on the Journey,
Christian Church of Bremerton is a diverse group of people seeking to
respond to the vision of God's purpose revealed through Jesus the
We believe this vision calls us to be an intentional community, which engages persons in Christian practices. These practices include the Lord's Supper, joyful worship, Bible Study, prayer, service, and inclusive hospitality. We anticipate being open to all people, discerning how we can respond to needs within and beyond our congregation. As a community we will listen to and bear one another's burdens, and work on behalf of justice for all God's people.
To embrace and manifest Christ-like relationships in our community, we desire to communicate Jesus' death on the cross and bear witness to His resurrection as a sign of hope in this world. We seek to realize this hope by finding ways to overcome the forces that degrade, enslave and oppress God's creation.
In this vision we seek to know, to discern, and to act on the Holy Spirit's guidance to become an expression of God's new creation through our personal gifts and resources. In our actions we strive "to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with [our] God." (Micah 6:8c)