Monday, July 11, 2011

Alternate Route

Last night Toni and I were visiting friends and a storm came up.  We and a bunch of others ended up staying at their home until after midnight.  When we were all ready to leave we found that a large pine tree had blown down blocking the dead-end street leading through the woods to their home.  Fortunately there was another way for us to go out.  Our friend opened a gate and we and at least three other cars ended up driving out through a neighbor's long driveway.  I followed the others, wending our way through the rain to the main road, and then drove home, arriving at about 2 a.m.

Earlier in the evening our friends had asked me to tell the story about what has happened with us here in Cokato over the past years and how it is that we came to serve a different church than we were originally called to in 2005.  It's a long story.  I mentioned that I've thought of writing it all down sometime, from my perspective, and they encouraged me to do so.  Another out-of-the-Cokato-area friend has told me she would look at some first drafts.  I like to share freely but this subject is one that needs extra writing care.

Last night, because I was unfamiliar with the "alternate route" through the neighbor's property, I was thankful that I didn't need to lead the way.  I would have driven out alone, but since others were needing to go home too, it felt a lot more comfortable being part of our little convoy.  Our Ford Focus was the smallest of the four.  We could just sort of blend in as we crossed the unfamiliar.

Something similar has been going on in hundreds of communities throughout the United States as church members have gone through stormy and painful times.  George Erdner of suburban Atlanta, Georgia and others have been keeping track of what they call the "fallout" from the ELCA.  Thousands of church members have seen that the road ahead for them in their local churches has been blocked so they, like we at Crossroads, have gone another way.

If you're interested in George's data, let me know and I can send you a spreadsheet that he has prepared.  Otherwise go to his "yahoo groups" page at  You can read George's description without actually joining the group.

I do find some comfort in knowing I'm not alone on an alternate route.  Of course, knowing others are with me doesn't say anything about the rightness or wrongness of the way we're going.  It's just as possible for many to be wrong as it is for them to be right.  But if you have felt that you have suffered through church storms, it might be nice for you to know there is a convoy for you to join.

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