God at the Improv, No Joke?
I was not raised in church. I don't share this to say that I don't find extreme value and importance in the traditions, lessons and community found within church(es). In fact, I'm spending quite a bit of time now learning as much as I can about these things. I share this to provide context of where I find myself in discovering what ministry will look like for me. There have been many times when I've had to learn things about traditions and lessons as an adult that many people I encounter were introduced to as a child.
I didn't start going to church on a regular basis until I was a sophomore in college and I use the term "regular" loosely. For the most part, my spiritual frame of reference consisted of saying prayers with my mom before bedtime, an occasional visit to church with my Granny or my Grandma and a knowing deep down inside that there was something at work in the world that was bigger than me. I believed.
When I found a program on spiritual leadership that was taking place at the Improv Comedy Club in Los Angeles I was so focused and excited on the experience and content I didn't give any thought to the setting. I just went.
Finding a parking spot on Melrose Avenue was as challenging as expected and I was about 30 minutes late the first day. The program was already in progress and I found myself having to navigate through a room that was typically lit for a comedy show - spotlight on the stage, dim lights where the audience would traditionally sit. Eventually my eyes adjusted to the stark contrast of the light of day I had just left and I found a seat at one of the long tables next to a pastor from northern California. He welcomed me as I pulled out my notebook. I made it.
I spent two full days at the Impov listening, learning and having discussions about what it means to be a spiritual leader. My pen ran out of ink and then my notebook ran out of space. It was one of the best investments I've ever made in myself and it all took place at a comedy club.
It wasn't until after I got home that I started to reflect on the number of times that I've expected God to be somewhere, or with someone, that looked, felt and operated in a certain way only to feel empty and disappointed after I've been there. A reflection that is much more representative of me than of the places or people I'm referring to.
The entire experience got me thinking...isn't that how it is with God? The God that we place in structures and containers and in certain people and so easily forget to seek in ourselves. Hasn't He always been the God of improv? The God that meets us where we are and uses what we have in ways we haven't even imagined?
There seems to be this new thing going on around us that has ancient roots.
It's all a temple. It's all holy. God wants to save the whole thing.
Don't you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you? God will destroy anyone who destroys this temple. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple.
1 Corinthians 3:16-17
May your days be filled with compassion, your faith remain strong and may growth be your compass.