The First Church of Chuck E. Cheese

Posted: June 8, 2011 in Faith, Friends and Family, My Faves, Raw Faith, The Church

 1:35 am 6/8/11

This blog post was originally written several years ago. Since then I’ve become even more committed to really being a part of the body of Christ and taking “church” outside of the walls of the big American religious machine. One on one or a few at a time, real life and meaningful relationships can happen as we care for each other. Every week I enjoy the joy of fellowship in all sorts of unexpected places…

Sunday, June 17, 2007 (1:20 am)
The First Church Of Chuck E. Cheese

Current mood: contemplative Category: Religion and Philosophy

Yesterday I met one of my friends at Chuck E. Cheese. For the uninitiated, this is a pizza parlor/video game/play area designed to overstimulate anyone who walks through the door in less than 30 seconds… Not to mention the huge furry rodent mascot walking around like Micky Mouse at Disneyland. It would not be our normal hangout. We normally meet at a great Thai place. But she has 3 young sons, and since her ex-husband moved out of the area, we haven’t been able to work out the logistics of an adult only visit. I thought the kids might enjoy a chance to pig out on pizza and play games till their eyes glazed over. They did seem to have fun. They would come running over occasionally with a handful of tickets they won on one game or another.

In the mean time their mom and I talked about life, love, suffering, weird experiences we’ve had lately, growing relationships, and our current need to deal with the hurt from our past. We also talked about connecting with God, the state of the church in America, being reminded about what was important through unexpected circumstances. She had just received a study bible in the mail that her ex had left behind with a bunch of her other stuff, when they had to move. It contained her study notes from her time in Bible school. The person who had it found her parents address inside it and sent it back years later. It was very timely for her to get it back in this season of her life. We also talked about the qualities in a pastor that are wonderful when they have them. She made a great point about being in a few churches when she was young where she had a sense that the pastor really cared for the congregation and took his time preparing to speak to the congregation seriously… and he cared for the people in his care. In our modern Christian subculture of hipness and humongous religious machines, I think we’ve lost that sense of family and connectedness. We looked at some books I just picked up for a lending library, and picked out a couple for her to take home and enjoy. Four hours later, the kids had finally glazed over, their game tokens were gone and it was time to cash in their winning tickets for giant bugs and Tootsie rolls and get going. I left feeling like we had our very own church service. We were the body of Christ.

I spent a lot of years working in churches and was amazed at how we kept getting caught up in a bunch of useless religious activity which took up precious time and resources and drained any energy that we could have used to make a real difference in each other’s lives and in the community. That could be ranting for a whole different blog. But as I’ve been growing older I realize that we ARE the church. The big machine might not ever get it. (Although I will continue to be a painful thorn in the side of the machine.) But my life can make a difference to the people I encounter. And their lives can also help transform mine. The church might overlook the single mom… but I have a choice that I can make. In the long run, I want my friends kids to know that there are people who love Jesus who also love them, and who love their mommy and who are committed to walking through the world with her. In that journey I’m happy to worship with her at the first church of Chuck E. Cheese.

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