Friday, June 04, 2010

I want roots!

It has been a weird day internally. During Luke's nap I watched The Boondock Saints II and wished I was Irish. Mowing the lawn I listened to the Dropkick Murphy's - an Irish punk band, and really wished I was Irish (so I could say cool words like 'lassie' and not sound stupid). Honestly, being Irish is just one dream. In reality, I just want to be something. I've been told I'm part Dutch (my mom's maiden name is Dutch), part Scottish (Waugh is of Scottish origin), part Native American (from my paternal grandmother and maternal grandmother, but not of the same tribes), and I'm sure there's a few more things thrown in there for good measure. In other words, I'm so much I'm nothing. I don't have any roots or heritage I can claim.

I even find it hard to claim a hometown. I hate it when people ask where I'm from. Born in New York, lived for seven years in Florida, back to New York till I graduated from college. From there it was Missouri, Pennsylvania, Chicago, back to Pennsylvania and then, lastly (and hopefully for av very long time) Indiana. Am I a Yankee? A Hoosier? I lived in New York for 15 years total, more than anywhere else, but I hate the freakin Yankees.

Theologically, my muttness is also annoying. I wish I was still Baptist. I grew up a Baptist, was on staff at a Baptist Church in PA. But I'm a paedobaptist at heart, and in practice. So no Baptist church would hire me know (not that I'm looking). I went to a Wesleyan College. I'm not Wesleyan by any stretch of the imagination. I attended a CMA church while there, but wouldn't fit in that church context now. After that, went on to an Evangelical free church and an Evangelical Free Church Seminary (Trinity). I loved the church and the seminary, but again, I'd be denied ordination or employment in the denomination.

Over the years I've grown to consider myself Reformed (growing from an inconsistent Calvinist to a more consistent Calvinist to a full blown Reformed guy). I'm currently pursuing a ThM from a Reformed (PCA) seminary, but it's hard to consider myself a part of that denomination, or any other Reformed denomination. I have no history (and I doubt I have any future) in them. Besides being Reformed, I also have charismatic leanings. That's like mixing a German Shepherd and a Chihuahua.

Maybe that's why I love ECC. We're a mutt church. Not everyone is as mutt as me - certainly not ethnically and not theologically either. But at ECC we bring together Koreans, Kenyans, Colombians, Singaporeans, Malaysians, Brits, and people from all over the US. We blend people from Anglican/Episcopalian, Missionary Alliance, Baptist, Wesleyan, Catholic, Presbyterian, CRC, AOG, and more. The church, the one body, is mutt - and it's beautiful.

At the same time, ECC is a church of rootless people. Most in the church aren't Bloomingtonians. Even those who are haven't been here for generations (unlike the church we served in rural Western, PA). So I'm not alone in my rootlessness. We don't have roots, but we all need roots. What are we to do? Find deep roots in being a part of the ancient people of God. Certainly we trace our roots theologically back to the Reformation. That's pretty good - a 500 yr. heritage. We can and should learn and rely more on these roots. But it get's better. We stand in the stream of orthodox Christianity that stretches back to Anselm, Augustine, Irenaeus, Ignatius, Clement, Origin, Tertullian, Polycarp, John, Peter and Paul. Now that's a 2000 yr. heritage, and quite an impressive family tree. But, if we take our cues from Hebrews 11, we realize that as the people of God, our roots do deeper still - all the way to Abraham - even back to Seth, if not Adam and Eve.

Ok, I still want to be Irish, or something. I want some fest to celebrate! But that's a passing (odd) desire. The realization that I'm not rootless and not floating isn't necessarily new, but increasingly precious.

1 comment:

MBK said...

Great thoughts, Dan. I've been thinking along these lines lately. I've been back and forth from my childhood home to my Bloomington home a lot this past month and feeling a bit caught between the two. It helps to realize that in Christ, home and family are bigger concepts than particular places and just a handful of people.