In Defense of the Cafeteria

Sarah Bessey has a thought-provoking article in Prodigal Magazine: “In Defense of the Cafeteria” [approach to church and spiritual growth]. An excerpt:

I got my start in the small organic faith churches of western Canada, and it was good, but I needed the kind conservative Southern Baptist pastors’ wives I discovered in my early twenties, and I needed the Mennonites to teach me about pacifism and thrift, and I needed the mega-church’s passion, and I needed the newly-reformed friends, and I needed the mysticism of my charismatic roots, and I needed the desert Abbas and Ammas.

I needed Lectio Divina, a labyrinth, liturgy, and the Jesus Prayer, I needed my Bible, and my friend Tez in Australia, and I needed the Book of Common Prayer. I needed the established theologians, and poets, and the up-and-coming bold bloggers, I needed the emerging church, and now I need my little community Vineyard. I need happy-clappy Jesus music, and I need the old hymns I sing into the cavern of the bathtub while I wash these small tiny souls in my care, and I need Mumford and Sons, too. I needed my husband’s seminary textbooks and discussions, and I needed big hairy worship anthems in stadiums with light shows, and then, when I didn’t, I needed empty cathedrals, pubs, the Eucharist every week, open fields, and church outside of the lines, and I need it all, still, always, I hold it all inside.

A great reminder that the Church is a diverse body with a rich history, and that wise leaders will recognize there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all spiritual formation.

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