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Thinking the Faith, Praying the Faith, Living the Faith is written by the PC(USA) Office of Theology and Worship.

Thinking, praying, and living the faith is at the core of ministry in the Office of Theology and Worship. In the following videos, learn more about what thinking, praying, and living the faith means to the leadership of the Office of Theology and Worship. Discover why it matters and what difference it makes in our lives, work, and worship.  

Charles Wiley  
Barry Ensign-George
David Gambrell
Christine Hong 
Karen Russell

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August 7, 2013

An Extended Ecclesial Analogy

Don’t stop me if you’ve heard this.  It bears repeating.

Once upon a time a group of people gathered concerned about the number of lives lost due to shipwrecks off their coast.  Whenever there was a storm, they gathered on the shore watching for any signs of people needing rescue.  When they saw someone perishing, they formed a human chain to pull them to safety. 

Soon someone suggested they build a small lighthouse to warn sailors of the dangerous rocks.  “At the same time,” someone else said, “let’s build a fireplace in the bottom of the lighthouse so that those who are rescued, as well as those who are rescuing, can come out of the cold and  be warmed. 

“Good idea!” agreed another.  But while we’re at it, let’s put in a small kitchen where we can make soup for everyone, too.

“And we’ll need storage for blankets as well,” another said. 

 The lighthouse was built.  Thanks to its warning light less people needed rescuing.  But those who were perishing received such solicitous care that the local paper wrote the little lighthouse mission up as a huge success.  Soon, everyone wanted to be part of this important mission of rescuing those adrift at sea.

 Over the years, as the lighthouse mission grew, they had to build a bigger kitchen and gathering area so that everyone had a place to sit and eat and watch and wait.  Soon comfy couches replaced the rugged handmade benches.  Someone donated a TV.  They enjoyed one another’s company so much that they had a grand time together, playing cards and ping pong. 

After a while, though, they forgot their primary mission.  One day a man showed up at their door soaking wet and bedraggled, having dragged himself ashore after a storm smashed his boat against the rocks. 

 “EEEEWWW!” a woman screeched.  “Get him out of here before he moldies up the carpet.”  

This is the founding story of Elite Country Club.   

I leave you to draw your own conclusions.  

Tags: church, ecclesiology, mission