Monday, July 13, 2009

Ohio Trip 1: A House Church in Beaver Creek

Wow, what a full 24 hours!

I'll have to split this up into a couple of posts...there's too much!

My first night in the Cincinnati area brought me to Beaver Creek, a subdivision of the east side of Dayton, where I met with a small group of folks loosely connected with the Xenos Fellowship of Columbus. This group is one of two or three remote satellites of the main network of churches based about an hour to the northeast.

I had a pleasant time with the folks I met there. The host family was out of town, so some folks were missing (that's the downside to traveling in the summer to meet groups like this, but hey, I'm a school teacher--it's the only time I've got!) It's too bad I missed meeting Clem, one of the group's leaders, cause he's a writer, too. Before I left, they swiped me a copy of his book What Does God Want Me to Do? which I intend to read at some point soon, and maybe comment on as I go.

Betty, our facilitator for the evening, led the discussion, which took us through a passage in Galatians 4. She had some thought-provoking insights into what we read, and the comments and discussion which resulted was substantive and seemed to issue from real experience. I didn't really hear any canned answers like you sometimes get in a meeting like this, and the folks in the group seemed to be genuinely walking the path of wrestling with the meaning of the text and its effect on their lives.

I was encouraged and exhorted to consider how both giving to others and allowing others the opportunity to give are marks of maturity. Just like a parent always has an eye towards shaping their children into contributing members of the kingdom of God, so mature believers consider how they can enable and encourage others to give and function--even if that means allowing them to give to you. Graciously receiving can be so much harder than being on the giving end! That takes a bit more presence of mind, doesn't it? Haven't you struggled before with allowing others to do for you--give to you--without giving in to the compulsion to make it up to them (so you can be "even")? Hmmm. Solid stuff.

So in the end I found the discussion helpful and the conversation afterwards challenging (in a good way). They asked me lots of questions about the church group that I meet with, and had some instructive, helpful suggestions to make which I appreciated.

I'll visit the "mother church" of this group next week and I'm sure I'll have plenty to report as that experience unfolds. In my next post, I'll try to capture the visit I had with the next group, Apex. But int he meantime...

O. M. G.

Anyone who has ever traveled between Dayton and Cincinnati knows about the Touchdown Jesus (see below).



This baby is a 60 foot tall, gargantuan monument to religious excess (IMHO) like I've rarely seen. It's HUGE. Makes you almost run off the road trying to take it in. Sheesh.

Bless their hearts ;-)

4 Comments:

Blogger Mike Morrell said...

Very nice! I look forward to hearing about your experiences with Apex, Vineyard Central, and ..?

10:58 AM  
Blogger nikitazden said...

I know some folks who were apart of Xenos. I'm visiting them in a few weeks, actually.

12:49 PM  
Blogger J. Samuel Thomas said...

Which Galatians 4 passage?

4:01 PM  
Blogger Neil said...

Mike: the other churches are Xenos in Columbus and Grace Gathering in Ft. Wayne, IN. I'm also meeting with a couple of unrelated house church groups along the way...

Nikita: Who are your former Xenoid friends?

Johnny: It was verses 12-20, where Paul seems to gauge the Galatians' spiritual temperature by noting a change in their willingness to be helpful or receptive to him.

4:36 PM  

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