Church experience #1 – Dec 31, 2010 / Jan 1, 2011
Can you really call this church?
OK, so my first church experience of 2011 for the churchsurfer blog wasn’t really a typical church service…it was a wedding/worship/New Year’s celebration. There’s only one church that I’ve ever been to that would not classify an event of this nature as “out of the ordinary” and that happens to be the church that it took place at – Word of Life Fellowship in Mi-Wuk Village, California. If you’re wondering why someone from Tennessee spent their New Year’s in a church in a tiny mountain town in the Sierra-Nevada’s, it was to see his sister get married (congratulations Simon & Julia). Even though this event was a wedding and a New Year’s celebration rolled into one, it was still most definitely church. The Word of Life congregation doesn’t really do anything without “churching things up” (I’ll get into that later), so for the purposes of the churchsurfer blog, I think this will be a relevant starting point.
New school meet old school
One of the more surprising realizations that I have had in my many traverses around the country is how similar places really are. The communities of Sonora, Twain Harte, and Mi-Wuk Village, California, are eerily similar to the small towns of Abingdon and Damascus, Virginia where I grew up. What I would (stereotypically) imagine most churches in California to be – casual, laid back congregations of surfer dudes and chicks – is most definitely not the case at Word of Life. It has more similarities with 1st Baptist Church of Damascus circa 1985…men always wearing suits and ties, cleanly shaved, well groomed, polite, and the women wearing skirts or dresses, modest and friendly. The people of Word of Life seem reserved at first introduction, yet their worship is anything but. I guess this is a great lesson in how outwardly appearance can cause you to completely misjudge things in so many facets of life. Had I drawn an initial conclusion about Word of Life Fellowship based on appearance I would have been way off base.