Emerging one cow at a time

A number of years ago a rancher acquaintance of mine found himself and a number of his cows in a predicament.   As he was moving cattle along the Cheyenne River in west central South Dakota seven cows wandered a bit too close to a steep bank and promptly slid down into the deep, brown water of the Cheyenne.  When his attempts to rope them from the bank and to go into the water on horseback failed to get the critters out, he went to plan B.  Having heard that his neighbor had recently bought a jet-ski, he quickly got the machine in the water.  He didn’t say whether he put the saddle on the machine, but within minutes he became perhaps the first cowboy to successfully rope and rescue a cow while astride a personal water craft.  No one taught him how to solve the challenge in the way he did, but it worked.

I’ve been thinking about his creative attitude while reading The Great Emergence: How Christianity is Changing and Why by Phyllis Tickle.  Tickle, a long-time religion editor for Publisher’s Weekly and an independent scholar herself argues that the Church – with a big C meaning the Church of Jesus Christ across denominations – is in a time of great change that hits the Church about every 500 years.   Five hundred years ago the upheaval was the Great Reformation, five hundred years before that the Great Schism when the one Church universal split into Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox, five hundred years before that the fall of the Roman Empire and the work of Pope Gregory the Great to save the story and traditions of the first five hundred years in the birth of the monasteries.  Five hundred years before that was the birth of the Church itself on Pentecost.

Of course there is no exact date to mark when everything changed. Even October 31, 1517 when Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the front door of Wittenberg Church was only a tipping point of forces that had been building for decades.  We can’t necessarily put a date on when things began to change around us, but I think Phyllis Tickle makes a good case that many things about the Christian tradition are in flux.

In times of Great Emergence, according to Anglican bishop Mark Dyer, there are always at least three consistent results.  “First, a new, more vital form of Christianity does indeed emerge.  Second, the organized expression of Christianity which up until then had been the dominant one is reconstituted into a more pure and less ossified expression of its former self…The third result is of equal, if not greater, significance, though.  That is, every time the incrustations of an overly established Christianity have been broken open, the faith has spread – and been spread—dramatically into new areas (Tickle p. 17).”

Change in culture and faith can indeed be daunting.  As we enter this season of commemorating the Great Reformation, let us not treat reforming as a dusty museum piece to be visited once per year.   Instead, by the grace of God, we enter the Reformations of our own time like the rancher faced with cows in the water.  Urgency and need often bring out our best creative responses, even when the response leaves us uncomfortably wet.  I invite you to join me in praying regularly for individuals and for denominational structures who find themselves driving boldly into new water .

Tickle, Phyllis.  The Great Emergence: How Christianity Is Changing and Why. Grand Rapids, Michigan: BakerBooks, 2008

Rap Group Climbs Rocks

This past Saturday (Oct. 16) the Custer Lutheran Fellowship “Rap Group” (known in other places by a more boring name like ‘High School Youth Group’) went rock climbing.  Special thanks to Jen, Scott and Kevin (for leading, guiding and sharing their rock climbing wisdom) as well as Sylvan Rocks (for their help providing much of the climbing equipment).  You can watch a video of the day or click HERE for a link to photos of the day…

B.E.A.T. Percussion Group Comes to CLF next Saturday

Kim Bejot will direct a family friendly concert at Custer Lutheran Fellowship on Saturday, October 23 at 6:30p.m.  Free-will offering will be taken to support the B.E.A.T. Percussion group.

Here’s a quick bio of Kim and the group…

Kim Bejot, Ainsworth, NE, loves junk!  She loves it so much that her favorite group is her junk percussion group, B.E.A.T.  Since 2001, B.E.A.T. has entertained various audiences of all ages and walks of life.  They have been featured at the Nebraska Governor’s Arts Awards, performed at AOSA, played at colleges, High Schools, Elementary Schools, Senior Citizen Centers, County Fairs, and many more.  Making some great sounds out of anything they can find, they have designed some very interesting songs.  Using cow bells, a cow skull, corn shakers, cream can, whip, cow spine, cob fork, signs, milk jugs, a squirt gun, 5 gallon buckets, storage containers, water cooler jugs, old soft drink containers, chains, railroad rail, crow bars, brake drums, shovels, oil cans, springs …. They know possibilities are endless!  In 2006 they recorded their first CD/book which includes many of their favorite songs.  Please join them for a family friendly concert on Saturday, October 23 (6:30 PM) at Custer Lutheran Fellowship.

CLF Sunday School Choir Hits ‘The Big Time’

A few weeks ago the “CLF Sunday School Choir” went to the recording studio and ‘laid down’ a couple of tunes which are just hitting the charts now.  Sunday School families (and others!) are encouraged to check them out on CLF’s website by clicking HERE.

You’ll find such favorites as “The Hippo Song,” “The B-I-B-L-E,” “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” and so many more!  You can listen to them on-line by clicking the “play” button below the song OR you can download them (one at a time) by clicking the “MP3 Download” button and make a CD or put them on your i-pod or mp3 player.

If you’re having trouble at all and would like a CD copy of the songs, let us know in the office… and enjoy listening to the music on the way to daycare or before bedtime or anywhere else!  (Special thanks to Linda Fennell for ‘managing’ the band as well as Hank Fridell for ‘producing’ the record).