Because we have been frequently driving up to Minneapolis to go to church, I have been thinking lately that people must wonder: Why? What could make it worth the extra time and cost? Surely one would think that a family could get the same experience at another church...
Maybe. On the outside of things, there are the obvious reasons for making the trek. It is not lost on either of us that Michael absolutely loves the music (all the time), dancing and art (on hip hop Sundays). Then, of course, I am linked by the fact that I went to High School with the senior Pastor Efrem Smith.
Those things are nice, but would they keep us making the drive? Maybe that is more about Efrem's common sense approach which is a welcome breath of fresh air. His desire for improving North Minneapolis is sincere, as is his goal of racial reconciliation. He is not afraid to call it like it is. This mornings sermon was a good example. He addressed the article in the Star-Tribune today regarding ratio of suspension among black students. I won't cover details, but if you want you can listen to what he said at www.sanctuarycovenant.org .
Even with this, there is something more primal that calls me. It is returning to an area of diversity which was the world I knew growing up. It is the validation that a couple doesn't have to be at the same place in their faith to be in love, married, and happy. It is blending in, not being the "recognizable" family. It is the sense of sameness that we can't offer to Michael everyday. Yes, sometimes there is value in being "part of the crowd".