How do you like your eggs?
“How do you like your eggs?”
Richard Gere’s character in Runaway Bride asks Julia Roberts’ character this simple question. The funny part is she doesn’t have a clear answer. Roberts’ character has been in many serious relationships that haven’t made it to “I do.” The town has given her the nickname “Runaway Bride.” Gere is a reporter who has heard the story of this runaway bride, and with curiosity comes to meet this girl incapable of taking the plunge. He interviews her, and those in the small town she lives in. She is once again engaged and the whole town wonders if she will run again. Of course the inevitable love story is that Gere falls in love with this impossible woman and wants to help her move beyond her commitment fears. He begins to notice that in every relationship she’s in, she orders her eggs based on what her partner orders. The eggs become a metaphor for her trying to fit into the other person’s life, whether hard-boiled or over-easy. She’s never taken the time to figure out how she actually likes her eggs – or her life.
I’m in just such a season of discerning menu choices, and it isn’t as easy as I thought it would be.
How do I like my eggs at church?
I’m excited to be launching a new faith community, and I’m finding the question of what her shape is going to look like a lot harder than I expected. As I’m getting to know the existing community and all of our new folks, I keep asking what they would want worship to look like. I’ve come to realize in these conversations is that, when it comes to style of church, I haven’t figured out exactly what I myself like. I know what feels wrong and doesn’t work, but creating something that actually inspires me – and folks like me – is hard.
To push the metaphor further than anyone should – how am I an egg chef for others when I don’t even know how I like my eggs???
In churches past, I’ve always appreciated the tradition and history of the congregation I’ve served in; I seek to honor the shape of worship they’ve been engaged in. I might make adjustments to fit a musical or liturgical shape better, but it isn’t towards how I would want a gathering to look, necessarily.
I love liturgy when it’s done well, but doing it to just do it doesn’t create space for people who are new to church and church gatherings.
Having the blank canvas of a restart is one of the greatest challenges I’ve ever had. The existing community has been worshiping with hymns and liturgy, but not in a very formal way. They’ve been singing hymns together led by an accompanist; they have had a bell choir and a choir made up of folks from different churches. All of these have their benefits and gifts. I am just not sure how to make an omelet with all these offerings. I am not even sure if we have the right ingredients.
So – once again – how do I figure out what church should look like, in my place and context?
I think I’m going to do what Julia Roberts would do (WWJRD); I’m going to try different eggs and be honest with others that that is what we’re doing.
We’re going to have to crack a lot of eggs to get to the bottom of it but I hope people will be patient as we figure out what this could look like.
Who knows: maybe we’ll discover that – in everything from French toast to egg rolls – our favorite recipe is the one we least expected!