What Makes a Good Meal?

Matthew Anderson’s new book, The End of Our Exploring, has me thinking about questions and questioning. Here’s one question I’ve been asking myself recently:

What makes a good meal?

Wait, let me back up …

Five months ago I joined the staff of my church for the last nine years, Irving Bible Church. I soon found that I’d walked into the middle of a number of ongoing conversations, one of which was about our worship services — specifically, their audience, objective(s), design, and execution.

In the midst of this particular conversation, we heard from someone who framed their worship services as something like “a family meal with guests present.” There’s something to that phrase, certainly, and it’s a helpful frame for the saints-versus-seekers debate. And yet, the metaphor begs the question (at least in my mind): What makes a good meal?

In other words, what does the family need to eat, week in and week out, in order to grow and thrive and all that?

This is the question that has my cerebral hamster wheel turning these days (even though it’s not exactly my job as the Communications Pastor to answer it). The question even prompted me to pick up James K.A. Smith’s Desiring the Kingdom at the recommendation of some colleagues, and the book has proved to be a dense and fascinating read.

I’m terrible at proper book reviews, but suffice it to say that Smith connects our liturgies (sacred and secular) to the shaping of our desires. Worship practices, whether we’re at church or at the mall, teach us to love and desire something, a particular articulation of “the good life.” And so once again I’m asking what should be served at the family meal. What corporate worship practices will best shape the IBC community into the sort of disciples God would have us become?

It’s a big question, and I think it’s a good question. I imagine it’s a question that I and my cronies at IBC will ask often in the months and years to come. If you have any insights, I’d love to hear them. Or if you’re content to simply pray for us in our questioning, I’d appreciate that too.

Now that I’ve shared my question, I’d like to share another link to Matthew Anderson’s The End of Our Exploring. Matthew is a friend and a Moody label-mate, so it’s my pleasure to tell you about his new book and a pretty great opportunity:

If you buy the book by Friday, Moody will send a free digital copy of the book to one person of your choosing. Buy one, give one — it’s that simple. Get the details here.

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