We moved to New Orleans nearly nine months ago for a number of reasons. Primarily it was a job move. The group i had been with in Macon Georgia wasn't really a good match for me, and it finally became clear in a partner's meeting that it was time for me to move on, all in a very friendly tone. I certainly wish them the best as they continue taking care of the worthy people of Middle Georgia! One of my best friends, and one of the brightest neurosurgeons of my generation, is still there taking care of brain aneuysms with that group.
How much i love my job at LSU, (and how obsessive i am about it) is topic for another day, but tonight i'm thinking about other reasons we moved to New Orleans. While we were in Macon, we were deeply involved in a project officially named "Elias Community Church." It was originally intended to be a church (hence the name), but the IRS thought it was a little to "outside the box" and decided it was a "religious organization," still tax exempt, but needing a little more oversight. Then it came under the rubric of the Southern Baptists, and none of that really mattered anymore.
In a sense, all of that information is a set of "stubs" for future posts. Right now, i'm just trying to set the stage to mention the other thing that brought us to New Orleans. Elias Community, as it was known, was an attempt at an intentional christian community. It was situated on the edge of an impoverished area in Macon, and it wasn't too far from Mercer University. Several students lived there, and some pastor-types, and our family. We got to know the neighborhood children (although they kept moving in and out all the time!), and our previous church from florida sent a youth team to do VBS.
My father-in-law, a semi-retired minister, and his wife, are still there, and one of our students has stayed on. The issues run deep though. The institution we call church doesn't always impact the core rythms of life. It is difficult to read about the life and teachings of Christ and see mandate for an institution. A group here, called Communitas New Orleans, affiliated with Church Resource Ministries (CRM) is dealing with a lot of these same issues, and we have been priviledged to come alongside and learn much from their journey. I hope over coming months to share some of what we have learned in Macon, and what we are learning from our new friends.
5 hours ago