Holy Week with Joe Jonas
Jonathan Parks-Ramage has written for publications like VICE, OUT Magazine, and Atlas Obscura. Last year he spent several months with a church called Reality L.A.
Here’s how he frames what he experienced:
How, in famously liberal Hollywood and among statistically progressive millennials, had good old-fashioned evangelism gained popularity? In this context, a church like Reality L.A. seemed like something that could never work. […] Yet as I spent more time at the church, I found myself questioning the very foundation of my own identity.
The article is a fascinating case study of how an “outsider” experiences evangelical subculture. The results can be quite funny. For instance, Parks-Ramage describes the church’s style of worship music as “Imagine Dragons meets Carrie Underwood at the end of a Nicholas Sparks movie.”
More than anything, though, the article is an encouraging example of how gospel-centered churches can flourish in secular, “post-Christian” cities. My impression is that the Spirit of God was/is remarkably present in this church. And Parks-Ramage, an (admittedly) non-religious journalist, could not help but be enriched as he explored the community and was provoked to re-consider his own beliefs. It’s the presence of Jesus that makes all the difference.
There are a lot of church activities in the coming weeks (detailed below and in the announcements). These are great opportunities for reflection, formation, and community. But that’s not the reason why we gather together. We’re there for Jesus. Or, better, Jesus is there for us. He will hear our cries on Palm Sunday. He will share a meal with us on Maundy Thursday. He will die – alone and unmasked – on Good Friday. And he will rise victorious for our sake on Easter Sunday. It’s his presence that makes all the difference.
Palm Sunday (4/14): We’ll worship at 10am at the Phillips Event Center. We’ll start the service outside for the Liturgy of the Palms.
Maundy Thursday (4/18): We’re worshiping with Christ Church at 6:30 pm at their 112 Medina Street property. Childcare is available for ages 5 and under.
Good Friday (4/19): In lieu of a traditional service, we’re gathering in homes around Austin for a (simple) service and a meal. Sign-up here to let us know where you will attend!
Easter Sunday (4/21): Worship at 10am at the Phillips Event Center with Alleluias, baptisms, and maybe even sheet cake.
Men’s Retreat (4/26-27): Lent is over. Let the good times roll! Join the men from COTC at Camp Buckner for our annual retreat. Register here.
Singing Carrie Underwood with all of you,