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Open Mic Night Reveals God-With-Us

By Brother Tom Carroll

Photograph of Emcee Bob Kloos, talking into a microphone.
Emcee Bob Kloos: “Be open
to the Spirit.”

Maria Smith asks her questions to the church institution at the open mic.
Maria Smith: “Why did
you close Dom Helder’s

Photograph of Mary Englert smiling as she jokes at the microphone.
Wise woman Mary Englert
adds perspective, humor.

If I could talk to the institutional Church, what would I say? This simple question received a multiplicity of diverse answers from the 60 or so people who gathered on April 29 for FutureChurch’s first ever “open mic night” at Sweetwater Landing in Lakewood, Ohio. As we listened and reflected, I believe we came to recognize that God was truly present in the assembly.

Each individual response indicated a sense of hope, a sense of reaching out, a sense of frustration, a sense that the Holy Spirit is in each one of us.

Some folks would ask the popes and bishops about their personal relationships with women, their mothers and sisters. They would ask the Church to give up all their wealth and help the destitute. Another would tell them to look to the children in our schools who know truly what is needed to be Christian. Someone else would ask that the Church re-examine its history and to review all of their “good books” which have been excluded.

Another would ask about the closure of a seminary in Brazil in direct mission with the people. One person questioned that if the hierarchy takes no action and pays no attention, then might we, the lay people, be the leadership of the church in the not-so-distant future? We may prevail simply because we are the only ones left.

There is much about the Church that we have lived with, rightly and wrongly. Some spoke of the need for our leadership to have greater understanding of the gay community. We were encouraged to continue to be nurturing in our roles, whatever they may be. Perhaps it is best summed up in one person’s sharing of “Letters to God”: Dear God, I am doing the best I can. Is that enough? Truly, God wouldn’t ask for any more.

Bob Kloos, our emcee for the evening, encouraged us to continue to pray and to reflect, to be open to the Holy Spirit working within us, the Sensus Fidelium. The event brought together many passionate expressions and compassionate experiences. We didn’t necessarily solve anything but, we did listen respectfully and with a sense of hope. We left with the reaffirmation that we, the people, are the Church…we need to continue challenging the structures. (The author is a member of the FutureChurch board of trustees and the chair of the program committee).

Focus on FutureChurch

Spring 2008


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