Sunday the 7th of August had me going to Shoreline Church for a special theatrical performance by Jim Miles preforming John the Apostle. I am a HUGE fan of storytelling, especially when there’s full makeup and a Bible story, so I was absent from the Hill yet again. They don’t even bother staying up anymore. This saddens me a little.
Shoreline was the first megachurch I had heard of here in Austin, mainly because it was right around the corner from where I living when I first moved here and secondly because you couldn’t pass a car without one of their bumper stickers on it (which is only slightly better than the little white apples or My child is an Honor Student at [that school]).
Located North near the Howard Lane / Wells Branch area, Shoreline features a nursery, a school, a sanctuary that seats about a thousand easily, a coffee shop that feature Starbucks (the Green tea Chai was just the thing I wanted to see early Sunday morning), a book store with a full array of books, videos and CD’s from the pastoral and worship staff, and a children’s area with a ship coming out of the wall (which was the last thing I was prepared to see first thing Sunday morning before my tea)
This church is also different in that I wasn’t the only black person there… this was a multicultural church and it showed all through… from the blonde wearing the sari to the near gospel worship, to the female Hispanic Associate Pastor from the south campus who came for the service. Even for the size, the fact that I wasn’t ‘the only one’ gave me comfort. It was still huge, though.
Jim Miles, an actor and storyteller, then appeared on the stage as John the Beloved, sitting at his desk on the island Patmos, greeting the thousands to come to see him.
“You know you’re an old man when a thousand people can sneak up on you…” it was met with a laugh and then to the story of the Gospel from a good source…
“Because I was there”
And for a moment, just after the Justin Bieber joke (don’t ask), I believed him and he took me there with him, as good theater should.
It took me back to one of things I missed about the [cult]Church. Every year we would trek to the District Convention, where one looks mainly to find a mate, perhaps get baptized and/or listen to sermons for 8 hours a day for three days. The highlight, other than baptism on Sat morning(because you were something if you got baptized at the District Convention), was the Drama on Sunday afternoon.
A full makeup production, it told a story of a Witness in a modern day dilemma that reflected a bible principle (‘good association’, ‘moral cleanliness’ and the like). Then the bass toned narrator would chime in and intro the Bible story that illustrated the point of how we as Witnesses should act. It was heavy handed, but it was designed to be that way and I enjoyed it because it was a story, like the Bible.
And as everyone knows, I am a sucker for a good story.