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I have enough of an ego to be flattered at being quoted in last week’s cover story (“Sects Appeal,” 4/6). I also have enough of an ego and more than enough love of my community, Seekers Church, and the universal Body of Christ to be offended by the portion of my sermon taken out of context in profiling our church as a place to observe Easter. Seekers is made out to be a church observing free love.
How many of you would be surprised to find out that my sermon was about the effects on people of faith because of Hurricane Katrina and came from the Scripture readings for the week? Seekers Church is an intentional Christian community in the tradition of Church of the Saviour, putting love of Christ and service to the least of us at the core of its beliefs. We do have an open pulpit, but our sermons are far from frivolous. We are not looking for “the next great preacher”—we are looking for honest reflection of how Christ is at work in the lives of real people, mostly in our own congregation but also in places as diverse as the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange and Bokamoso Life Center of Winterveld, South Africa. We follow the liturgical year and each new season write challenging liturgies that follow an order of worship that would be recognized by church attenders of many Christian sects.
Had I been asked for permission to print what you did before you went to press I would not have done so. I hope that you will see fit to print this and rectify the incomplete and false image of a wonderful Christian community here in D.C.
I was excited when I saw Seekers Church in Takoma mentioned and quickly disappointed when it was categorized as a “warm fuzzies” church. I found it offensive that Aaron Leitko selected Sandra Miller’s 2005 sermon titled “Time for Reflection” and quoted it so out of context that it sounds like some kind of sexual free-for-all. I can only assume he wrote his little catchy phrase “many of the sermons home in on the church’s permissive vibe” and then most likely typed a few keywords into a search engine looking for a juicy passage to validate it. The church believes in transparency, which is one reason it posts the sermons on the Web for all to see and free to use. I’m glad that Mr. Leitko found our sermons so amusing, but he shouldn’t mistake our commitment to Christ.
If I were a person who believed everything I saw in print, I might not have gone to Seekers Church after reading Leitko’s article because he makes it look like some New Age, feel-good church that would not feed my soul. Seekers Church isn’t “forever seeking the next great preacher”—it has a tradition of open pulpit. The difference between the two is night and day. Church members ask to preach, and they speak from the heart. They study and reflect, bring concerns and issues, and they make us think about our place in the world. Seekers doesn’t have a pastor on staff; we believe we can minister to each other. Seekers isn’t for everyone, and that’s fine, but if you’re looking for a loving, Christian community that supports you spiritually and nurtures you more than just on Sunday mornings and seeks God in all the right and wrong places, then this might be the right place to be.
Finally, if Mr. Leitko is so wrong about Seekers Church, how wrong was he about the other churches? His tongue-in-cheek style is amusing but completely off target. Perhaps he should spend a little more time in church instead of his office.