January 8 – LPC242: Life in a Not-cool Church


Some of you have heard of the Emergent Church. If you haven’t heard of it, don’t worry. You didn’t miss much. Post-modern, post-denominational, post-Evangelical, post-liturgical; once they figured out all the things they were post-, there wasn’t much left. Seriously, if you want to know more, there’s a Wikipedia article, and a decade ago some serious people (here and here) wrote about them.

Emergent churches were nothing if they were not cool, and the best thing about them was their names: Mars Hill, Solomon’s Porch, Quest, Epicenter, Water’s Edge, Reimagine. Among the frequently used names for emergent churches were those with 242 in them somewhere. The 242 Community, the 242 Village, Legacy 242, and Vintage 242. Get it? 242, of course, was an oblique reference to Acts 2:42, the description of the first church and how they “they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”

From the cool names to the hip pastor, to the culturally-sensitive 20-something congregation, to the conversations and gatherings that, for sure, were not sermons and worship services, the emergent church was cool.

Langhorne Presbyterian Church is not cool. Our name is boring, our pastor is not hip, our congregation spans every decade of life from the first to the tenth, we sit in pews, and, frankly, from the outside our sanctuary roof looks like the tail fin of a 1960 Cadillac.

We may not be cool, but LPC is definitely a 2:42 church. The photo in the header was taken last night during our Faith Acts (2:42) dinner. It’s not a great photo, but it is a great scene. After taking Christmas Eve and New Years Eve off, we were back for a Thursday evening of table fellowship, children’s choirs and activities, youth group, and adult classes. Sounds sort of Acts 2:42-ish. As happens fairly often these days, we had to set up an extra table or two at dinner, and you could taste the joy of the conversations around the table as much as you could taste the perfectly-seasoned sauce on the spaghetti and meat balls.

And then the children sang songs we’ll hear in worship and learned stories from the Bible. The youth played and worshiped and heard about the Living God who wants to be a part of their middle school and high school lives. The adults studied the first chapters of Genesis, that Kingdom Manifesto called the Sermon on the Mount, and wrestled with the meaning of worship in the life of the Christian and the church.

Thursday evenings at LPC are not cool in an emergent way. We sit in folding chairs around tables in the church basement. Our programs are not clever or hip. But maybe, emergents, our relationships are authentic and the questions raised in our classes are honest.

We may not be cool, but we are real. We are 2:42

Maybe we ought to rename our church LPC242. No, on second thought that sounds like the license plate number for a 1960 Cadillac.

Langhorne Presbyterian Church is not cool, and that’s kind of cool. By the way, it’s never a problem to set up an extra table or two on Thursday evenings. Why not join us?

See you Sunday.