Why Tapestry?

January 25, 2015
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As a new church planter, I’ve thought up the name of my church. That name is Tapestry. But why that name? Well allow me to share with you info another brother put together in a blog that I just read to serve as the background of the word from a biblical standpoint, and then I’ll layout my reasoning.

“Have you ever compared the front and back of a tapestry? The front of a tapestry is art. In the hands of a skilled weaver it displays incredible artistry and fine detail. The world’s best art museums collect the world’s best tapestries and display them there as examples of a rare but beautiful form of art.

The back of a tapestry is a mess. A tapestry is made by weaving together different-colored threads, and the images and designs are created by the interplay between the different colors and textures. What is clear on the front is opaque on the back. The back shows something of the image, but it looks more like a child’s attempt than a master’s: it lacks nuance and clarity and detail. Where the front is smooth, the back is covered in knots and loose ends.

We are meant to see and admire the front of the tapestry, not the back.”

My Reasoning

My aunt is what I’d call a master crotchet. She’s showcased her skills for years in Christmas and birthday gifts. Some of her gifts have resulted in a vast array of multicolored yarn all beautifully put together and presented as one unit. (Hope you see where this is going.) So in steps a good dear friend of mine who pastors a church in Atlanta. He and I begin to discuss something’s that been bothering us. He has taken the time to verbalize it much better than I as we both agonized over this inner angst that we can’t seem to shake. Nor can we seem to stop talking about it. It’s clear – God has given us this turmoil to wrestle over and find a biblical theme throughout the text before we travel too far down this rabbit hole.

Over the years I’ve seen something very troubling within the Christian church in the Western world. We love Jesus, or say we do, but only if he’s the right color or singing the right songs. I by no means am kidding. I attended a church where the church fans had a black Jesus, and it was deliberate. I’ve also attended a church where only small country white folks would feel comfortable with the worship songs. And yet, not much is said about these clear, intentional doings as far as it regards the people of God and the lost.

I was once called to be a youth pastor at a church in a city where the racial tension was incredibly thick like fog and divided by a railroad track. Sounds harmless. Until I was asked to drive around this small city to get a feel for it, and then purposely asked to be the guy to bring black folks to this all white church. Stunned wasn’t even the word. These folks hadn’t attempted to go love on their neighbors. Just expected me to. They hadn’t cared enough for their souls eternally, but expected me to. A conundrum is the closet word I can use to describe my feelings.

So now here I stand. A Black man who has intentionally chosen to attend predominantly or all white churches to help both them and myself get past so many known and unknown barriers in order to live amongst and love one another because of the gospel. Hence the name, tapestry.

Church is and can be an ugly place, though most wouldn’t admit it. A place that’s supposed to be friendly and nice for the sake of appearance on the outside, but on the inside it can be shocking. No, I’m not referring to a building, I’m referring to a culture that’s created by the community. My goal is to see multiple people groups with all of their baggage to show up in the same building same time same day to see the gospel read, sung, prayed, preached, and fleshed out in our words and actions. I want these cultural nuances to blend in while standing out. This is the crucial and oft-forgotten difference between terms like transcultural vs diverse and multicultural. I don’t people groups’ quirks to disappear; I want other groups to strive to understand them. For instance, I didn’t grow up on casserole meals. But having been a member at several Anglo churches I now realize that casserole meals are a given whenever food is the subject. Switch that to a Black church and you get fried chicken or bbq. These are the things I don’t want put to the side.

Tapestry is a name that I hope will spell to the members and visitors that we are intentionally serious about letting you be who you are as long as the root identity is found in Christ Jesus through the gospel empowered by the Spirit as we honor the imago dei God gave us.

Anything else would be uncivilized, lol.


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