Solomon's Porch: The Radicalness of a Church
(In this paper I explore the radicalness of my church community, Solomon’s Porch. I discuss the ways in which Solomon’s Porch structures itself and practices that lean into a radicalness of not being church in simply an improved way but in a wholly re-invented way. In typical Solomon’s Porch fashion, be sure to arrive to reading this paper 15 minutes late.)
My church, Solomon’s Porch, is truly a radical church. I don't say that to suggest that Solomon's Porch is better or worse than any other church. However, I do think that Solomon's Porch has particular structures and practices that are not just trying to change old ways of doing the church, but rather, are new altogether. These structures and practices include our architecture, polity, and liturgy (although we would prefer much different terms than those, but for the sake of this paper, I will utilize those terms). In this paper I will discuss the architecture, polity, and liturgy of Solomon’s Porch and how they contribute to a radical way of being church.
Many do not recognize how architecture plays into church structure, but architecture is foundational (pun intended) to church structure. Architecturally, on the outside, Solomon's Porch would not strike one as being radical. However, it is the architecture of our gathering space that fosters the possibility of a radical church. Instead of rows of pews or chairs, we utilize couches and other home furniture to structure our physical space. These couches and home furniture are designed in concentric circles so that wherever one sits, they can see all others and all others can see them. This architectural design lays the foundation for being church differently.
Second, Solomon’s Porch structures leadership somewhat differently than many other churches. We do not have clergy, council, or deacons. While we do have some paid staff, their roles function more as curators to organize different aspects of our community more effectively. Their roles, however, do not hold more power than anyone else in our community, paid staff or not. They simply organize people, events, and the energy needed that a non-paid staff person could not otherwise do. Included in our leadership structure are a number of groups that serve many roles for Solomon’s Porch. We have a financial group, a children’s activities group, an overall church vision group, and many more. All of these groups are self-selected. If one would like to contribute to any group, they can. They are not voted into a group and can leave at any time for any reason. Therefore, the leadership structure is not one where no one holds power. Rather, different people can hold different amounts of power at different times. There is always one or more people in power for whatever activity or group one leads; however, they may not always hold that position of power if they choose not to…
For more reading on Solomon’s Porch, check out these books by Doug Pagitt: