I sampled three different... meaning-seeking-community-gatherings (since they weren't all trying to be church services) this Sunday morning. The current very-virtual world certainly lowers engagement friction, at least. I'm not searching to find a "new church home" or "fit" inside of a Christian denomination in the traditional sense, but I am interested in sense-making, community, and relationships.
First up, most of a recorded church service video from EastLake, where "life is a gift and love is the point". I've heard second-hand that this is a formerly-traditional protestant church that went through significant deconstruction and is now much more eschatologically spacious with a humanist (I think that's fair?) core plus mystic flexibility. I heard a hymn-like recasting of "I can see clearly now, the rain is gone" plus a few other original (to me) songs of the directly encouraging sort but without any conventional appeals to higher power nor "Jesus is my girlfriend" lyrics. Lyrics only, no singing heads. That was followed by a small guided meditation, and a sermon on an Enneagram type, which I did skip most of as I was running out of time. I think it could be very interesting to see a faith community that is intentionally going after the "community" part with the "faith" part left wide open - although I bet it loses something in the transition to video, as I imagine the exploration and seeking being very interpersonal.
Moving on from that recording, it was time for the livestream of Quest, our local church in Ballard. It's conventional - if EastLake is hypothetically led/ceiling'ed at around 4.5 on the Kegan model, then Quest is surely in the 3 to 3.5 region with most other conventional denominational churches, though they excel in diversity and in the SD-green family-of-humanity values. They tried a few weeks of video programming for the kids to replace Sunday School, but that didn't really work at all. They've fully mastered the Zoom-gallery-of-musicians effect on the TV next to the worship leader's head, but for some reason haven't done any lyrics. The "greet each other" (with a Facebook emoji in the livestream) time is still in the service order, as is communion - they really lifted the service experience as faithfully as they could.
Finally, I headed to the basement for the Liturgists' Sunday Thing consisting of Michael Gungor (yes, the former pop worship musician) and a few hundred friends on a Zoom call. It's been going for a few months, and this was my 3rd time attending. It loosely ties to their weekly podcast, though I haven't listened to podcasts regularly since my daily car commute ended. But it's a little sharing from the crowd, a little Q&A, and then 25 minutes in small groups. I've caught a "PNW" group a couple times now, and it's genuinely fun to take a prompt and dig into it with 4-5 fellow-seeker strangers for a while. I suppose that's made easier by the commonality of a heavy base of ex-vangelical deconstruction in that community, as that's the whole raison d'être of the podcast. I don't know where it will go, but I wouldn't be surprised by it turning into something a little bit closer to EastLake spread out across the world.