A young adult ministry, based on actually doing what Jesus did most: eating, serving, and leading.
What happens at The Living Room?
This is kind of a house church situation, only instead of a house, we have a little room in a church (almost no one we know is able to afford housing here, so USSJ’s location next to City Hall is a real asset).
It’s a potluck, but if you can’t bring anything you’re welcome anyway. We have dinner together and play games, like puzzles or MarioKart (yeah buddy, old school). Then, we grab our notebooks (provided) and walk around the neighborhood for about an hour. Then we do it again next week.
What do you believe?
We believe in blending passionate commitment to God with the grateful humility to question our beliefs. We seek to be more like Jesus by doing what he did, rather than believing what we’re told to believe. We don’t think anyone’s going to hell, or that God hates anyone, or that people of other religions need to change their minds. If you want to put us in some kind of box, we are somewhat aligned with the Emerging Church, ideologically speaking. (This book is a good start too, if you’re a reading/writing learner.)
Who can come?
Meeting people in Silicon Valley is hard. Most of the people you meet are at work, but it’s not like you can really have Ultimate Meaning Conversations by the break room fridge. There’s not a lot of spare time for socializing. It’s especially hard if you’re young, new in town, or not in tech.
So we’re not tryna exclude anyone (Jesus wasn’t about that). But most Sunday mornings if you go to church, you’ll find that the over-45 crowd is well-represented. This ministry is specifically aimed at people who have a hard time finding their People in Silicon Valley–so, the 45-and-unders, roughly.
You don’t need to be a member of Urban Sanctuary, and we’re not going to pressure you to join. The point here is to create a locus of relationship and service, not to get more butts in the pews.
This is an open and affirming space, and we’re committed to social justice. That means that the intersections of race, class, gender and privilege will not only be discussed, but that our interactions with one another and the community will be conducted with these in mind. Obviously hate will not be tolerated; what’s more challenging is creating a space that does not reflect the dominant (white, straight, patriarchal) culture. We can do this, but only if we work together!
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re planning on coming, so we can make sure to have enough food!
When is it?
Starting on September 8, every Sunday from 6:30-8:30 pm, just off the Sanctuary. You may park in the lot next door.
NOTE: The week of 9/22, we will be hosting a Living Room for the Youth Climate Strike on Friday, 9/20, instead of meeting Sunday, 9/22. Pastor Lauren will be at USSJ on Friday from 3-6 in the Living Room space with water, snacks and support. If you’d like to help staff this special event, please email Lauren at email@example.com.
What should I bring?
It’s a potluck, so anything you like! Bring a casserole. Bring cookies. Bring bread. Bring iced tea. Whatever. We’ll have at least one vegetarian, and she’ll bring a vegan option.
You should wear comfy shoes and maybe a sweater, because we will be walking after dinner. Donations are always welcome too, especially to help defray childcare costs.
Special thanks to Brianna and Alisha Morales for the official Living Room logo!
Want to see the whole thing? Here’s the Epic Outline….
Eat. Serve. Lead.
The three things Jesus did the most, are the basis of our walk of faith today.
There is nothing better for human beings than to eat, drink, and experience pleasure in their hard work. I also saw that this was from God’s hand…Ecclesiastes 2:24, CEB
‘Bring them here to me,’ he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.Matt. 14:18-21 NIV
Jesus eats a lot in the New Testament. It comes up again and again. He eats with his disciples all the time, but he also eats with tax collectors and sinners; he feeds others, both with loaves and fishes, and with himself (the Lord’s Supper, created during what had to have been the weirdest dinner party in history).
The importance of eating has endured in the story of the Bible, because eating together is one of the most ancient rituals of bonding gifted to humanity.
In the Living Room, we eat together weekly as a way to stay connected. We pray before we eat, but other than that there’s no formal religious structure. We sometimes end up talking about faith, but the whole thing is super-casual. So if you have questions, this is the place to bring them. All–literally all–are welcome. That’s kinda the point.
Childcare is available if you RSVP, with the kiddos just one room over (in case you have little ones that aren’t used to separation, or you’d like them to be close by). This is a potluck with no cover charge, but donations are welcome. Vegan options–real ones–are available, as part of our inclusivity and as part of our commitment to our stewardship of the planet.
“The Human One didn’t come to be served but rather to serve, and give his life to liberate many people.”Mark 10:45 CEB
“I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was naked and you gave me clothes to wear. I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and you visited me.”Matt. 25:35-36 CEB
Jesus also spent a lot of time serving. In fact, one of the most important lessons to his disciples just before his death was that if you want to change the world, you start by serving it.
Our Vision is: To make downtown San Jose a better place to be, in concrete ways, for all. That means going out beyond our walls into the community immediately around us–not overseas or in distant underserved neighborhoods but literally in the blocks around Urban Sanctuary–as a part of our walk of faith. We give our lives to Christ not with our mouths, but with our time and our hands; for us, serving the community is how we worship.
“I will pour out of my Spirit on all people;Acts 2:17 CEB
Your sons and your daughters will prophesy,
Your young will see visions,
Your elders will dream dreams.”
“And serve each other according to the gift each person has received, as good managers of God’s diverse gifts.”1 Peter 4:10
After his resurrection, Jesus told his disciples to go out and share their gifts with the world, and today, each and every one of us has gifts that we can use to make the world a better place. For some of us, it’s a talent for visual arts. For others of us, it’s a capacity for caring for older generations or young children. For still others, it’s teaching or music or underwater basket-weaving. We are all gifted and empowered by the Holy Spirit to leave the world better than we found it, and that’s exactly what Jesus asks us to do.
At the Living Room, we take this duty seriously and seek to develop into the kinds of people others want to be around–not to convert or convince, but to be the change we want to see in the world. We seek to support one another as we grow into people who lead by example. Marianne Williamson wrote:
…We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small
Does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine,
As children do.
We were born to make manifest
The glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us;
It’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we’re liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.
– Williamson, “Our Deepest Fear”
At the first dinner of each month, one person will share their story of what they’re doing to live into their gifts, be it community organizing, personal support, or developing a talent they didn’t know they had. This serves to inspire us, and keep us filled up for the work we have to do.
In the Living Room, we practice letting our lights shine artistically, relationally and personally. Our hope is that it helps others find the courage to do the same.
The Living Room: Less religion. More Jesus.