Home > Commentary > Kissing with Eyes Open – Thoughts on meeting Pete Wilson

Kissing with Eyes Open – Thoughts on meeting Pete Wilson

Yesterday, that day known as Sunday, my family was out of town on a long weekend getaway to Nashville, Tennessee.  Now Nashville is home to a lot of activities, stars, and sites to  see.  While eating lunch at a Cracker Barrel, we ran into Neal McCoy and my understanding is that is not an out-of-the-ordinary experience – meeting celebrities about town, that is.  (Not necessarily meeting Neal in a Cracker Barrel… I don’t know, he may actually like to be met in other restaurants as well).

For me, though, one of the highlights of the weekend was Sunday when we got a chance to stop in and visit Pete Wilson‘s church. I have been following his blog close to a year now and have enjoyed his stories that are centered around his family, faith, and church.  He has always seemed to be a genuine guy from the stories that I have read online.  So I was looking forward to meeting the man himself and checking out the church he pastors.  {By the way, I got to meet Anne Jackson from flowerdust as well… she is cool in my book}.

meandpete

We went to the 8:30am service which may have been the reason that I didn’t get to meet Jody and his family.  Sorry Jody, maybe next time!

Without going into a lot of detail, let me just bullet point the things that I really enjoyed about Pete’s church:

  • Great mixture of ages and gender for the 8:30am service.  This is typically a ‘gray hair’ hour for a lot of churches.
  • Pete was in the lobby greeting people as they came in.  Big kudos in my book.
  • They give 45 minutes between services to allow people to mingle and talk.
  • Modern music and lighting but not overdone with a completely dark room and fog.
  • Offering was taken up at the end of the service.  It didn’t get in the way of worship and they made it a point to tell visitors that this was something for the members and that they should not feel the need to give.
  • Pete’s sermon was built on a mix of scripture and relevant thoughts from our society that could then be tied back to scripture. (I hope Pete will read this and let me know the title to that book on prayer he mentioned during his sermon.)
  • No altar call.  Yes, I said it.  I liked the fact that there was no altar call.

Let me explain that last bullet by tying it into my title.  After Pete finished his sermon on prayer, he prayed over the congregation.  If you have ever been in an evangelical church, you have probably heard these words, “With every head bowed and every eye closed.”  Pete didn’t say that so I decided to watch him and the congregation during the prayer.  It was kind of like kissing your girlfriend with your eyes open – a little weird, but I did it none-the-less.

While Pete was praying, a lady lead a young man up and onto the stage.  It appeared the man could not see which became more evident as both he and the young lady were joined by a couple of men who helped set the young man on a seat, get a guitar into his hands, and place a microphone in front of him.  As Pete’s prayer was winding down, the young man, now alone on the stage with Pete, began to strum on his guitar.  He began to sing when the prayer was over and it was a beautiful song accompanied by his practiced playing of the guitar.

This thought struck me: It took some people helping him to get him in position so that he could bless us with the gifts that God had imparted to him.

While I listened to the song, I thought about how that had been a great symbol of Christianity in practice.  We are all dependent – everyone of us.  No matter how skilled we are, we still need other people to support us and help us get into position.  God gives us those people in our lives and we can either be blessed by that or be prideful and turn away the opportunities that He has given us.  This young, blind man understood that and was able to bless us because of it.

So, how does that tie to altar calls or, more specifically, the lack thereof?  Well, I asked Pete about the lack of the altar call after service and he told me that they do have altar calls from time-to-time but its not an every week occurrence.  They have found that God works in a variety of ways and have experienced that most people come to know Christ through the relationships that they form with the people who attend the church.

In other words, there is a pageant of Christianity playing out each week in the church.  There are people involved in leading the ‘blind’ through their love and devotion at the most genuine level – person-to-person.

There are times when it may be apropos to whisper those words, “with every head bowed and every eye closed”, but I think maybe we lean on that too often because we have become uncomfortable with the closeness that ‘kissing with our eyes open’ entails.

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  1. June 15, 2009 at 7:16 pm

    It was great to finally meet you in person Tony! Look forward to getting to know your family better in the future.

  2. June 16, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    Nice to have you ‘back’ 😉

    Is he really as short as everyone says?? 🙂

    <B

    • June 16, 2009 at 3:00 pm

      My wife has a picture of Pete and I standing together. I didn’t have time to unload her camera when I posted this article, however, I will try to get that done tonight so that I can post it.

      I am 6’4″ and lets just say that Pete isn’t. 😉

      He was really cool because it appeared that he remembered that I was coming and recognized me right away when I came into the church even though we had never met before.

    • tam
      June 28, 2009 at 4:44 am

      yes. hes a bit vertically challenged. but hes got great hair. and he makes sure you know it.

      😉

  3. tam
    June 28, 2009 at 4:51 am

    tony, i, too, was blessed beyond measure to attend cross point. and i agree, theyre doing it right. they really are!

    oneof the things that stood out to me, too, was how pete stayed out and greeted people. rubbed shoulders with the church. got involved. he isnt untouchable. well, almost – with his height disadvantage and all. but anyhoo…the whole staff, at least the ones i met, are amazing. they are a great team and work very hard.

    if we ever moved to n’ville…we’d make cross point our home. maybe 😉

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