Rick McKinley lumbers onto the stage like a bear in blue jeans. The screen behind him shows an image of the Portland skyline under the canopy of Mount Hood. He prowls the platform with a bottle of water. But as McKinley begins the message, a call to "Love Portland," it's evident this bear is more Teddy than Grizzly.
His speaking style is reflective, biblical, and riddled with humor. His sermon feels like a conversation, despite the hundreds of mostly 20- and 30-somethings gathered in the old high school auditorium where Imago Dei meets.
Emphasizing the reality of sin in the world, McKinley deadpans, "After Genesis 3, the world turns into a Jerry Springer show." The congregation laughs. "I can tell that joke every week and it still works," he says. "That's just pathetic." They laugh again.
McKinley's casual charm serves him well in Portland, Oregon, a city liberal even by West Coast standards. The importance of relationships and community is reflected in Portland's ubiquitous coffee shops ...1