April 24, 2008

sustainable kingdom, sustainable church

So, it looks like we've struck a nerve here! There's a really great conversation going on here:
And that's just what has popped up so far. Plus, you've got to read the comments on each post.

A few things that stand out:

Economics: Not only can the church no longer sustain the running assumptions, leaders have to reconfigure how they're going to make ends meet any way about it. Most importantly, the economic concerns only expose the idolatry we have had with capitalism and that this has, in many ways, kept us from being about the Missio Dei. So, what has often been mistaken as being an alternative to church, or simply about models is now being crystalized in our minds as neither of those but most sincerely out of our deep love for the Body.

Justice and Liberation: Because of the bondage that we see as a result of our current economic paradigm we realize that we've got to be about setting people free. This is economic–everything from personal debt to global unjust trade agreements that empower some to enslave others, it is spiritual–read Wink, Wimber and Eckblad, it social and structural-we are realizing that many of our previous assumptions existed to empower some and make the rest listen and this has been most heinous when coming out as racist and sexist.

Lastly, I hope this is not interpreted as "throwing the baby out with the bath water" as some are bound to presume. I reiterate what I said above, since I know most of the people who have expressed their thoughts in this trail thus far, I can sincerely say that these ruminations are out of a deep love and devotion to the Body. This doesn't mean we're dumping the sacrements, discipleship and some of our deeply held theologies (you may just have to visit some of our communities to get that). It means we're digging beneath the assumptions we've had about these things for the last few decades, at least, to find the raw beauty in those things once again.

I wish I had time to write more but Brooke has left for NYC once again and I've got to get my little girl to school.

2 comments :

Marsh said...

wherever this conversation continues to lead us, let it be nothing but out of deep love for the Church. with you in solidarity on this journey.

christiandifferent said...

Hey Jason,

So I'm late in the game in responding to this post, but I've been having thoughts, and I'm excited about our upcoming discussion of sustainable churches. It's funny to write this as I am about to head off and spend a bunch of other people's money to go to seminary so that I can hopefully take another full-time paid position as a denominational minister.

But I have been reading Wendell Berry's The Unsettling of America. 30 years ago he was railing against careers in general. He writes "The disease of the modern character is specialization" and "to live undestructively in an economy that is overwhelmingly destructive would require of any one of us, or of any small group of us, a great deal more work than we have yet been able to do."

I also keep remembering what Barbara Brown Taylor wrote in her book Leaving Church. She says, "the call to serve God is first and last the call to be fully human." I think we as Church leaders have a responsibility to live into our WHOLE vocation to be people of God, and not reduce our identity to a single profession. We need to be farmers, friends, parents, lovers, PEOPLE...our current ecclesial culture tries to take that away.
That said, I'm going off to get an MDiv...

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