Neighborhood Rather than Church
Once we make the shift from asking “What is God doing in my church?” to “What is God doing in my neighborhood?” radical change occurs in thinking about our purpose as God’s community on earth. This does not mean that we ignore the church, or that we stop investing in the church. Instead, we see the church as one very important part of the neighborhood ecosystem. We renounce the dualism that says sacred spaces exist in the church but not in our community, workplace and public places. Rather than focusing on creeds, information and conferences as helpful as those things are, we refuse to endorse a disembodied faith that fails to put into practice what we believe. More and more I see churches that are taking seriously a theology of the neighborhood.
December 8, 2016
This week our two little churches move to the lectionary for preaching. The reason…well…it’s so that I can be in community with another local pastor who follows the lectionary. But, the thrill of it is to be very counter-cultural by following a different calendar than the one the world throws at us. It opens up …
Missional theology can seem very exciting – and theologically it is! – but the reality of living a missional life in the Israel and Jesus way is going to be difficult (Matthew 7:13-14), boring, and depends on a faith-driven, delayed pay-off; the final rest of a long obedience in the same direction. Give us this …
I’m convinced we need to start new churches that move beyond a grand launch Sunday with a great preacher, a good band, and an attractive children’s ministry. The church is twisting and turning under the pressure to be relevant and more attempts to be relevant are not the answer. Our neighborhoods need community-organizers that gather …
I love hanging out with the thought of Missio Alliance. This From Karina Kreminski and Missio Alliance Disembodied vs. Embodied Christian spirituality can sometimes reflect the excarnation that sits in our culture. Charles Taylor used this term in A Secular Age to describe what happens when we conceptualize and abstract our lives. What ends up …
Over at Missio Alliance, Matt Tebbe has a rather interesting account of bedtime, a mustache, and the f-bomb. It’s a story about him getting real with his son and what it’s like to be truly honest with someone. He goes on to say that this is what is needed in the church and he says …
Sometimes I can lose sight of the “why” of spiritual formation. In our Sunday Schools and Small Groups it can we can make it be about “your personal walk with Jesus”…we can make it be about “coming together as community, forming relationships”…we can make it be all about “pleasing God.” Each of these, in a …
How do we practice true kenosis so that a reign of God community is cultivated?
There is a slightly humorous but sad old tale in the Rabbinic tradition which tells about a prince who lived in a far away land a long time ago who longed for true community where each person showed loyalty and sacrificial service towards each other. So he called a meeting of his leadership to discuss this. As a part of the first gathering of this meeting which would start discussions about how to turn this land into a true community, he called each leader to bring their best wine produced from their ancestral vines. These wines would be poured into a communal vat and blended as a representation of true community. One of the winegrowers wondered how he would do this as it would compromise his wine. The unique grapes that he used would be spoiled, no one would be able to taste the uniqueness of his wine taken from his special vineyard.
So the night before the great meeting, he poured water into a wine bottle and took it to the meeting thinking that no one would notice. The next day the meeting started and the prince asked all to pour their wines into the one giant vat. Excitedly the prince then asked the leaders to take from the vat and drink as a symbol of community. They did so and discovered they were all drinking water. None of the leaders had wanted to compromise their wine.
No one was willing to let go of their own self in order to create true community. Truly surrendering to each other feels like we are losing our sense of self to some extent, and in our narcissistic society where individualism reigns, this is anathema. However, if our identity is grounded in Christ, then we do not need to fear letting go of our individuality. As we submit to one another, our true identity under Christ’s Lordship is built up. As Augsburger says, “In a tripolar community, each person’s individuality is affirmed (you can be truly you), yet joint participation is achieved (we can be truly we) because at the center we together recognize that God is present (we gather around him).”
(Via Missio Alliance)
March 17, 2016
I have felt the Spirit’s power. I have seen the church move on mission. I have been in small groups when the presence of Christ was mightily upon us And it’s great. And it’s wonderful to see and to feel. … And these moments don’t happen nearly enough. And it’s not just in any “particular” …