Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Genesis Collective - The Theology 1

Artists taught me. My Christian experience drew me out of the comfort and relative safety of suburbia into the deep realty of the inner city. God in his kindness, never let me choose the ease of the outer city. Rather, my early Christian experience was living communally and ministering on the streets of Durban, South Africa. When M and I planted Glenridge back in the 80's, the church was young [M was 21 and at university. I was 24] For reasons of divine genius, we somehow attracted many students and artists and they changed my life.

They opened my eyes to the divine introduction of Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning God created..." Of everything that God could have said of himself, he chooses to introduce himself not as the All-mighty, nor as the Sovereign One but as the Artist - the ever creating one. Starting our spiritual story here will make all the difference. As Francis Schaeffer [philosopher and theologian] said: "We are living in the 8th day of creation" meaning God is still creating today. This revelation keeps our spiritual journey full of color, creativity, spontaneity and uniqueness, anticipating the new morning, new dawning, new creation as a common part of our lives.

The theology behind the " Genesis Collective" is rather simple:

"Genesis" is chosen because it speaks of:

* new birth, new beginnings, new life,
* it defines God original intent,
* it introduces the wondrous mystery of the "three in one" God we serve,
* it clarifies the nature of God, man, Satan and the fall,
* it introduces us to the great redemptive narrative.

Added to these wonderful components, Genesis frames the way we are to do life, ministry and shape an apostolic future:

* God blessed them - the wonder of grace and favor, empowers us to live lives of impact and sacrifice, by faith with the Holy Spirit's power,
* Increase - as with a family, the natural outworking of marriage is the expectation that God will add growth, have children. Furthermore, it gives us a peep into the reality that where there is true God life, there is growth, because He adds it,
* Multiply - this theology of multiplication holds the key for movements not to stagnate or simply seek to grow one essence larger. Rather, as families move from increase [having children] to children leaving home, getting married and starting new families, so health in churches is to plant others, whilst health in movements is not to get one fat large one, rather start and empower emerging apostles to fire up their own movements and not forever be "sons in the house",
* Fill the earth - the garden was never the destination. It was the point of departure. Walking with God, conversing around Project Planet Earth was the foundation which the fall interrupted. This seeded the apostolic thirst that resides in us from the moment we accepted Christ as Lord and Savior. We somehow know there is a bigger story out there for us to give our lives to. Simply being put in a repetitive holding pattern of being pleasant christians fulfilling suburban requirements is not going to satisfy this thirst for a supernatural life of risk and adventure.
* According to their own kind - this DNA inheritance is catalytic for the way a church or a movement will evolve. As the adage goes "so the leader, so the people". Leadership development is therefore essential for long term life. Resisting the temptation to embark on a "hire / fire corporate approach" this form of Christianity is known by the way "fathers invest into sons to make them fathers who have sons..." This marvelous God fashioned way of doing life and church will never be replaced by any modern ideas or fandangled notions. Parents have children in whom they invest, to empower them to get out into the world to live their story as kingdom advancing, gospel centered leaders. That seems to be the bible way, God's original intention.

These key ideas have helped to anchor the way we do life and church. Next blog will explain the "Collective" piece of the puzzle.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Chris
    Been reading some fascinating stuff on some of these very topics:
    1. TD Alexander, "From Eden to the New Jerusalem" (sub-titled: Exploring God's plan for life on earth) - which is a bit of a shorter version of GK Beale's "The Temple and the Church's Mission" - this expands the Temple motif of the Earth-Eden-Garden and its pattern in the Tabernacle/Temple, the New Temple (Church with the Spirit) and the future Temple (Rev.22, etc). It's amazing how apostolic this motif is - always aiming at God's presence with His people for the expansion of His glory over the earth (Hab.2:14, etc)
    2. JH Walton's "The Lost World of Genesis One" - that creation as written is more functional than material.

    Well worth it for exploring the expansiveness of God's design for us.