A dear friend turned 50 and we celebrated for the whole weekend. Reaping the fruit of some 35 years of friendship was lavish. Isn't that a great word? 'Lavish'. It should be a God-word! Of course the sacred text reads: "How great the love the Father has lavished on us..." 1 John 3:1.
Sitting with so many extraordinary folks from so many life's stories was inspiring, intriguing, empowering. However, I was aware that the picture of the church, in many of their minds, has once again been our greatest foe. Leaving to come home last night, I was very engaged by the challenge of showing a God-story that is true perfume to a world where beauty and fragrance is desired but rarely received.
The gospel redemption story is worthy. Dressing it with the church has not always been appealing.
Can one model of the ecclesia fulfill this glorious mandate? The answer is obviously 'No"! History tends to tell us that every move has their 'revelation', which then becomes the one true and 'biblically accurate' way of doing church. This gets taught with much passionate and prophetic fervor. However before long, the slow stench of yesterday's manna begins to creep into the community. Those who smell it are viewed as disloyal and traitors. Well the rest is history simply repeating itself.
Can we pause with personal reflection? Can we engage in this convo with healed hearts, passionate Jesus-love burning in our hearts and a passionate love affair with the church evidenced in our souls? With that settled, then through the church and sacrificial love for the nations that this cross-driven Christ has shown us, can we enter this realm of thoughts ready for a new perspective and a new adventure?. This is a holy moment - to reflect on church-future is very holy indeed. It cannot be touched or tainted by dirty hands of selfish lusts or breathed over by the foul breath of criticism and destruction.
Can we then explore the wonder and width of architecting churches that can enter these very different and colorfully exquisite cultural worlds?
1. Pagan, premodern world;
2. Modern, boomer world;
3. Post modern, exchristian world;
4. Post modern, post Christian world...
The ecclesia that reflects reaching the 'lostness' of these communities should be remarkably different in form but not in DNA. We will look at this next time, but I would love you to join us in this conversation....