Just read a really interesting Article in the Australian Newspaper which interviews Tony Blair about politics and religion. It is an interesting reading about the rise of a global post-secular culture, and the dangers of religious radicalisation. Although I don’t agree with Tony Blair about a few things, I think he is right to point out these issues. To read the article see here.
Tag Archives: christianity
This week, I have had the wonderful good fortune and opportunity to be able to teach at the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge MA USA, with a finale of giving the keynote speech at this years Episcopal Village Day Event at the Episcopal Cathedral in Boston.
From the discussions, I have been struck by something I had missed before. Many of my pioneering and missioner orientated colleagues in the UK have been frustrated, that the projects they have incarnated out of hopes and dreams, seem to have started with not being able to make an impact on the totally unchurched – the primary focus, and instead have started with a ministry that began with the dechurched.
Now, it has struck me that this is my experience too in the Moot Community, something that we have faced some criticism for in the early days. But – it has struck me, may be this is the intentions of the God outside of our own needs and desires. Jesus himself in the Gospel, very rarely goes directly to the unchurched from a Jewish perspective – I can think of the Samaritan Woman at the well and a few others. No, instead Jesus associated with those who were Jewish who were outside of the powerful temple system to build up a new community of disciples with jews who were very similar to the dechurched. It seems that Jesus was intentional about gathering around him a community of the dechurched, who through God’s death and resurrection are empowered to become the Apostles, and the beginning of the Church through mission to the Gentile unchurched. May it just be that ecclesia, and the building of ecclesial communities begins with pioneer missioners building small communities of the dechurched to create deep and radical Christian community that then has the maturity to start and sustain mission and evangelism to the unchurched.
In the Moot Community we have spent 7 years building up a community of the dechurched, which now is intentionally starting out to seek to service God by reaching out missionally to the unchurched. Maybe – focusing on the dechurched first is right strategically, as long as this then is matched by a commitment for the previously unchurched to mature into the call of seeking to serve the unchurched.
So pioneering missioners, don’t be disappointed that what you are doing seems to attract the dechurched and not the unchurched, just maybe this is the starting place to build community to be able to reach out to the unchurched effectively. I think this is true…..
One of the most important books I have read this year, is Barry Taylor’s “Entertainment Theology”. This book really engages with context, exploring the developing new forms of mysticism. I like what he says a great deal. One of the key ideas, is the re-sacralisation of culture. That religious symbolism has been reapprproated into culture, but where its meaning is subverted to the new world of mysticism. Rightly Taylor states that we the church need to catch up with what is going on, and that is that the challenge to faih is not atheism and agnosticism as it was within modernity. No, the new challenge is that people believe something else, an alternative spirituality, where religion is seen as outdated and controlling , where spirituality is perceived as the new freedom.
So the challenge then is for us to rise the challenge of seeking an alternative imagination, seeking to live and point to a God that is increasingly difficult to discern in our complex world. The challenge is for us to seek this more artistic approach to mission, to seek God in the complexity of a world driven by new forms of mysticism. The Emerging Church has been somewhat involved in this contextual endeavour. The truth is, we are not quite sure where all this ls leading!!