Sunday, 21 September 2008
There are many ways of defining the church. Essentially, of course, we are those who follow Jesus. That means - or should - that we are concerned with the things of God and with what Jesus most often described as God's Kingdom. However, in a world where kingdoms are less and less the way that peoples operate, is it perhaps time to update that concept and description? Surely the point that Jesus was making essentially concerned the need to discover a new way of doing things. This particular new way was one that would and should challenge the existing ways. Perhaps we should move to a concept like revolution which would challege us to take seriously the impact that doing things God's way ought to have. It ought to really shake things up and change them. How revolutionary are we as a church? What impact does our church have?
Saturday, 20 September 2008
"The church is more than the human institution we see, with all its human foibles and failings. It's the dwelling of God's Holy Spirit: like Moses at the burning bush, we stand on holy ground, and on that ground nothing less than utter truthfulness will do. Nothing destroys community quicker than equivocation in interpersonal relations. It is not disagreement that destroys Christian community so much as a failure to acknowledge the truth before each other and before God's Holy Spirit." That is part of Loveday Alexander's comment (Acts, BRF, 2006, p. 49) on the Ananias and Sapphira story in Acts 5. It raises some pretty significant questions, perhaps not least: How do we treat truth? What do we do with disagreement? What does it mean to us that we are 'standing on holy ground'?
Friday, 19 September 2008
I've been reading Brian McLaren's "The Story We Find Ourselves In" - a fascinating novel-type account of the story we all finds ourselves in as part of God's world. We are all part of life. We are all part of the world. As Christians, we are part of the church. What is the story we are telling by how we live in our part of the church? What is the church story that other people can "read" as they look at what we are doing and saying?
Tuesday, 2 September 2008
Being part of the church is about community. We are not to be isolated - we are part of the group. We should be engaged in partnership. That was something the early Christians soon found out. It can have its difficulties as we will not all always see things the same way, but it is important to receive the sustaining support of those who accompany us on The Way. Commenting on how this was worked in the early church and with particular reference to Acts 2, Loveday Alexander suggests: "Being a Christian is about acquiring a new allegiance, following a new Lord, but that is not just a private matter between ourselves and God. There is also a horizontal aspect to this new allegiance: whether we like it or not, we are part of something bigger. We are setting out on the journey with a band of fellow pilgrims .... (Acts, Loveday Alexander, BRF, p. 36).