When I sat down to write about the church being hopeful and offering hope I had in mind to write about being a resurrected people, living with the faith that despite the darkest of times we face we live in the hope that resurrected life is just around the corner. I come to this but … Continue reading A Vision for Church: Hopeful
Liberation is not easy. Liberation is not pain free. Liberation often involves difficult battles and suffering. It may well be liberating to swim naked in an ocean but true liberty is the freedom to be ourselves; to accept and love ourselves for who we are.
I share this story as a simple lesson in unconscious bias. As pastors in training we demonstrated our own prejudice. No doubt we demonstrate such prejudice every day without thinking as we did in the comfort of our classroom. Prejudice is sin; prejudice is a deep rooted sin in the church and we need to reflect, acknowledge and repent of our sin.
I will admit I can find it somewhat pretentious to talk about the prophetic. I think it comes from the experience of preachers claiming to be prophetic, having prophecies or claiming a title of Prophet and making bold claims that God is speaking to them about specific issues of the future. Frequently these claims are broad brushstroke type claims that really say very little and come across a bit like a horoscope. The prophetic church empowers the disempowered, speaks to the places of power and acts with integrity and humility for and with those who are powerless because these are the ways of God.
A few years ago I was doing some research about the eucharist or communion for my own understanding of the different beliefs people have about what happens. The different beliefs lead to a variety of ways of sharing the bread and wine, who is authorised to serve the elements and who is permitted receive them. … Continue reading A Vision for Church: Inclusive
It is fairly common to refer to the church as a body. This stems from the writing in the New Testament attributed to Paul which refers to the church as the 'body of Christ' (Ephesians 4:12). The church is a body. It is not perfect and nor should it be. It is broken and it can be beautiful when we accept its gifts, diversity, fragility, disabilities and scars.
Family is a wonderful analogy. I suppose the image that people usually have when they talk of 'family' in relation to church is that we are to be close in relationship, sharing life together, looking out for one another, supportive, encouraging, loving, and so on and so forth. What people tend to forget when using family as an analogy is the pain, suffering and hurt experienced within families.
The church is broken because we still have broken mindset about the church. We have a broken mindset about humanity. We have a broken mindset about God. I have an evolving vision for the church. The hope I have is that church can be at it's best when it accepts its faults, cracks and brokenness and allows God to bring wholeness.