Responding to Cheryl Lawrie’s blog of 24 September
Maybe it won’t be good for the church – maybe this uncertainty, diversity in how we gather as community is so confronting that it has to happen outside the church, and the church will lose out?
If we’re doing these things for the good of the church, are we not doing them for entirely the wrong reason? And maybe that’s where we/the church has gone in an unhelpful direction, thinking about what will be good for the church, what will grow the church or enhance the church or stop the church from dying – are we not supposed to be focussed on how we connect with the world, how we form relationships, how we discover the Sacred together in each other, in ourselves, in the world?? Isn’t it more about each person’s connection with the Sacred Story, each person’s part to play in the Sacred Song, than about telling the old story, the same story, the same way – the ‘right’ way, and getting as many people to hear the story (sometimes referred to as The Truth …) as possible so that it can transform them into good Christians?
Responding to Steve Taylor’s blog of 26 September
I am frustrated with language – emerging church, church, community, Christian – what does any of it mean? How can we talk about this stuff if we don’t have language? Can we talk about forming intentional Christian community, if to be Christian is something unhelpful for so many, if those who gather do not consider themselves to be Christian? But then if we don’t call ourselves Christian, how do we connect to the global Christian community? do we want to?
I, and seemingly many others, are more than ready to move on from unhelpful language that has collected more baggage than it can carry, so that it cannot move forward to something different – but have we any language to replace the old? [scream]
From the trip to the uk, hearing the stories and meeting the people, it seems that relationship is the centre, is the key, is the essence, and from relationship – with God/ the Sacred / the Holy – with each other, we begin to form community (but this is beginning to feel like empty overused jargon), and when we form community, we begin to decide how we would like to gather, and continue to invite others into relationship and community, but we need to be more confident about allowing people not to connect with our community for long, if it is not an authentic experience or expression of their relationship with God. Because the essence of it all is relationship with God, and relationship with each other does not have to mean we all ‘worship’ together in the same style at the same time. Worship should be more about our way of living, incorporating some community expression of response to God, incorporating much individual time deepening our relationship with God, but not amounting to these things.
If I ever survive the rest of this semester, I can’t wait to get started on the play, and to begin to find people with artistic and entrepreneurial and business skills and gifts to gather to tell the story of one woman’s strength and courage. Could it inspire the church in its opportunity to embrace a challenge? I do but dream… dream of gathering around an artistic, creative project; dream of the conversations that might be started; dream of the relationships that might form; dream of the story of the burlesque dinner theatre of Esther, Queen and saviour of her people.