10 May 2007

The Benvolio's of Today...




Go read Paul's blog to put this in context:

Although I have shared many frustrations with the modern church over the past several months, I have also always talked about how great some of the modern churches I've attended have been.

We all are products of our environment, redeemed or not. We have lived in a modern age for 500 years (and some would argue that the modern church structure has lasted far longer), and it is this time in which we live that we are on the precipice of great change in the way humans think, relate, see the world, and believe. So I anticipate that many more storms will come.

However, as emergent continues to detox from the institution, we must also lay down our right to be right. If we become fundamentalist in being anti-fundamentalist, are we not anti-fundamentalist fundamentalists?

There is still need for the modern church. We are still living at the end of a rapidly declining modern era, but there is still a modern era of people that need Jesus and need the Kingdom to come to them.

In working at a Christian Publishing company, I can get a glimpse of church trends; and a big one right now is 'Outreach'. Being missional, I have some push back on that term, but never before have I experienced so many churches and pastors and lay ministers desire to reach those outside the walls of the church, to serve and love them, and show them a grace filled God who desires them to know Him. It's an encouraging sign!

Some of my beef then comes from the post-modern and to a much much greater extent, the modern church, in saying "We are right, you are heretical, so we must stop you, write nasty things about you, and hope you go away, or we hope that Jesus will return before you screw up the real church!"

Or something like that.

One side is setting sail and exploring the great unknown, and asking questions that make churchianity squirm. The other side, has a foundation firmly set on land, not even wanting to look toward the sea. And both sides are needed in this day and age. We need people who can sound the alarm and rattle cages and start revolutions. We also need to remember where we came from and the great things the modern church has done (music and mission to name a few).

We also need those who can bridge the gap. Those who have the ability to see both sides and understand that we are all on ONE side.

These people will probably take hits from both sides, and yet both sides will be drawn to them for perspectives and answers.

I think of Benvolio in "Romeo and Juliet". He clearly sided with Romeo, but did everything possible to bring peace to both sides.

We must take our stands, but we also must listen to our Benvolio's, for they are a prophetic voice in this day, and they need to be heard.

1 comment:

paul said...

I studied R&J at school - be good not to get into a thumb biting contest between the emerging and modern church - particulary when in both heritage, style and emphasis they have a lot in common with the charismatic/pentecostal stream that has emerged in the last 100 yrs.

But more of that in part 2 of my piece :) Ah i see your shameless plug and raise it with one of my own :)

You'll be unsurprised that I agree with you - i think we need to avoid both demonising the EC and writing off the IC [that's emerging and Institutional churches]. We share an almighty heritage and we can't pretend that the EC just appeared pristine from heaven any more than we can say Jesus just turned up - he was part of his context, history and tradition as much as we in the EC are part of ours.

And since we are not Jesus and we are not trying to be a new vine ourselves just a branch on that vine, along with all our modern, medieval, ancient brothers and sisters who have abided in the vine, stayed connected despite all their mistakes, errors of judgement, ongoing developing theology and praxis - well so shall we.

No doubt we'll do somethings better and other things worst than those who have gone before - so we can choose to learn from them - to undertand and remember our past as we face the future...

And when we talk about EC, we are only talking about a thin slice of the christian community - a mainly white, western, middle class, educated constituency... which can hardly speak for the entire church catholic and universal [although we often try] :)

Which is why i will suggest in my part 3 that we need a deep church appreciation rather than a me church one...

Rather than leave on a shameless plug [again!] perhaps the Q to ask is...

"how much fun could a fundamentalist have if fundamentalists would have fun..."

or something??? :)