Friday, January 9, 2009

What about these questions?

  • Given our gifts as the community of [fill your name in here] Church, with all we have to offer and to give, how must we invite others into the body of Christ through those gifts?
I don’t think I ever explicitly invite anyone “into the body of Christ”. It is a mystery to me why we are the way we are. I do try and reach out to suggest that there may be other answers to common questions than those that seem to be implied by our common culture.
  • What is Evangelism?
Specifically it is communicating the Good News of the Gospel that in the person of Jesus we have something unique and worth investigating.
  • What exactly does our Lord commission of us, as he sends his followers out into the world to make disciples and to baptise?
I don’t know. Baptism has become a professional issue. I am immersed in my study for the sake of reaching out to say to others how good this Jesus is. To me that is a continuation of Genesis 1:4 – that the light is good.
  • What kind of world are we, now, sent?
We are a world filled with sin and wonder. Distorted, violent, oppressive, powerless, timed, limited, a collection of solitudes yet impinged upon by everything and everyone including the created order. [In the midst of this, we have the promise that Jesus made that there is fire everywhere on the earth - specifically the fire of his Spirit - so the world is redeemed.]
  • If, as it seems to me, our world is in spiritual crisis of a very dangerous kind, how are we, the church, asked both to understand this danger and to meet it?
It has always been dangerous. We are to preach acceptance, forgiveness, love, respect except for the impossible. I cannot define possible or impossible. We are the danger – we do not first understand but must first do 'the obedience of faith'. It is the philosophy of meaning before 'obedience of faith' that is problematical. Israel responds with 'we will do it and we will understand', a nice bit of consonance נַעֲשֶׂה וְנִשְׁמָע [na`aseh venishma`] Exodus 24:7 - (and it is a 24-7 requirement - not just when you are on 'church' business!)
  • How do our scriptures prepare us, conceptually, prayerfully, and in deed, to meet that danger -- both in ourselves and in love for our neighbours (for the two are surely inseparable)?
Scripture without the Anointing (1 John 2:27) cannot prepare us for anything useful. Scripture permeated with oil refreshes, rebukes, and releases each to our own uniqueness. Such is very inconvenient for the powers that be including religious establishments.
  • And what are we, as individuals but especially as a parish, being asked, concretely, to do?
Maintain the status quo – a minimum temporal responsibility. Encourage all to learn the reality of our calling. Learn what it means to be in Christ. Pray without ceasing. Be open to the possibility that we may be wrong. Meet each other where we are and not necessarily where we think we ought to be.

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