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Blogservations 3

11 January, 2003 2:21 PM

Continuing the discussion Richard writes:

I'm not sure that it is "overfarming" that's the issue. I see it more in terms of timidity in our sowing. The sower of the parable scatters seed liberally and inefficiently. He does not sprinkle the seed carefully over the good soil so as not to waste any. He hurls it willy-nilly over good soil and bad. How can the church imitate this? I'm sure that this is about far more than how we organise our church services and church structures, though these things will not be left untouched. It impacts on all of the things we do as the church, and as individuals working out of the church. It should shape the messages we send to politicians and the causes were seen to support. In all our activities we should be seeking to imitate the gracious love of God, not calculating a strategy for achieving maximum market penetration. So far, so theoretical. What it means in practical terms will vary from one context to the next, but in most it will run counter to "common sense" - because most of our common sense is shaped by the world and not the gospel. Whenever we find ourselves using words like "efficient", "realistic", "reasonable", or any of the lexicon of management gobbledegook which has become so fashionable in the church, we should be wary. St Paul called himself "a fool for Christ". Maybe it's time the church got out its makeup and engaged in some holy foolishness again. What a bloddy ripper of a statement Richard!!! Couldn't agree more!

So....this being the case....how do we infect the church with some 'holy foolishness'? How does one help a timid and largely comfortable institution to change course? I've met numerous individuals scattered through churches around Melbourne (and the world now through blogging) that think this way - that are keen for change and open to some revolutionary thinking - but most feel helpless and disempowered every time they share their ideas or dreams in the churches where they worship. They suspect things could be different but the majority are happy with the status quo - happy to keep on keeping on worshiping the 'DitchDigger'. (see Rachels comment and link in Blogservations Continued)

The debate that I'm hearing in emerging church circles here in Australia is about the way forward. Do we remain in 'mainline' churches and attempt to bring about change from within? Do we band together in new communities and attempt to model a different way? Is there some middle ground - are both legitimate ways forward?

I guess for me I've decided to take a middle ground approach of sorts by attempting to start something 'new' (whatever that means) but keeping strong links with 'mainline church' by being intentional in my relationship with our denomination and two local congregations.

What approaches are others taking?

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