Monday, July 24, 2006

Quotes from [the Emerging Church]

I was inspired by The Emerging Church by Larson and Osborne while on my hols. Over the next week or so I am going to post some quotes that I found particularly thoughtprovoking for where I am on my journey. Let's get some discussion going...
The Wesleys, in their radical obedience to Jesus Christ, let the contemporary Christ express Himself through them in new words and forms. But what have so many generations of the followers of the Wesleys done? They have sanctified the words, ways, methods, and tunes of the Wesleys. Tragic!

If Charles Wesley were to return today, he would doubtless scrap his old songs and write new ones. John Wesley would probably not hold "camp meetings". Rather, he would find new ways to evangelise, recruit, teach, and train Christians, ways based on the cultural and sociological and technological pressures and opportunities of the present. To be 20th century (21st ???) Christians in the tradition of the Wesleys, we ought not copy their words and deeds, but emulate their spirit and style and sense of adventure. In their day they heard the great, unchanging God say again, as He said ot His faithful people almost three thousand years ago, "Behold, I am doing a new thing. The old is passed away; do you not perceive it?
Page 86

My reality within the Salvation Army is one where I see people following a course of action in worship and proclaimation that is becoming increasingly irrelevant to present society. We have sanctified the words of the Founder and his peers... we copy his words and deeds without necessarily following the spirit in which they were intended. What would Booth do now, if he was here? What songs would he use to proclaim the good news? I really doubt it would be brass band music or stuffy choir music... Personally, I think it would be raw and soulful and meaningful to ordinary people... something with a funk and a breakbeat... something with passion. Think about the Manchester Passion and you see where I am coming from... even Angels!

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caldjr said...

Totally with you on this Thomas. We must use what is relevant to the 21st Century world otherwise the Church becomes a museum not a living reality.

Interestingly, Commissioner John Matear (Territorial Commander) was asked in a recent interview how he defined 'traditional'. He said "traditional Army worship was always innovative, creative, contemporary and relevant. ... If we want to be true to tradition, Salvation Army worship should always be Spirit-filled, relevant, inclusive, contemporary and participatory. Traditionalism is the mindset that says we do it this way because we have always done it this way and even though it is no longer effective we will continue to do it this way. God is calling us out of a preoccupation with self-absorbtion and opening up for us a greater vista."

Sorry for the big quote but it is exciting when people in senior leadership begin speaking like this - lets just hope it is reflected in actions both from senior leaders and down at grass roots levels.


caldjr said...

Question for discussion. What is our greatest resource...?

Maybe this blogging lark could be one of the greatest resources at the moment as it allows such wide discussions on matters of interest. It enables us to do what the early church did:

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.

We can use this blogging to share resources and ideas of what does and doesn't work. This could enable the best chance for the development of the Church today (or should that be redevelopment?)

weareallghosts said...

Thanks chaps for this discussion... and thanks for two fab quotes!

I don't have my Salvationist (Salvation Army "newspaper") but pinched a wee look at my outlaws and saw the quote - you beat me to it, bro, and for that I am delighted because it has been acknowledged by two folk now!

I love the hat quote Stevie! love it. Why? well apart from it being a good quote and relevant to this discussion (its like a soundbite!) my papa always wore a porkpie hat and I tend to wear a fitted bball cap - It is personal to me.

Instead of adding to this discussion here... I'm going to post another quote from the emerging church and we can see where this goes.

Love you!

Anonymous said...

This is a big, big subject and crucially needs an airing. All Churches need to examine their beliefs and practices to ensure that they are God honouring. Herein lies the first dilemma do we stand for what the Bible teaches (I speak of a reasonable, not extreme understanding)and thereby cannot be totally "inclusive" or "relevant" or do we seek to "adapt to modern circumstances".
Secondly, The Apostle Paul wrote about using all means to bring people to Christ. People come in all ages, races, shapes and sizes. Yes let's explore new means of evangelism! Yes let's get rid of sterile traditions! But let's also be careful we don't throw the baby out with the bath water.
To me the primary focus is on achieving a Spirit filled, holy and obedient life and He will open up the opportunities.


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