Saturday, September 01, 2007

out there... anywhere!

At the end of Star Trek: The Motion Picture Captain Kirk suggests they take the Enterprise into space from a shakedown. He is asked for a heading and he answers the helm...
out there... anywhere.
When it comes to mission and missional activity... I think this is some folks heading too. The panacea for all the trouble (perceived or actual) within the church and with ourselves is to get out there... anywhere!

But what does this actually mean? Do we actually know where we are going when we say out there?

I heard about someone who thought all it would take to get out there was to form a band and hit the clubs. But the clubs aren't interested in the kind of songs he knows... and he doesn't have a band yet.

We look to host events and seek to be relevant... we create church in ever more imaginative ways... the U2charist is one good example of this. Alpha advertises on TV, drinks mats and TVs in pubs. All these things are good in and of themselves... and work for the people they work for... but are they truly out there or are they another form of the in here of church? This is a particular challenge for me with ((deep)).

This is part of the reason why I was troubled by Paul T's post that I quoted previously... His call to arms for Christians to get out into the land is inspiring. But how can we do so AND leave our addictive worship services, ministries and christian practices behind?

We need the community that comes (or more appropriately should come) from church. We need to leave the falseness of Pseudo-community that Pernell talked about recently. We need community in the truest sense... the acknowledgment that we are all broken-but-fixed or maybe that should be broken-but-getting-fixed...

So where is out there? We'll I believe its twofold... personal and corporate.

Personal in that we are all out there... that is unless you live in a home-schooled Christian ghetto bubble. Our us includes people who are not on the same page faith-wise. This is one area we need to work on... making and keeping connections with people who have different views / circumstances / environments / backgrounds as we have. Paul T talks about getting out into the land well... if you stop and look... we are already there! Its time for us to actually stop and look. Being there for someone... listening... being open and available.

Corporate as in coming together with linkminded people to meet a need or needs in our community. When I spoke to Dan recently I was impressed when I found out home many Jesus-followers were involved in the redistribution of used / unwanted furniture in Scotland. They have spotted a gap and are filling it. Opportunities exist to change the world... to make the difference. We need to come together... connect and be the change the world needs... in His name. This may include denominational sects and then again maybe it won't. All that's needed is two or three... in tune with what God wants... to make a difference.

Thing is... this isn't new. On the 9th May 1912, William Booth gave his last public address and finished it with this...
While women weep, as they do now,
I'll fight;
while little children go hungry, as they do now,
I'll fight;
while men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now,
I'll fight;
while there is a drunkard left,
while there is a poor lost girl upon the streets,
while there remains one dark soul without the light of God,
I'll fight - I'll fight to the very end!
We need to get out there... and maybe now there is a destination.


caldjr said...

Jesus said: (Matthew 25:35,36) "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me." And I unashamedly add to that: "i had nothing to sleep on, you gave me a bed; I had nothing to sit on, you gave me a sofa; i had nothing to cook on, you gave me a cooker."
I could go on. This is ministry in its most practical form.
I stand with you brother. They (us) are waiting to become us. whether we go to them with the direct Gospel or with a practical mission; whether we preach to them or cry with them; whether we shout from a distance, or sit alongside them - its all mission as long as its in tune with what God wants. I too will fight to the very end

Anonymous said...

What is "out there" -- excellent question we need to keep asking ourselves!

I see the U2charist as something that can be "out there," "in here," or both, depending on how it's done and with what degree of intentionality. When we did the very first one in 2004, I expected that the night would be VERY "in here," demonstrating for a crowd of church people interested in ministry and liturgy "out there" to see ways in which U2's music and multisensory worship could be used in liturgy to connect their spiritual journey with God's mission of justice and reconciliation, and to do it on both 'heart' and 'head' levels, if that makes sense. I was somewhat surprised to see a lot of people who were very much "out there" show up for the very first service, having heard about it via the Internet and word of mouth, and even more surprised when the U2charist was adopted in that format by so many others around the world. I've seen some congregations in which the U2charist served primarily as a way of letting people "out there" know that there's passionate, justice-minded worship available "in here," others in which the U2charist mostly helped parisioners "in here" get inspired about the Millennium Development Goals and the connections between that justice work and God's mission, and many in which it did some of both.

I appreciate your thoughtful post on this, and would also love to hear any ideas you want to share on how the U2charist could be more effectively "out there." If there are any ideas you want to share, please drop by the U2charist information and resources page, and either email them to me or drop a comment.

Thanks again, and blessings to you in your ministry!



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