journey inward, journey outward

September 22, 2004

Wow. I had to tease Pastor Draven because he recommended Journey Inward, Journey Outward to me about 5 or 6 times in different contexts. However, I have to say it was worth every mention he made. This book describes a church that truly understood what it meant to be missional. The amazing thing is, they were doing things 40 years ago that most of us only see in our most idealistic moments. Here are several quotes from the book, all of which I think speak pretty well for themselves:

  • It is strange that the climate of the church so often has not permitted asking questions, when it ought to be known as a place for the calling forth of questions. … As members of the church, we need to resist the temptation to give answers to questions that no one has asked, and deal with that in ourselves which prevents us from creating an atmosphere in which we and others can question. (pg 13)
  • Engagement with others in depth is always difficult within the church, which is probably why so few try it and why there is so little genuine Christian community in the world. In other groupings we choose those we want to be close to and those whom we want to hold at a distance, which means that any relationship in depth is on the basis of human affinity and the standards set for friendship. (pg 24)
  • The reason people have resisted the Gospel is that we have gone out to make people good, to help them do their duty, to impose new burdens on them, rather than calling forth the gift which is the essence of the person himself. (pg 37)
  • In fact, community will bring into light problems which, though they are yours, are often hidden even from you. (pg 53)
  • The church which takes the shape of psychiatric clinics and halfway houses and counseling centers and mental health programs will be the church with its spires raised in an age which is fast being born. (pg 60)
  • As churches around the country become more mission-oriented, there are many informal discussions around the question of whether the ordained minister should not earn his living in a secular calling and participate as anyone else in the life of the church. It is easy to see that a church trying to understand what it means to strip for action should think of its excesses and unnecessary endowments, but the new shaping of the church’s life to the needs of the world is going to call for, not less leadership, but a different kind of leadership. The church is going to be vastly limited in what it can do, if there are not those who can give all their waking hours to building the structures that will call forth the gifts of the laity and equip them for ministry as pastors and teachers and healers and prophets. (pg 156)
  • If we are to be people on that journey of becoming fully human we need to live in a community with its life structured for those essential engagements with the world within and the world without. Today there is not much evidence of any kind of community, and for the lack of it war is waged in our own hearts, and on our streets, and in our world. (pg 172)

There is obviously a wide range to think about — more than I can comment on right now. (It’s late!) Feel free to pick one or two that jump out at you and share your own thoughts with us.

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