the shaping of things to come, part two

March 18, 2005

the shaping of things to comeMore thoughts from The Shaping of Things to Come. (For my previous posts, see here and here.) There is some rich thinking here, so I won’t soil it with my own comments this time.

  • Pg 68 – “So-called ‘good teaching’ is not occurring in a church that has no heart for its community, since the purpose of teaching is to equip Christians for service.”
  • Pg 80 – “We are advocating that all church planters take the considerable time required to untangle what we do because it is commanded by Christ, what we do because it was taught by the apostles or modeled by the early church, and what are relatively recent church traditions. Hold fast to the core but experiment like wild with the expression. The missional-incarnational church is entirely open to innovation, experimentation, and creativity. It doesn’t, by its very nature, see itself as the opening of a new franchise of the church, like a McDonald’s, where every burger tastes the same no matter which culture it is sold in. As an incarnational community it is concerned about reflecting local flavors, spices, and textures and developing an ambiance and a communal spirit that is sensitive and hospitable to local culture. As a missional community, it is careful not to abandon the truth of the gospel nor to water down its implications. This is called the process of critical contextualization, and it will be important to turn our attention to that process now.”
  • Pg 116 – “We believe than an alternative, missional approach to being and doing church is best supported by an alternative approach to Christian spirituality. Too much Christendom spirituality has been concerned with retreat and reflection. While we acknowledge the value of a rich interior life, as well as the value of solitude in interiority, we believe that retreat and reflection should be embraced as part of a broader spirituality that values engagement and action.”
  • Pg 121 – “One of the unique aspects of the Hebrew Bible is that is describes the first (and possibly the only) religious system that posits history as the primary source of revelation of God and God’s will for the world. And while at first this might not take your breath away, it is nonetheless a very important aspect of the Hebraic worldview, one that opens up many possibilities in engaging life and doing mission.”
  • Pg 125 – “It is unredeemed or undirected pleasure that destroys life and wastes human effort. Missionaries and leaders do well to learn that people are motivated by their deepest pleasures, and if we can connect these to God, we will have established a vital bridge into the lives of ordinary people.”
  • Pg 135 – “The recovery of a messianic spirituality that hallows the everyday is essential to the missional church because it is in the everyday that the missional church exists. It we are an incarnational community, the church must recover the ability to see God in the so-called ordinary world of action.”
  • Pg 144 – “This is because the missional church realizes that it is finding God (or is God finding us?) in those places previously perceived as “outside” of God because they were outside of the local faith community’s mission program. Actually there is no such thing as seeking God, for there is nothing in which he cannot be found. It’s all in the “seeing” and the perceiving. Having broadened our concept of God’s involvement in the world and our part in it, Christians can then be free to engage missionally in any and every place. The whole world becomes an arena for the inbreaking of God’s kingdom.”
  • Pg 145 – “If God’s people in this time are willing to be courageous enough to reconceive themselves as incarnational communities gathered for the purpose of changing the world (missional action), we believe they will have a significantly more profound impact that the current, passive, come-to-us and sit-in-the-pew mode of most churches.”
  • Still more to come….

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