I was drawn to read THREE STRANDS OF EMERGENT THINKING ABOUT CHURCH, and was happy to find there’s a place in the article that encourages “soft voices”. Awesome stuff here!
…Building church community is not just a “moral responsibility,” it’s also a formational responsibility, a missional responsibility, a pastoral / incarnational responsibility to care for and love the “sheep” that God has entrusted to particular congregations, it’s a leadership responsibility, its our responsibility because together we are church.
… Healthy church becomes people taking responsibility for maintaining an individual and collective spiritual ‘diet’ that grows and nourishes them, for allowing God to form them…it’s wayfarers on a journey home together, bringing their giftedness to a mix of theology and praxis, it’s accompaniment not duty, it’s dreams and hopes nourished by Word, Spirit, meals, and the ‘give and take’ of conversation; it’s “doing” more than speaking; it’s caring for people rather than talking about caring; it’s people nourishing, loving, praying, receiving, and generously supporting the sense of giftedness and call that rests on each other. It’s friends encouraging and creating the kinds of base ‘soil’ conditions (e.g. values, practices) within which Christian community can deepen and flourish. Friends together “carrying” and enriching the vision.
… The reality is that who we are, the ‘worlds’ we live in, our education, our competencies, our passions, and our specialisations can’t but help but shape forms and practices of emerging church. We would be inauthentic too ourselves if who we are didn’t…
… Accepting that, the challenge then becomes how we ensure that we make space for, and encourage the speaking of divergent voices, for the gifting to our respective “mixes” of voices like Ched Myers, William Stringfellow, the voices of those from Asia and South America.
… We need divergent expertise to broaden our tendency to myopia, multiple “strands” to enrich, to add ‘colour’ and to add texture to the ‘fabric’ that is the emerging church.
… The implications of the gospel are always richer and broader than my “seeing,” my experience, and my understanding. I need woven into my life the diversity of others who together with me share a dream for church.