It is exciting to connect with people whom have similar values and directions when it comes to church – and especially when the desire is to go beyond methodological innnovations – I sense there’s a hunger towards seeing a closer relationship of how our thinking (theology), our personal & communal formation (spirituality), and our ministry in this world (ethics & mission) are intentionally brought closer together in our conversations as well as the practical day to day living – from sorting out our dog poop at the backyard as well as our children’s poop in the bedroom 🙂
Hearing someone share about the “generative’ impulses and ideas around the above concerns always energizes me … and I seek to be an encourager to those who are in existing churches who seek to go in this direction, and if there are some who will be embarking on the formation of new communities or churches like this I’ll cheer them on. For those who may just see themselves as “members” (more than being in leadership), I pray they may participate fully in seeing how this kind of church or Christian community really is for the good of our world (and an added bonus is that we reap the benefits too!)
and yet … there are realities before us that saddens me (at times make me angry) – I saw something yesterday in regards to the word “prophecy” that made me wonder – who holds these so called “prophets” accountable .. and worse is when it’s associated with money … how does all this REALLY forward God’s Kingdom values and purposes? Is this the kind of “picture” (testimony) we want to give our pre-dominantly non-Christian society in Malaysia. Even as a Christian I cringe! Lord have mercy!
I’m at this stage that pouring too much energy in criticism is not fruitful (though critical evaluation has its place and is needed), I do not want to be defined by what I’m against … more effort needs to be in being an agent of change – perhaps that’s why I get more excited when I hear and see people participating in reflecting their Christianity consciously and intentionally counter-cultural (cf. against greed, grandioseness, corporate impersonalization, manipulative persuasion, etc) and humbly working out committed discipleship and mission 24/7 (especially in and through the local churches/communities they are part of).
There’s this tension I constantly face … I’m learning greater generousity (I think) when it comes to how one is thinking through and working out their Christian life in our context. And yet, there’s a greater discernment and suspicion towards bad theology, ministry malpactice, unreflective and often insensitive buldozing of ideas, etc. I find myself more able to engaging in practices that reflect a generous orthodoxy … and I’m growing in confidence in this area and yet I struggle in what are some steps I can take when confronted with what I may perceive to be harmful … there are some glimpses of light though because in some cases maybe I could inject some input, but often in many cases – the only way – or the more non-militant option is in John Wimber’s words “starve” these efforts by not giving endorsement, or even offering caution and even at appropriate times after much prayer and self-examination – indicate non-support (while not cutting off the relationship).
These are challenging times. I still believe we need to spend more time “nourishing” local churches whether existing ones or new ones to be the kind of church God intended that being drained in battling misguided ones. Besides caffine, this is what is occupying me right now.