I plan to gird up my literary loins and begin to put things right
It’s been a long, long time since my last post. I sent a hasty ‘Happy Christmas’ post on 23rd December 2020 and since then – nothing. I really have been rather busy, but also have somehow lacked the energy to make the effort. I don’t know why – perhaps I just needed a break.
In the next few days I plan to gird up my literary loins and begin to put things right. There are a lot of unanswered comments that I need to deal with first, I want to say something about a song I especially like, and I’ve been asked to write a little about my personal history. So watch this space.
Meanwhile, just for fun, here’s my friend Kevin and his daughters at the Cotswold Wildlife Park in August. (It’s well worth a visit, by the way.)
Kevin is taking a photo of a waterlily. Don’t drop your phone, Kevin! Don’t fall in, Kevin! He didn’t – but it looked risky for a moment there.
So – Is church unbalanced? What a question! And what do I mean by unbalanced, anyway?
Let’s put it it like this. I’ve been talking most of my life about five things that seem to me to be of the utmost importance. I’ve been trying to live and grow in these five things, and I’ve always wanted to express them and share them widely. But I’ve found few who will listen, and even fewer who understand at a heart level. Here are the five things briefly described; as you read the list consider their effectiveness within church and beyond church (out in the world).
The church should spread and multiply everywhere
The church must speak truth into its own culture and into the culture of the world around it
The church should stir up desire in people’s hearts and minds, and help them find the way to live and move in truth and light
The church needs to nurture and encourage people, especially when they face pain, danger, hardship or doubt
The church should communicate in effective, memorable ways
Although the church is working in some of these ways, it doesn’t seem well-equipped to move equally in them all. What’s the problem and how can it be resolved?
Alan Hirsch, one of my favourite authors, explains this very clearly in a short video. It takes less than 11 minutes to watch, but they will be 11 minutes well spent. Can I encourage you to watch and listen as he explains where these five things come from, how they are all essential, and where they should lead us? He has analysed and expressed it all very clearly, but if you’re new to this stuff you’ll need an open and listening heart for the pattern to emerge and gel.
All of this is especially relevant to the series of articles on what we are doing in church life and how we might make some changes. We really do need the mind of Christ; our own minds alone are not up to the task. If we learn to cooperate with one another so as to allow Jesus to express himself in us and through us corporately, we will catch a view of his nature and so will the world around us. Being church on our terms will not take us any further than we have already gone, being church on Jesus’ terms will transform everything. What have we been missing?
I’d like to develop some of this in further posts. But finally, please note that Alan begins by saying, ‘One of the dimensions of movements is APEST’. We’ll discuss some of the other dimensions in future posts too.
Visit 5Q and read some of the great articles posted there