Saturday, November 20, 2010

Dreaming Organic

I recently finished reading From Eternity to Here, by Frank Viola. This was the third in my personal Viola series, beginning with Pagan Christianity and Reimagining Church.

I loved all these books, because they helped me to re-orient myself to a vision of God's purpose in the world that affirms an exalted view of the church without reducing that affirmation to a set of unexamined presumptions about what Christians should do on Sunday morning. But all this critiquing of the church has not turned me against "meeting together," only made me all the more desirous and excited about being in on the mission of God in the world with others. That's because Viola does not simply critique. He moves on to a Biblical vision of the mission of God, in From Here to Eternity, that is inspiring, Christ-exalting, and motivating.

I realize that not everyone is dissatisfied with church-as-usual, and these people tend to tremble at the thought of someone "re-imagining church." But the number of people who are leaving the institutional church (and not necessarily out of selfish motivation) is, some say, enormous. Don't make groundless assumptions about these church-leavers. they don't necessarily want to be free-agents or lone-rangers. They are not necessarily chasing a will-o-the-wisp of false teaching. They are simply wondering if the family of God, in which Christ is the first-born of many brothers and sisters--or, to change the metaphor, if the bride of Christ, for whom Jesus is returning one day for the wedding feast of the ages--might not be something more than the entrepreneurial/attractional model has to offer.

I am filled with wonder when someone tells me that the church in America does not need to be re-imagined. This is simply a failure of discernment. The reformation slogan, semper reformanda, speaks to this very need. As do Christ's letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2-3. Organic Christianity may seem like nothing more than another catch-phrase, but it encapsulates the dream of many--including (I would humbly suggest) of God Himself.


Rick Blake said...

Some great insight.


Bob Spencer said...