Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Sunday with U2

U2, “Window in the Skies,” off 18 album

The shackles are undone, the bullets quit the gun
The heat that’s in the sun will keep us when there’s none
The rule has been disproved, the stone it has been moved
The grave is now a groove, all debts are removed

Chorus: Oh can’t you see what love has done?

This song is from the more obscure end of the U2 catalogue. It appears on the 18 album which has 16 old songs, followed by two new ones, “Window in the Skies,” and “The Saints are Coming” (with Green Day). An album saved from being greatest hits! The song was released as a single, making it to number 1 in Canada and only sung live once.

While obscure, theologically the lyrics do a lot of work. They speak of resurrection – “stone it has been moved, the grave is now a groove.” They pick up a number of Old Testament motifs – “bullets quit the gun” has echoes of swords into ploughshares (Isaiah 2:4), while “the debts are removed” clicks with Jubilee images, words which introduce Jesus ministry (Luke 4:18-19), and echo the dreams of Isaiah ( Isaiah 61:1,2; 58:6). Resurrection begins God’s new reign of peace and justice. Everything changes.

Interestingly, it might be that for U2, Resurrection is tied very tightly to Ascension with the line “love left a window in the skies.” While traditionally Christians celebrate 40 days between Resurrection and before Ascension, this is based on the Acts narrative. Different Gospels are more ambiguous about an actual timeline, making worth pondering a closer tying together of Resurrection and Ascension as a fused activity.

There are two videos of “Window in the skies.” One uses footage of nearly 100 clips of other famous musicians performing in concert. The clips are, very cleverly, edited together so that their movements match up with the U2 song, while U2 appear in the crowds as fans. It suggests that U2 are playing homage to a long line of music history. (Or, cynically, that U2 are placing themselves in a long history of famous musicians.)

Again, this is interesting theologically, for it suggests another way to understand resurrection, through a long history, a tradition not musical but saint. Not saint as in perfect, but saint as in fellow believer. Faith in resurrection comes not just because I believe in “stone it has been moved” some 2000 years ago. I believe because I see resurrection life in others, in acts of grace and compassion, in love of enemies (“love makes strange enemies”). Those early disciples, together, through each others trembling testimony, gradually come to believe. In so doing, “can’t you see what love has done” is expressed, personified even, through a long history. That’s the wonder of resurrection.

Something not only for life, but for living.

For entire U2 at Easter catalogue keep coming back over next few days of Easter (Maundy Thursday is here, Good Friday is here, Holy Saturday is here). For more of my U2 and theology reflections check the backcatalogue. For another popular culture take on Easter, see my Holy week at the movies.

Posted by steve at 04:08 PM

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Holy Saturday with U2

Wake Up Dead Man, from Pop album

This is a song of lament, in which God is absent. “I’m alone in this world, And a f**ked up world it is too.” It’s on the “Pop” album, which begins all bright and shiny, full of the bling and “bright promise” of a song like Discotheque, but ends with “the dark night of the soul that is “Wake Up Dead Man.”” (U2 by U2, 269)

For U2′s the Edge, this song is reality. “That is really the truth of our lot. You are on your own, even in a crowd. Whatever you’re doing, ultimately it’s about you and your Maker.” (U2 by U2, 269) The absence of God prompts prayer, the request to wake up, the request to rewind time. A new world is possible in the first verse, a request to hear the story of eternity, “the way it’s all gonna be.” But by the third verse, even that possibility is being questioned – “If there’s an order in all of this disorder.”

This song has echoes of Lamentations. The book of Lamentations appears rarely in the Church Lectionary. The church sometimes rips Lamentations 3:22-23

The Lord’s compassions never fail
They are new every morning
Great is thy faithfulness

out of context and into a clappy chorus. But the entire book is one of mourning. It gets bleaker, chapter by chapter. God is absent. Dead. No bling. No bright promises. The earth weeps. There is no order in any disorder. The book of Lamentations is what I read on Holy Saturday, after Friday and before Sunday.

Some years ago, while doing post-graduate study, a compulsory integrative theology topic on death, I stumbled across the work of Alan Lewis. He notes that Christianity pays little attention to Holy Saturday. But it needs to learn to say “Wake Up Dead Man,” to learn the discipline of “mournful waiting.” Lewis’ work is best captured in Between Cross and Resurrection: A Theology of Holy Saturday. It’s not a theoretical book. He wrote it while he was dying of cancer.

It’s interesting that despite being such a bleak song, “Wake Up Dead Man,” it’s often played at U2 concerts. It suggests something about the way the song connects. There are plenty more people than U2 singing “Wake up Dead Man.” Holy Saturday might just have some important mission possibilities in our world today.

For entire U2 at Easter catalogue keep coming back over next few days of Easter (Maundy Thursday is here, Good Friday is here). For more of my U2 and theology reflections check the backcatalogue. For another popular culture take on Easter, see my Holy week at the movies.

Posted by steve at 09:54 AM

Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday with U2

U2, “Pride” off Unforgettable Fire album

Bono describes the songs origins, both the sound and the lyrics.

“‘Pride in the name of love’ came out of a soundcheck in Hawaii, the melody and the chords. Around about that time I met a journalist … he had given me a book called Let the Trumpet Sound: A Life of Martin Luther King, Jr. (Personal note – I read this while training to be a Baptist pastor, and it certainly widened my eyes about what Baptist ministry could look like), a biography of Dr King, and another on Malcolm X. They were covering different sides of the civil rights discussion, the violent and the non-violent. They were important books to me. The next album started there in Hawaii, with thoughts of man’s inhumanity to his fellow-man on my mind.” (U2 by U2, 145)

The song focuses on Martin Luther King, but honours the Christianity so central to King’s vision and passion.

One man betrayed with a kiss
In the name of love!
What more in the name of love?
- U2, Pride lyrics

And a story of willingness to sacrifice, from within the band itself. Bono talks about being the recipient of a death threat in the US, and being advised by the FBI to cancel the concert, or at the least not to sing Pride.

“”I remember actually, in the middle of “Pride,” thinking, for a second: “Gosh! What if somebody was organized, or in the rafters of the building, or somebody, here and there, just had a handgun?” I just closed my eyes and I sang this middle verse, with my eyes closed, trying to concentrate and forget about this ugliness, and just keep close to the beauty that’s suggested in the song. I looked up, at the end of that verse, and Adam was standing in front of me. It was one of those moments where you know what it means to be in a band.” (Bono on Bono, 122)

Personally, I think Good Friday asks us not only to find the beauty in love, but insists we find it with our eyes open, fully aware that in Christ it grows stronger no matter man’s inhumanity.”

In the name of love!
What more in the name of love?
- U2, Pride lyrics

For entire U2 at Easter catalogue keep coming back over next few days of Easter (Maundy Thursday is here). For more of my U2 and theology reflections check the backcatalogue. For another popular culture take on Easter, see my Holy week at the movies.

Posted by steve at 12:23 PM

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Maundy Thursday with U2

U2, “Until the end of the world,” off Achtung Baby album.

“The lyric was written very quickly in Wexford in my father-in-law’s house. I woke up one morning and it was in my head, a conversation between Jesus and Judas.” – Bono , U2 by U2, 225

A verse about the Last Supper, a verse about the Garden of Gethsemane, a verse about the crucifixion. Looking at Jesus from Judas perspective, picking up on the Messianic end of times notes from Jesus Jerusalem speeches. And ending with a very broad understanding of the inclusivity of the Final resurrection.

Last time we met was a low-lit room
We were as close together as a bride and groom
We ate the food, we drank the wine
- 1st verse, Until the end of the world

In the garden I was playing the tart
I kissed your lips and broke your heart
- 2nd verse, Until the end of the world

I reached out for the one I tried to destroy
You…you said you’d wait
’til the end of the world
- 3rd verse Until the end of the world

For entire U2 at Easter catalogue keep coming back over next few days of Easter. For more of my U2 and theology reflections check the backcatalogue. For another popular culture take on Easter, see my Holy week at the movies.

Posted by steve at 09:52 PM

Studies in Ecclesiology and Ethnography series: a “down under” perspective

Today I took a break from the Sustainability in fresh expressions book project. I’ve written about 26,000 words, plus transcribed 10 hour long interviews in the last month, and I’m a bit knackered. Lacking sustainability! Plus there were a number of pressing tasks on my academic “must-do” list.

It was good, in the midst of a major book writing project, to pause and actually get something done. For those interested here is my conference paper abstract for the Christians in Communities – Christians as Communities conference (more…)

Posted by steve at 06:10 PM

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Easter friday childrens talk

floweringcross1.jpg

(Flowering the cross from an Easter at Opawa Baptist)

Last Easter, sitting in church, I heard a 3 year old ask her mother the “Why” question: Why did Jesus die? I wondered what I would say if I was asked. How to explain something so complex? I had a crack and blogged it at the time – (Why did Jesus die? the 3 year old asked)

There was some helpful comment, folk wanting to grab it for their services, so I thought I would re-post it, but also try and explain some of my working.

I think that Easter Friday is the toughest service of the year for a Christian minister. It is an extraordinary communication challenge and I hope that some of my thinking helps you in your task.

Theologically, there are some things I was trying to avoid. One is an anti-Semitism, which blames the Jews. Not that the three year old might notice. But her parents and the tradition of the church most certainly need to. So the shift that goes on at the end is important (“Not just the people around Jesus. All people. Through history. Even you and I. So much of it.”)

And some things I was wanting to encourage. First, a visual and tactile encounter. So the use of a cross, the horizontal and vertical, as a way of trying to engage that part of a person’s memory making. Communicating is always much more than a rational exercise.

Second, the wholistic. I begin with the social, with all the people. I’m trying to work with more corporate understandings of the atonement, rather than an individualistic “Jesus died for my sins.”

Third, and finally, a range of atonement images. Scripture gifts us a range (Understanding the Atonement for the Mission of the Church) and the least we can do is honour that range, rather than stick with our favourite.

A liberationist (“He said and did things they didn’t like.”) In this model, Jesus is the liberator, who stands for justice. This liberation has a particular approach, a refusal to take up arms against the oppressor, instead choosing, by non-violent acts of protest, to spotlight evil. The result is death. Yet in the economy of God, death leads to life. The death continues to inspire many, down through the centuries to work for justice.

Then there was an Aberlardian exemplar. (“Jesus died as an expression of love, God’s love.”) In this image, Jesus, in life and death is an example of God’s love. I am also riffing on some of Julian of Norwich, her notion of God’s love as being a judgement on us (“Jesus took a different approach. He decided to love them”). In her understanding, we all have our human, selfish, twisted, (subjective) notions of love. We need something outside ourselves to define love in all it’s beauty and purity. That comes to us in the person of Jesus.

Then there is sponge atonement image (“a sponge that soaks up all the spilt milk”). I’m not actually sure that this fits with any of the historic images (Christus Victor, satisfaction, Abelard’s exemplar, substitutionary, liberationist). Perhaps it’s new and unique and I’m a genuinely creative theologian (lol). But I knew that a 3 year old would be able to relate to spills, to mess. And in a much more helpful way than “your sin.” And I personally really connect with the sense of God in Jesus as a sort of cosmic shock absorber. All that pain, torture, desolation, is absorbed on Easter Friday by that body. There is no pushback, no desire for revenge. Simply a care for his family. I am riffing of Miroslav Volf, (Exclusion & Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation) his insight that we need to find ways to break the cycle of violence and that this happens in the cross.

So there we are – some explanation of my theological “workings.” I welcome push back and I hope some of my thinking even if you disagree, helps you in your task.

“Why did Jesus die?” she whispered beside me. Three years old, pretty in pink, shoes not yet touching the floor, her mother gently sushed her.  This, after all, was church. Where visitors want to be seen, not heard.

But it’s the question that needs answering each and every Easter.

“Could we think of the cross?” I thought. “It has a flat piece, a horizontal piece, that points to people. Jesus died because the people around him killed him. He said and did things they didn’t like. He said things about God they didn’t agree with. They couldn’t stop him, so they decided to kill him.

Jesus also died, not only because people did something. But also because some people did nothing. Stood silent. Kept their mouths shout.

But the people around Jesus, that is only one part of why Jesus died. The cross not only has a flat piece, a horizontal piece. It also has an up and down piece, a vertical piece. That points to God.

Jesus died as an expression of love, God’s love. There are many ways to respond to evil people and evil plans. We can fight them, run from them, avoid them.

Jesus took a different approach. He decided to love them. It was like he became a sponge that soaks up all the spilt milk.

In the up and down part of the cross, God sucking up all the evil and pain in the world. Think of all the bad things people have done. And not done.

Not just the people around Jesus. All people. Through history. Even you and I. So much of it.

No wonder he died, one person trying to love all the evil out of life. That’s why Jesus died.”

Posted by steve at 08:43 AM

Monday, March 25, 2013

It looks fantastic

“It looks fantastic. Opening ourselves to new ways of encountering Scripture has got to be a good thing. Having had a tantalising taste of Sense Making Faith for myself (see here and here), I’m keen for other ministers and Christian leaders to experience it. We will distribute this to all our ministers and key leaders with a hearty endorsement – Dr Greg Elsdon”

A very supportive comment from Dr Greg Elsdon, State Minister. Churches of Christ in SA & NT, when he saw the Sense Making Faith publicity.

“Sense making faith” is a course specially designed to help participants be more aware of God through all their senses. It is an experiential course that takes you on a spiritual journey. Each session will uncover Biblical resources, the church tradition and our world today. Space will be given to reflect on the implications for mission, church and discipleship. Specific coaching in relation to application to speaking and worship leading in the context of the local church and its ministries will be available if wanted.

Ten weeks of journey facilitated by three guides:
Steve Taylor – Principal of Uniting College, writer, blogger
Mark Hewitt – Minister at The Corner UC, visual artist, photographer, with a passion for creating spaces that are worshipful and allow spiritual exploration
Sarah Agnew – a poet and Biblical storyteller. She leads the church with biblical storytelling, workshops in storytelling, poetry, worship and public speaking, teaching biblical studies and writing stories, prayers and liturgy.

So if you would like to deepen your spirituality and/or to help lead others in worship, preaching or devotions in ways that are engaging and inspirational, then “Sense making faith” is for you.

Wednesday evenings 7pm for 7.30-9.00pm, commencing April 24 through to June 19, The Corner Uniting Church, Warradale

Audit fee: $275.00. (Or can be taken for credit as a Guided Reading in the Diploma or Bachelor of Ministry)

For more information download brochure from Sense Making Faith April web or contact Eloise Scherer at Uniting College: 08 8416 8420.

Posted by steve at 07:58 AM

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Palm Sunday worship and mission creative resources

Lots of internet search traffic interest looking for Palm Sunday resources, so here they are collected together – borrow, add, cut, paste – enjoy:

  • Palm Sunday worship stations here
  • the J(pod) Palm Sunday sound track here
  • Palm Sunday mission stations here
  • the politics of prayer here
Posted by steve at 12:34 PM

Friday, March 22, 2013

when it’s broke, there are ways, not to fix it, but to refound it

This has been part of my world this week – Methodist history.

With the guidance of President Andrew Dutney, I’ve been reading about John Wesley (and trying to avoid the interesting diversions like Moravian financial collapses and the resultant impact on mission). I’ve been following a research hunch and testing a research theory. Gerard Arbuckle, From Chaos to Mission: Refounding Religious Life Formation talks about the difference between renewal and refounding. Renewal modifies old methods. Refounding goes back to first principles and allows them to become imaginative resources in the radical rethinking of the way we do things.

Arbuckle thus encourages a focus on the stories, the fundamental questions and the founding vision of the group. Hence my research. If Fresh expressions is about mission what are the mission stories that lie in British soil? How might they be re-found? I’ve been looking at three areas, with Methodism being one. Hence the pile of books.

Take one example: a founding story

“The Wesley emphasis on mission as determining order.” (Rack, The Future of John Wesley’s Methodism)

So the refounding story:

“To determine its shape and structure the future Church may have to return to Wesley’s insight – that such matters be decided by mission.” (Rack, The Future of John Wesley’s Methodism.)

(For another, and very contemporary example, I think this is a superb example of refounding, Andrew Dutney returning to the Basis of Union,)

Posted by steve at 02:23 PM

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

National conference on mission and evangelism

Uniting College are delighted to be partnering with this initiative, with President Andrew Dutney and the Uniting Church of Australia:

A national conference on mission and evangelism in Adelaide next year: 28-30 March 2014. Uniting College for Leadership & Theology is planning to a five day intensive course on mission and evangelism immediately following the conference for those who are interested and available to participate.

The conference will be open to anyone in the Uniting Church, but it is intended to be particularly helpful for people involved in missional innovation, leadership, community development, training for ministry, and in service across a variety of contexts – congregations, agencies, schools, presbyteries, synods, and global connections. And we’re particularly keen to ensure that the young adult leaders who initiated the idea get to address their agenda in the gathering.

But why would we want to call a national conference on mission and evangelism for the Uniting Church anyway? Well, it’s really all about who we are.

The Uniting Church was formed around the realisation that the Christian movement is all about mission. In paragraph 3 of the Basis of Union the mission God is identified as “reconciliation and renewal…for the whole creation”. Moreover, “The Church’s call is to serve that end…” The church exists for the sake of that mission of God, as a sign, instrument and foretaste of what God in Christ has done as is doing by the power of the Holy Spirit. It exists for mission and evangelism, to live and share the Gospel that heals and transforms broken people and societies.

The Copernican insight that resulted in the formation of the Uniting Church was that in the church of God everything revolves around mission and evangelism – and that none of the things that were keeping the Congregational, Methodist and Presbyterian churches apart could be justified in terms of the mission of God. It was hard, risky, but there could be no more excuses. It all had to go and a new Uniting Church in Australia inaugurated with the prayer that “God will use their common worship, witness and service to set forth the word of salvation for all people” (Basis of Union paragraph 1).

It’s still true, however, that a lot of what we do, enjoy and are comforted by as a church is not about mission at all – even less about evangelism. A lot of it is just habit, nostalgia, vested interest, or merely a lack of imagination. The need to discern what participation in the mission of God requires of us is ongoing – and so is the need to measure what we are already doing against it.

The Uniting Church is going through a time of tremendous change. Some of it we have chosen but much of it is simply generated by the force of circumstances. In this time of change it is critical that we keep in front of us the point of it all – mission and evangelism or, more properly, participation in the mission of God in Australia today.

In recent years most of our presbyteries and synods have engaged in some kind of process intended to do just that. A national conference on mission and evangelism is a means of acknowledging and encouraging that work. It is also a means of bringing together the insights of the different councils of the church into a fresh national process of missional discernment. It is an opportunity to articulate a shared vision of mission and evangelism linking the church’s congregations, councils and community service agencies.

Posted by steve at 07:41 PM

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

education changes

This would make a great discussion starter for an organisation, for a church leadership retreat, or for a group of ministers, who are all, after all, in the educating line.

Hat tip Scot McKnight.

Two of the points: Point 1 – from physical and digital and Point 6 – from isolation to connectivism were actually wonderfully illustrated in an interaction I had with Scot back in early 2011. At the time, I was writing a distance learning topic, on Jesus Christ today. Scot has a wonderful story, in his excellent book, A Community Called Atonement: Living Theology, which I had used it one Easter and it struck a chord with many folk.

The story mentioned a song, the lyrics of which had inspired a nurse in her care for a disadvantaged human. Wondering, for the sake of a distance learning topic, in case a student asked, what the full lyrics of the song might be, in a random moment, I emailed Scot, as the author, to ask if he knew.

Overnight he replied, saying he didn’t know, but providing the contact details for the nurse.

Whom I then emailed, now able to not only ask for a detail, but to also tell her about the impact of her story on the other side of the world!

She replied, grateful, with a few more details which I was able to add to the distance learning topic. All of this happened within 36 hours: made possible because of the shift from physical and digital, bringing about not isolation but connectivism. It provided feedback and encouragement for Scot and the nurse, added needed detail to the distance topic for students, plus some richer information for them in the communication of the story.

Posted by steve at 08:18 AM

Sunday, March 17, 2013

grassed off at the Adelaide Oval

“So significant is sport to Australians that an evaluation of their life without an understanding of their attitude towards sport would lead to an incomplete result.” (Geoff Cheong, “Sports Loving Australians: A Sacred Obsession,” Sacred Australia: Post Secular Considerations, edited by Makarand Paranjape, 2009, 237.)

I grew up listening to cricket on radio. Summer was about watching cricket, playing cricket, listening to cricket. When it finished in New Zealand, different time zones meant that the radio would take us to Australia for the final hours play of each and every test match. Across the static, I’d listen to these hard accents describe Boxing Day in Melbourne, the bounce of the WACA and the grass of Adelaide Oval.

Today I got some of that grass. Four pieces of turf from the Oval. The Adelaide Oval is under re-construction. It includes a resurfaces. So 2000 pieces of turf from Adelaide Oval were offered to the public. First come, first served, from 9 am Sunday morning.

I went for an early morning drive, arrived about 8:20 am, to find a long queue, stretching up the hill and down the road.

By about 9:30 am, I had my stash and was excitedly texting a friend, offering them a piece of the action.

It’s just grass. Just atoms and dirt. Yet on this grass history has been made and identity expressed. Dreams have been shattered and joy has been gained. For White Australia, so shallow rooted in this red land, sporting grounds become a way to express a sense of place.

While some of the below is a bit dated, Anglican Vicar, Geoff Cheong writes:

From a Christian perspective Australian sport could be said to carry the marks of the great Crucifixion/Resurrection story. White Australian history began with death to England and its ways, and the pain of suffering and rejection. Today Australians regularly celebrate their sport as an expression of triumph in life. Relatively small in number, nothing deters them from ever tackling the Goliaths of international sport. They continue to count each and every victory as an affirmation of their own valued identity. (Geoff Cheong, “Sports Loving Australians: A Sacred Obsession,” Sacred Australia: Post Secular Considerations, edited by Makarand Paranjape, 2009, 250.)

Posted by steve at 09:32 PM

Friday, March 15, 2013

a play me faith

Faith seeking understanding; Lex orandi, lex credendi – “the law of prayer is the law of belief”; we act our way into a new imagination (Al Roxburgh).

All of these are reminders that Christianity is something in which you participate. And as you participate, you are formed, shaped, moulded in the way of Jesus. A “play me” faith.

One of my delights in London was discovering the “play me” piano’s – bright pink, well signed “Play me”, standing at places like St Pancras Train Station and Heathrow.

And the constant bursts of noise, as young and old had a go. Simply played. Sometimes it was simple, a Chopsticks. Other times it was beautiful. Isn’t that the way of faith. It has both simplicity and depth; both Jesus loves me and the indwelling of the three persons of the Trinity in a perichoretic dance of love.

Sometimes it was a first time, the delight as a three year realised their finger could make that noise. Other times it was a regretful caress, a sixty year old remembering a past, a skill not practised, a talent not developed. Again, isn’t that the way of faith. It needs to be rich enough to evangelise first timers, wistful enough to beckon the dechurched, rich enough to nourish the overchurched. So often churches rush for one of these positions, proud of their front door or glad of their theological precision. But a “play me” faith is surely for all, not a narrow band.

A “play me” faith has theory. Embedded in every chord is a mass of musical knowledge, let alone the psychics by which black and white keys produces notes. But you don’t need to learn the theory to play.

During my recent UK Sustainability and fresh expressions research, a “play me” faith was a feature. Worship as something we do rather than is done to us, mission as a chance to encounter God in explore prayer.

Posted by steve at 10:20 AM

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Gender matters: in church structures

Today I’ve been writing (Sustainability and fresh expressions book project) on the history of mission in Great Britain. What has the God of mission been up to in the past? How might that help us analyse the current and dream of a future?

More specifically, I’ve been writing about the voluntary missionary society, a significant and important gift, from Great Britain, to the world. William Carey, often called the father of modern mission, in his hugely influential An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to Use Means, argued not only for mission, but also for a new structure for mission. Drawing from the world of commerce, the trading company and the way it, through seeking shareholders, created participation and enabled action, Carey wondered:

Suppose a company of serious Christians, ministers and private persons, were to form themselves into a society, and make a number of rules respecting the regulation of the plan, and the persons who are to be employed as missionaries, the means of defraying the expense, etc etc

Missiologist Andrew Walls considers this of huge significance, a revolutionary re-structuring of the church in light of mission. He also notes a number of outcomes, including gender matters, the way it allowed women’s giftedness. Walls argues that voluntary societies

assisting [the church's] declericalization, giving new scope for women’s energies and gifts and adding an international dimension which hardly any of the churches, growing as they did within a national framework, had any means of expressing. After the age of the voluntary society, the Western Church could never be the same again. Andrew Walls, “Missionary societies and the Fortunate Subversion of the Church.”

Often church structures impede women, as so eloquently attested in Maggi Dawn’s recent book. But sometimes (albiet probably unintentionally), they allow the body of Christ to experience “new scope for women’s energies and gifts.” In other words, to more fully be the body.

Yeah for church restructuring!

Posted by steve at 04:31 PM