Tuesday, January 06, 2009
sustainable spirituality: beyond missional
“You have a hard act to sell” he said. I looked puzzled, so he explained. Your essential message is “You don’t need to be here. That’s the opposite of most churches, which involves getting more involved with their vision.”
I could interpret this conversation, held in a sunny spot a few days ago, in missional terms. I could take it as a compliment, an acute and accurate summary of my preaching and my commitment to Kingdom trumping church, to sending over coming, to life in the world over life indoors.
But what might this thinking look like in sustainable spirituality terms? You see, a person might not need to be here at church. They could be missional in their workplace or home.
But, in order for that to happen, they will need sustaining, when their energy leaks, when the season is winter, not summer.
What’s more, they will need connecting. What are the already networks, existing and present that they could plug into, serve with and among.
What’s more, they will need community, like minded people to share stories among, theologise with. Such community could be in the missional network. It could equally be a smaller grouping of likeminded people, a collective committed to the shared missional context. It could equally be the multi-form already existing gathered community, the “here”, the ordinary Sunday service, in which liturgy and preaching are formed and pre-formed, by questions of God’s mission.
At times, they will need resourcing. This could be as simple as a shared library. Or by dipping into a specific course, weekend or block.
And along the way, there are people who have no idea, yet, of what it means to partner with God in God’s world, to live missionally “there.” They’re broken – by debt, by marriage, by mental health. They are scarred – by unforgiveness and sickness and addiction. They need a gathering point, and a wide range of relationships to provide nurture and healing.
In other words …
Sustainable spirituality says “you don’t need to be here”, but some of us will be here, to connect and resources and sustain. Sustainable spirituality will celebrate church as ordinary, singing as everyday and faith as regular. It knows that these situations are findable, and can be hospitable, and become agents of healing. Sustainable spirituality will work hard at creating constant and multiple pathways by which the “out there” is connected and resourced.
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