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,)