Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Heart of Worship

William wrote: I don't think that the "worship" part of our services is as important as we have made it out to be. It is critically important to surrender to God and praise Him, but did not Abraham do that when he sacrificed his son? What is worship? What will it look like in the future with the post-modern generation?

Friday, May 18, 2007

You shall be my witnesses...

OK, OK--time to catch a quick breath, reshuffle the deck, and play a new hand.

I've noticed that in our conversations so far, the term 'witness' hasn't appeared, so I'd like to see if we can't adjust our trajectory a bit in that direction.

We are called to make disciples, and called to BE witnesses. The two are related, but I find the concept of 'witness' intriguing. In one sense, a witness doesn't 'do' anything; he or she is more of a pointer or a reporter. I don't mean to limit 'witness' to a courtroom definition... a 'witness' can function simply as a signpost for those who are looking for direction. The created order 'witnesses' to the Lord, but its witness is easily dismissed or overlooked, or mis-interpreted. In a similar fashion, Jesus on the cross was a witness to the world, and to the individuals in it. There is an interesting active-passive dimension to this: in one sense, Jesus doesn't 'do' anything, other than hang there and die, but at the same time, we understand that he accomplished everything, and the cross 'witnesses' to this reality. We're each in his way activists... and I'm not wanting to turn us into 'passivists'... but let's talk about the ways in which 'witness' might modify, shape, steer our conversations about building, making, demonstrating, discipling, getting it right, etc.

So: witnesses to Christ... to his resurrection... to the Kingdom.

Your turn to flip over a card.

Monday, May 7, 2007

God Makes All Things New

Things were getting just a bit cumbersome, so let's take a fresh start. I expect that we'll continue with many threads from the previous posts-and-comments, but, especially for newer members, it's a bit daunting to plow through 100+ comments just to catch up!

Let's pick up from a comment that John made. Paraphrasing, he reminded us that God is the one who makes/is making all things new. This Isaianic prophecy is reaffirmed throughout the NT (new commandment, new covenant, new creation, new community, new commission, just for starters), and is nearly the final comment in our Scripture--"Behold," says the one seated on the throne, "I am making everything new!" (Rev 21:5). This is what we've been wrestling with, the continuities and discontinuities between the "new" and the "old."

Let me suggest the Resurrection as an icon for us, as it provides an interesting "take" on the new and the old. In one sense, the Resurrection strongly reaffirms the "old"--against gnosticism in all its forms, the physical body of Jesus was raised to new life. God has neither abandoned our bodies, nor the creation in which those embodied persons live, move and have their beings. At the same time, the resurrection body is unlike anything we know. It is both continuous with the old, yet also discontinuous. It is not a "natural progression" from the old; we can't look at the old and then find our way automatically into the new... yet once we find ourselves in the new, it nevertheless has a familiar ring or feel to it. We feel "at home," even though we've never been there before!

As Joseph said, these conversations don't require much steering, and God help anyone who attempts to "manage" them! Gentlemen, and all ladies who care to join in, start your engines!