Wednesday, January 02, 2008

What is the church?

An exert from Michael Frost’s book Exiles,
Tom Sine has said, “We will need to aggressively work for the ‘re-monking’ of the church to enable followers of Jesus Christ to intentionally set the focus and rhythm of their lives out of biblical calling instead of cultural coercion.” Similarly, Stuart Murray suggests that, as a church we need to reimagine ourselves as, “monastic missionary orders, communities of encouragement, support and training from which we emerge to live as Christians in the workplace and to which we return for reflection and renewal.” (p.150).

Jan_Feb Relevant Magazine interview with Rob Bell:
"Church is when you are sitting around in your living room with people who would give their lives for one another... Church is the people whom you are journeying with, and I think we are already seeing what that looks like. It has nothing to do with the building you meet in, it has nothing to do with the name, it has nothing to do with how great your website is - its about new humanity. It's about people connecting with each other at the deepest, deepest levels of our being."

Your thoughts?

4 comments:

terrytimm said...

good question to begin the new year with, bj. we are going to journey together as a faith community through ephesians during this next season (will be looking to compare notes with you and open door's study).

two provocative excerpts. i find sine and murray's more compelling, substantive, missional and biblical. i appreciate rob's comment about a new humanity, but if the church is truly going to live and as the People of God it must be a new humanity restored and reconciled (and restoring and reconciling) in and through Jesus. It is more than just sharing the journey or connecting at a deep level. it is living as a community called atonement.

bj woodworth said...

amen brother!

Sarah Louise said...

BJ,

Love that word, "re-monking." And "communities of encouragement." And while Bell might be more humanistic, I think he is right on the money. It reminds me of that song, "The church is not a building but all of God's people all around the world, yes, we're the church together..." Glad to be on this journey with you.

SL

Kyle said...

It seems to me that all three of the quotes you have there lay out a "version" of the church that is very counter-cultural and community oriented. Living the monastic life in a rhythm completely devoted to Jesus Christ, dropping the "it's all about me" attitude to pick up an attitude of encouragement of support, and building a "new humanity" are all things that go against the cultural norms of the american dream, consumerism, and "pulling yourself up by your bootstraps."

What if Christians truly were that counter-cultural? I think the church needs to be that beacon of light Jesus refers to as the city on a hill-- the kind of city where people show love to their neighbor, don't give in to mammon, and "connect with each other at the deepest levels of our being." It's all about being Christ to each other and Seeing Christ in each other. When we start to live that way, we eventually realize that "to live is Christ and to die is gain."