What’s it all about?

Have you ever felt like punching the air and shouting “yes!” when a writer presents something that has really touched you deep inside?

It happened to me this morning.

To be honest, I was avoiding some dreary admin form which was asking me the same question multiple times in multiple ways. I’d had enough. So, finding an excuse, I picked up a book that I have been reading for some time. This is what I read;

Once we get caught up in leadership roles of responsibilities and accountabilities, it is easy to lose sight of an all important question: what are we really inviting people into when we invite them to join us on our Spiritual journey? With all our emphasis on external signs of progress, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that we are not primarily into our plans and schemes. We are inviting them into a life giving way of life in God.

(Ruth Haley Barton – Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership)

I punched the air!

I shouted “yes”!

Now please understand this. I love the Christian Church. I love being amongst Christians. I love the things that we are engaged in but, there is a danger that we can become all about being an organisation rather than a radical disciple making movement.

I appreciate that there needs to be a structure and policies and so forth but, when these begin to take up so much management, I find myself wondering if the Holy Spirit is being squeezed out.

As Ruth Haley Barton progresses in her thoughts, she talks about community and the way that the Christian community is shaped by the flow of life around it.

As I look at the flow of life in our wider communities at the moment, I am more and more aware of how dysfunctional our world is. One glimpse at the news only seems to support this view. If you look at Social Media, you can see the depth of anger and fear that is generated. I read, in the news recently, more than 60 children per day ring Childline with suicidal thoughts.

What kind of world are we creating?

Jesus said;

I have come that they may have life in all its fullness
(John 10 vs. 10)

It’s obvious to me that the wider community are not living “life in all its fullness”. If I can be brave, I am not sure that the church community is living “life in all its fullness. As I look at my own life, I know I am not living “life in all its fullness”.

This has to change. But how?

Ruth Haley Barton provides some insight;

The process of crafting a life-giving way of life in community is led by leaders who are willing to make tough calls on concrete matters that affect our pace and our levels of expectation…… When making such decisions spiritual leaders ask, “how will this affect our quality of life, the quality of our relationships in community, our families, our attention to prayer and spiritual journeying, our ability to maintain sane rhythms of work and rest (particularly the Sabbath)?

(Ruth Haley Barton – Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership)

We have to be brave enough to name our present reality and recognise that it is unsustainable.

We have to be brave enough to recognise and stop unhealthy practices.

We have to be brave enough to build deeper community with each other

I don’t have any answers as to how we can do this. I just know that this is something we, at the fellowship I am privileged to be part of, need to start looking at.

6 thoughts on “What’s it all about?

  1. The Institutional forms of being Church are dying and resurrection will take place. There is much to be gained by Christian Meditation and Contemplation in fellowship with other pilgrims. That is a new way of being Church. The leadership of the Church has in some cases become egotistical and powerful in the wrong sense. When the laity gather, as they should, they would be wise to find a new way of leadership – accountable , yes, but gentle.

  2. i think “Life in all all its fullness”, or abundant life, is perhaps something that we misunderstand. We want it to mean a life where I am always happy and everything goes my way and is successful in my eyes, but that might not be the abundance that God wants for us. Jesus gave up His precious life and reputation – His ALL- for the Joy set before Him. If we want a cushy life, we don’t follow Jesus.

  3. I find almost one of our busiest days is the sabbath when we get up early to go to music practice and then off and come back for something else in the afternoon. At times something I have to make a cake or a big plate of sandwiches for. It has occurred to me that this is a Sabbathday. But I don’t begrudge doing it

    1. Perhaps meditations could be done on another evening or on a Saturday or maybe bring and share Teas could happen on a Saturday. Maybe we could see how it goes to forego the early morning singing practice on a Sunday.

      1. I am not sure that would work. Evenings and Saturday’s tend to be pretty full anyway. In terms of the singing practice, I think it is needed. We have tried to come up with a time that is not too early for folk but, allows for people to arrive at the service without feeling “in the way”.
        Keep thinking, I am sure there are other things we can do to show the difference Jesus makes

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