after having frost and hirsch on my side bar for almost a year, and on my bedside table for just as long, i actually started really reading it...not just scanning it, while traveling to costa rica earlier in may. the first two chapters resonated so much with what i was already thinking, and what we were reading in preparation for our time in costa rica that i had to take notice! and recommend to our class...journey group, that we read the book together. and as i drove up and back to jury duty last week, i had the pleasure to listen to frost and hirsch on CD from the conference they did in pittsburgh the weekend before the WALP conference in april of this year. rob had the pleasure to be their in person, and he lovingly ordered the CD's for me....
since i had the brilliant idea of the book, i got to do the first blog post for our journey group blog on our reading...mostly questions and musings as i am want to do...
just thinking out loud and thought i would share some of it with you on my own blog.
I am always alert to take notice when things come at me in threes. Maybe it’s my Celtic Trinitarian bent, or maybe it is just my stubborn, hard headedness that causes me to need to see or hear something three times before I really “get it”. Whichever, I am seeing and hearing much of what Frost and Hirsch are saying in other places and thus I am “taking notice” and attempting to really listen to what the Holy Spirit is “whispering” to me and perhaps to all of us as folks who are looking at emerging church, emerging faith in the 21st century.
One of the first things that leaps out at me, is the death of Christendom and the need for a revolution. The article by Pablo Richard, and a talk Phyllis Tickle did on “post everything” at Emergent Nashville, all resonate with Frost and Hirsch and the fact that what we have lived in since Constantine made Christianity legal, is no longer. We are now living in a new era and with this new era comes the need to do and be church in entirely new ways!
Questions I have ….
Are we willing to really believe this?
Are we willing to abandon old thinking that the attractional model works? ( as I have shared, even Map Room, a very experiential outside the box worship gathering has been used as an attractional device to build community rather than it being worship that comes from or is created from a community’s experience.)
Are we willing to give up control and power and allow a flattened leadership structure and give power to the people? (We aren’t really trained for this…and all we’ve been taught is how to be a good leader…not much training in how to be good listeners.)
Are we willing to truly live out our faith in culture and see our culture as an opportunity rather than a curse? Are we really willing to be missionaries?
And just how does one become a missionary to our neighborhoods and live missionally now…not just in the future? But also, in starting or being communities, are we really being missional? Or are we just being church the same ole way just doing the coffee and candles “shtick”.
Are we willing to be new Celts…and learn to bring Christianity into the tribes we meet using their language and their art, and their stuff?
Second leaping concept: …Jesus went to the marginalized. Grassroots level of what God is doing….Pablo emphasized refounding Christianity on the basis of the four gospels and bringing the bible to the people. Working among the excluded people to create spaces at the grassroots level …participation of all people, justice for all people. Jesus for all people. Frost and Hirsch emphasis the power of proximity…being among the people, and the power of shared projects and not just being a worshipping body, but being a source of action and/ or provider of services for a tribe or community. (like the shoe store, the nuns in England, and the arts center in Pomona, CA)
♦ Proximity …being among the people
♦ Projects…participating together in life, in service, in justice, in creativity with purpose
♦ Provision….what we do and how we live matters…is the new church a part of infrastructure of the community?
And in their conference in Pittsburgh they emphasized Powerlessness…which goes back to my questions above.
I see much of this happening in what my friends in Seattle are doing, especially since Seattle is one of the most “unchurched”, post Christian places in the US. Rachelle Mee Chapman (Monkfish Abbey) and Karen Ward (Church of the Apostles )are providing space for folks to be with Jesus and experience community of Jesus….Karen has a café and is developing an Arts Center. Rachelle’s community works with the arts community of Freemont and her community participates in the festivals and projects of that area.
I resonate strongly with the desire to be a part of something bigger than one’s self…a shared project, a shared purpose, participation not just spectatorship!
Third, like Frost and Hirsch, George Hunter, in The Celtic Way of Evangelism, discusses the weakness of Western Christianity to speak into the everydayness of life. He discusses how we have emphasized the future life…getting saved, and the kingdom of heaven after death, but we haven’t done a great job of teaching folks how to live their faith daily, how to bring Jesus into everyday situations and how to see all of life as sacred. I would love to discuss how to be more GREEN, see pages 27-28, how to bring holistic perspective to our own lives and the lives of our families, our friends and our faith communities…and how we can help other “leaders” begin to see what this really means for the Church.
would love your thoughts as well! hope you had a great holiday weekend!
photo is a painting from pablo richard's center in san jose costa rica...