Monday, January 23, 2012

the church i am seeking

1. Grounded in Scripture. The church I am seeking reads scripture every day, and expects to hear a fresh word from God, one that corrects and comforts, one that guides and heals.

2. An Evangelical Heart. The church I am seeking understands the importance of transformation of life, a change that happens at the cross, where sins are forgiven and new life begins.

3. Non-Judgmental. The church I am seeking restrains itself from judging the flaws and imperfections of others, knowing that only God is in a position to condemn. We have our own problems to work on anyway.

4. More communal than individual. The church I am seeking remembers that the Old Testament is the story of a people, not an individual, and the New Testament is written to churches. Salvation is incorporation into the body.

5. A passion for justice. The church I am seeking remembers that God hears the cries of the oppressed, and that God is always on the side of the poor, the marginalized and the forgotten. God's people pursue this passion in a way that crosses politically partisan lines.

6. A movement into the world. The church I am seeking exists not for itself, but for the mission of God in the world. We discover our lives as we lose them, and we have the promise that Jesus will be with us as we get outside the walls of his church.

7. The glory and beauty of the Lord. The church I am seeking often finds itself lost in wonder, love and praise, standing amazed in the presence of an awesome God who is both infinitely powerful and gloriously near in the present moment.

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Blogger Talbot Davis said...

Very nice, Ken.

It took me way too long to realize that Scripture is much more focused on the community than on the individual.

Works of justice are exceedingly difficult. The best most churches can do is extravagant mercy and then simply call it justice. I don't know how to do otherwise.

6:20 AM  
Blogger Holly said...

Excellent post. After more than 35 years as a United Methodist, I still find myself striving to find the church you describe. It is not easy. As Americans we also inherit the ideas of Ralph Waldo Emerson, who was a proponent of "Self-Reliance". This conflicts with the Biblical ideal of being engaged in the life of a community. As heirs to modernism, we are inclined to explain away many passages of scripture. I have just begun to recognize these disparities. Renewing the church will involve a counter-cultural act of giving Holy Scripture priority in our relationships together. (This is one reason I have difficulty with the bishop's proposed structural changes of our church. Those changes endorse a pragmatic atheism, rather than scriptural Christianity.)

7:08 AM  

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