From Dialogue To Action - 2007
By Makeesha Fisher
Makeesha Fisher is co-Pastor of Revolution
a progressive, experimental, charismissional....oh never mind, they're a faith community on the Colorado State University campus in Fort Collins Colorado. She can be reached at email@example.com
Last year I flew to San Diego for my brother's wedding. I was with my youngest daughter, my parents and my youngest brother. We had a night flight on the way back to Colorado and I hadn't had a latte the whole time we were in San Diego. I was jonesing big-time.
With a craving that strong, I was forced to abandon my commitment to avoiding corporate coffee establishments and stopped in at the airport Starbucks.
I asked my mom if she wanted something...big mistake. She stood, utterly stupefied by the choices in front of her. Paralyzed and unable to blink, much less place an order she turned to me with those "deer in the headlights" eyes and begged for my help, ending her flavor preferences with "...but nothing with coffee in it". I refrained from making the comment burning on the tip of my tongue (something to the effect of "what the hell's the point?") and ordered her a mint hot chocolate.
She loved it and the next time we passed by an airport Starbucks at our layover, she confidently strolled up to the counter and announced her order as if she were now an official coffee snob (even though she still didn't order anything with "coffee in it").
I feel right now very much like my mom, inundated with choices. But instead of flavors like creme de menthe, hazelnut and white chocolate and choices like half caff, skinny and extra foam, I'm staring down the barrel of a loaded Christian lexicon that seems to change every time I refresh my browser.
Revolution, reformation, transformation, reorganization, de-organization, deconstruction, reconstruction, emerging, Emergent, organic, missional, charismissional, emerging-missional, post charismatic, radical orthodoxy, deep orthodoxy, progressive, generous orthodoxy, experimental, ancient-future, house church, affirming, socially active, new monastic.
These are just the terms I rattled off in a 15 second time frame just now off the top of my head. I'm sure you could add a few of your own.
Regardless of how one feels about the progressive voices in Christianity today, I think there is little doubt that SOMETHING is happening. I have spent the past few years undergoing a metamorphosis of sorts, becoming re-energized as a follower of Jesus. I continue to enjoy being part of a world-wide community of progressive, provocative Christians who are in dialog about the direction of the Church universal.
My hope in the advancement of God's Kingdom on earth has been restored time and time again as I talk to others, lead our community and read articles, books and blogs.
But now that we have entered 2007 and I have finished my fifth "churchy" book in a span of 3 months (I know, I'm a light weight) added my 110th book to my Amazon wish list, and my thousandth church related link to my delicious account, I can't help but feel a little stuffed. I almost feel like I'm in that food-induced coma we all enter after a good old fashioned American Thanksgiving. I am full to overflowing with information, resources and tools FOR the church and I feel that I need to focus this year on turning all of that into BEING the church - both for my own personal faith journey and that of our community.
Not that I will stop reading and conversing mind you - after all, I have at least 99 books to buy and read.
Relevant Magazine had a feature in their Jan/Feb edition titled "7 Big Questions". They asked prominent leaders in Christianity (why I wasn't among them remains a mystery) 7 questions about the direction of the church. In response to the question of the greatest challenge for young Christians in the next 10 years, pastor Rick Warren said "...leading the Church through a new reformation...the first reformation was about what we believe, but this new reformation will be about behavior."
I completely agree with his assessment. That is not to say there aren't still discussions going on about beliefs, there are and there always will be. But I think many of my contemporaries are wanting to figure out how all of this great dialog translates into real life behavior in individuals, and for us leaders, how it translates into community choices and behaviors.
I think that 2007 is going to be a time when the Spirit of God brings clarity of action to churches who have spent the past several years undergoing a shift in thinking, theology and perspective, and I am excited for it.
For our community, this will mean "kicking it up a notch" (HT: Emeril Lagasse), specifically in the area of living an externally focused faith and defining what that means in practical terms for our community.
Some of the talk that will need to be "fleshed out" will include social justice, the environment, discipleship/spiritual formation, church "leadership" and becoming a truly missional community in action as well as at heart.
Another issue that we have to continue to grapple with, is how we connect and interact with those Christians who are frantically trying to maintain their grip on the established ways of doing church. How do we respect their role in the Kingdom and honor their mission without compromising ours?
God is alive and moving on the earth. His Spirit is stirring the waters of the souls of Christians across the globe and I for one am very excited.