Thanks to all of you who offered comments on your view of church.
I offered them to the class and they added great texture to our already interesting discussion. A few comments on where our weeklong discussion left us.
1. History matters – and not just the past decade. Putting our view of church in the context of church across time is fruitful, and necessary. Each era has had their own struggles and opportunities for discerning what it means to be church.
2. Church is both event and community – not either/or. God does break into our lives, into humanity, and change our human gatherings into divine spaces. For Lutherans, this in breaking comes in the form of Word and sacrament. But church is also a dynamic community of GOD’s called and sent people living in and for the world. Being a Christian public leader means attending to both of these dimensions of church.
3. Institutional structures flow out of the church’s nature and ministry – not the other way around. Hence, this means structures need to be revisited and reimagined. Said differently, the way church organizing itself needs to change over time. Our’s is one such time.
4. Being church is simple, and complex – and that is both a joy and a challenge. At it’s core, church is simple. It’s GOD’s people on earth being the body of Christ post-resurrection. Our work is to discover a Christian way of life and participate in GOD’s creative and redemptive mission in the world. And that is universal across time and place, as it is also particular to each time and place. The language, practices, and rituals of the church serve that call.
So, there you have it – some thoughts which bubbled up from a group of 12 leaders willing to ask hard questions and open themselves to GOD’s call to serve.