Thursday, 3 June 2010
DECONSTRUCTION.3. – ‘Re-Imagining’
This quote brings us abruptly to the point. If we don’t act now we face, well I’ll leave you to ponder that.
"We live in extraordinary times in the western world, when church attendances are diminishing but spiritual hunger is rising." Dave Tomlinson.
Our mental models are deeply embedded within us; we are like a rabbit caught in the headlights of the world we live in; paralysed!
3. Engage in the FOUR aspects of the journey which are interrelated, leading to one another and to action and back again. It’s messy and sometimes chaotic yet the leader embraces this as it reflects how life happens around them. What they try to do is to look for God at work and then ask;
How can I interact with this?
• Cultural Reflection: - Culture comes from the Latin word culturus, from which we also get, cultivate. ‘Technically speaking, culture is the vast array of symbols (language, clothing, icons, ideas, hairstyles, stemware, obscene hand gestures and pretty much everything else) by which human beings cultivate our life experiences.’ Elsewhere Newbiggin defines culture as ‘Understanding the sum total ways of living developed by a group of human beings and handed on from generation to generation’
Understanding and the application of this is crucial for the leader if they are to position themselves to influence others in the next century. The leader is aware he can’t escape culture and doesn’t try to subvert it; rather he adopts a counter culture posture that doesn’t divide sacred and secular. By embracing this paradigm they show alternatives that people can chose without having sectarian threads embedded within them, its inclusive and not exclusive allowing people to join the movement.
• Missional Reflection: - this component is always contextual and always situational to the present yet the leader holds a biblical narrative alongside it this allows them to shape a better future than currently expected. By being unashamedly spiritual, experiential and incarnational the leader shows by example how Christ can transform the arena by human interaction. The main advantage here is that it can work in all settings not just Church or Christian organisations.
• Spiritual Reflection: - This is no longer the realm of the professional clergy, but intrinsic to all believers. A priesthood for all, that includes more than the spiritual disciplines of prayer, fasting, solitude etc. but because of reflection it promotes action, which forms habits and set the tone for the leaders life. Followers watch and repeat this cycle in a manner that is suitable for them in their context.
• Theological Reflection: - is linked to the mission and setting they find themselves in, Jones says: Theology; ‘reasoned discourse about God, religion and spirituality. Literally words about God, from the Greek word logos (word) and Theo's (God)’ the leader is cognisant that all truth is God’s truth and is happy that Christian theology does not have the sole claim to truth.
What is interesting is that a linear sequence is excluded. Cyclical and seasonal influences are rhythmic and ritual to this process. I find this exciting as it reflects my own journey: I have become dissatisfied with next-level thinking and the next new thing. I feel more at ease exploring the dimension of the present. Webber explains how there is no ‘correct point of entry’, this allows free flowing dynamic and organic relationships and networks to be created.
McKinley in his book talks about pastors and leaders and how they love to build the kingdom, but Jesus didn’t, he simply stated ‘the kingdom is…he simply invited his followers to see it, embrace it and believe in it.’ This enables the leader to ‘be’ rather than ‘do’.
The trouble is we like to think in levels of achievement as it gives us a sense of power and control; ‘if I work hard and do the right thing I can move to the next level.’ More appropriate leadership for the context of the 21st century in light of this discussion must be that the leaders ‘be’ first, and ‘do’ out of this sense of being rather than to ‘be’ as a result of doing.
Our previous models have at the centre of them works to achieve and build things, this is changing but it will take time and courage to achieve this.
If the 21st Century leaders can position themselves in the flux of learning, unlearning, being at home with experiments and tradition, paradox and chaos they can bring about a marked change in Spiritual climate we find ourselves in. One of the greatest skills a leader can learn is the ability to learn from their mistakes. We may get knocked down but we must get up again.
I finish with one last thought from the book Reimagining the Church, by Frank Viola.
But is the church really different in every culture? …..Or is it that the church has over adapted to modern western culture in its theology and its practice?
Speaking of the problem of over contextualisation, Richard Halverson writes; “When the Greeks got the gospel, they turned it into a philosophy; when the Romans got it, they turned it into a culture; and when the Americans got it, they turned it into a business.
hope you enjoyed this series;