Monday, September 13, 2010

Asking questions about prodigals

It was actually the reference to cats that caught my attention. Being the home help to Pip and Jade, two extremely comfortable cats, I immediately recognised some of the trauma of a cat that wanders off. But there's a more serious point to Jeff Christian's reflections.

So much of what has come to represent "the church" in America either looks like a stadium concert on one end of the continuum, or a rhetoric of out-of-touch-book-burning lunatics on the other. And while there are churches here and there who just want to be a simple community of faith who loves God and one another, they seem to be getting harder to find. Sorry if that sounds nihilistic. But it's the truth as I see it.

What is the church going to do in this generation to welcome home those prodigal Christians who still love God and the faithful ministry of Christ, but who view the church as nothing more than an irrational talking head that has almost nothing to do with the concerns of those who lost faith that God's people could ever gather together without fighting over the color of the carpet? It is probably a safe bet that if we could ever get them to come home, God would be waiting on the porch for them with a robe and a ring with a steak already on the grill.

And what is true of "the church in America" is just as true of the church in the UK.

This is why Alan Roxburgh's call for a new imagination is so apposite. Our "modern" mindset produces new variations of old patterns. We might call it cell church, seeker-sensitive church, emergent church, house-church, but it remains the same old church.

Welcoming prodigals demands a different imagination of church indeed.

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