Some time ago Kent Shaffer used a term that struck a chord somewhere deep in my heart. The phrase was simply "Open Church". I'll need to look back through the archives to get a fix on the original idea, but it's interesting to read most recently about the developments of the idea. When I first read the phrase my mind immediately began thinking about Open Source projects and what defines them and how that might shift my thinking about church. I can't remember where that particular journey took me, but I'm pretty sure it's had an influence on my current thinking somewhere long the line.
But the thing that struck me most from the most recent post on the blog was his reflection on moving to a new neighbourhood to engage in a new ministry. This was the paragraph:
Stuff was holding us back in a variety of ways from being agile and ministering more biblically. And the comfortable suburban, Evangelical lifestyle was desensitizing me from living out the gospel as I knew I should yet never did. I used bad theology to make convenient excuses to justify my lifestyle. I was using complex yet comfortable systems to try to replace the simple yet uncomfortable mandates of Christ.
Lots to think about here. Are you agile and able to minister biblically, and what does being agile look like for you? How desensitised have I become to the call to live out the gospel? How is God calling me and shaping me to incarnate the gospel in my community? And what of our excuses?
It's worth taking the time to let the profound nature of this reflection sink into your heart and for God to ask the deep penetrating questions that I think sit behind it for all of us. Read it in context here.