Abductive Columns

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Sample of the Continued Emerging

Futuring is something I've been fascinated with for some time. I'm constantly looking beyond the horizon, paying attention to cultural shifts, attempting to learn what lies ahead while bringing all these things together in perspective. Futuring has captured my imagination and sent me on a creative journey outside the orbit of the traditional church model.

The above is a paragraph from the article "Futuring" I wrote and sent out in a newsletter...what follows is one of many responses to this article--all offering solid examples of faith communities bodly moving forward into uncharted territory.

Below you'll find believers caught discussing the movement and the hesitance of leadership to become fully relevant. She had sent my article to another Christian and then accidently sent their conversation to me. I didn't realize this until I emailed her and asked if I could use the conversation in my next mail out; she was embarrassed but agreed--with the condition I not mention the name of the congregation. Of course, I concurred.

I really liked this Futuring article as it applies to last night's discussion. I think the great explorers of the world have always known the information in the existing maps of the day, and then set off with their compass anyway. If we do some research as ____ suggested, to learn what the information on today's "maps", but do not feel bound to necessarily follow a charted course we may just be on to something.

It occurred to me this morning that the point of divergence last night began when we started to merge "church" and "coffee shop". Issues of money and doctrine both came into play. Your idea seems to be more of an open house for people to use. Could it be "church" for you without having a "service" there so that doctrinal issues can be avoided? I know _____________ is going to get me on avoidance again, but why couldn't you let anybody use the rooms you have available and simply state that the views presented in lessons may or may not reflect the views of the management and that each person should study the bible themselves and weigh the lessons taught in their own minds against what they read for themselves? If parts of our "tribe" want to create a new "church" with whom to affiliate themselves, they could just be one of the many groups who met there. If some of us don't need a particular "church" affiliation, we could just personally mentor non-believers and NEVER send them to a "church". Those that have church affiliations could mentor, and then invite them to their church. We did that at __________. It did not seem to be confusing to the people. _____ will say that eventually you will have too many non-believers to personally mentor to without connecting them to a "church", and maybe he is right, but I'm not so sure. If God starts transforming people couldn't they continue to go to school and work, raise their families, and pursue various uses of their talents letting the effects of their transformation ripple through their relationships without ever setting foot in a church building? When they hunger to be with other believers couldn't they do that in homes and café's? Couldn't they do it on any day of the week that worked out in their schedules? They would still be "assembling", and praising God, and edifying each other.

I've gone on and on for too long and need to get busy with other things. Suffice to say that I really like how far out of the box you are. It resonates with my soul. But, I have to offer this prayer/meditation room to my brothers and sisters at ________ at least for a little while, a season so to speak. We will have to have deadlines and firm commitments for time and money eventually, but we're not there now, so I will not force them upon myself yet.

Until then, if you start feeling adrift let me know. Becoming de-institutionalized has its risks as well as its rewards. I want you to know that you will never be alone. God is with you, of course, but I am, too.


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