Community Regeneration

29 January 2008

Forgive and forget?

Forgiveness is a really tough matter, because all too often it is packaged with a explicit/implicit requirement that we also "forget".

I guess lots of other subscribers to the Daily Reflections from Henri Nouwen's Foundation will have been struck by today's contribution:

"Forgiving does not mean forgetting. When we forgive a
person, the memory of the wound might stay with us for a
long time, even throughout our lives. Sometimes we carry the
memory in our bodies as a visible sign. But forgiveness
changes the way we remember. It converts the curse into a
blessing. When we forgive our parents for their divorce, our
children for their lack of attention, our friends for their
unfaithfulness in crisis, our doctors for their ill advice,
we no longer have to experience ourselves as the victims of
events we had no control over.

Forgiveness allows us to claim our own power and not let
these events destroy us; it enables them to become events
that deepen the wisdom of our hearts. Forgiveness indeed
heals memories."



28 January 2008

Reflective reading on gnomes and sin

For my reflective reading I am slowly working my way through Alain De Botton's "The Architecture of Happiness".

It is a truly inspiring book on the social significance of Architecture which I have read twice before.

On this read however I am reading it as a metaphor for Church life, with some interesting ideas developing.

A recent one which had me laughing as well as thinking, is in a section where he writes about the psychology of taste and its influence on architectural choices and decisions.

Now this seems to me to have all sorts of resonances with the subtle and often un-declared influences on congregational life - especially where the needs of a small minority are dominant and obstructive of the spiritual development of the majority, or act as an impediment to the good of the whole.

The quote is:

"We condemn the gnomes while respecting the longings which inspired them"

and I couldn't help wondering whether its spiritual equivalent isn't the iniquitous

" Love the sinner, and hate the sin".

03 October 2007

Missional and gravity

Paul at Out of the Cocoon offers a good post based upon Rick Meigs, aka The Blind Beggar, but I would want to ask whether that is going far enough in our missional thinking.

It still focuses on re-orientating what the Church is doing, rather than  "asking what God is doing" - which might be quite different.

It seems to assume that where we apply our "money" is a good indicator of our values - whereas we may at this time be simply be spending our money where it is needed ( practically) and that the real scope for missional activity may not require money, but be about relationships and partnerships and the gift of time.

It implicitly seems to imply that Christians need "to be there" for anything Godly to be happening - I think the Spirit of God is at work everywhere.

So my questions are about a 24/7 faith;

what value does the missional Church place upon the everyday lives and witness of every member?

what value does The Church place upon what people do at work - would a Church be prepared to top-up some-ones salary in order that they could financially remain in post

what links does The Church does have into places of leisure and forums of creativity

The best question of all is:

Does your Church really know what people are doing at work - do you have an overview of the opportunities and places of influence not just to convert people and bring them but to share in the coming of the Kingdom through business and commerce?

The social capital of the faith groups is not just our ability " to go out there" but should be based far more on simply " being there"

Is it provocative to suggest that the early Church ( beyond the initial weeks of Pentecost and the specialist ministries of Paul and others) grew not because of people "going out" but because of people "staying in", that it grew because people continued to live with and among their non Christians neighbours?

This is an incarnational model of missional Church which affirms the world, and is focused on the kingdom agenda of Jesus Christ.