Friday, May 05, 2006

controlling structures

In The Church On the Other Side, John McLaren notes that control will be less important than being a catalyst for action. Bureaucracy will be replaced by networks that free and empower.

Whether or not that is how the Church on the other side will look, I agree that our current structures suffer from far too much control. In McLaren's analysis, our effort to prevent problems lead us to stifle life. Our efforts to avoid having problems have led us to no experience at all. At best we keep life in the Kingdom at arms length by relegating it to the theoretical. Then, sadly, we turn to a gospel that precludes full Kingdom living so as to avoid the emptiness that we feel when our experience doesn't match our understanding of Scripture.

We need more risk taking. We need to suffer from a little more error (oh oh, I already can see the comments coming). We are a long way from having to worry about God inspiring another letter to the Corinthians. I do not think this is to our betterment.

McLaren wrote, "It is better to have structures that encourage something to Happen! Envy those who have so much happening that they are legitimately worried about things getting out of control! The question in the new church will not be, How can our structures control, but How can they be catalytic?"

I doubt too many of our churches are at risk of wrongly "over-using" gifts of the Spirit.

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David Rowe said...

God bless you Rick - this is right where I have been this week. I am reminded of a couple of quotes from Gordon Fee:

"Paul would simply not have understood the presence of the Spirit that did not also include such evidences of the Spirit's working that he termed "powers" which we translate "miracles"

"Paul's perspective of life in the Spirit, as a dynamically experienced reality creating an end-time people who live for God's glory, has not generally fared well in the overall life of the church"

(Fee - Paul the Spirit and the People of God)

So I am with you all the way here.

To those who would appeal through using a bad exegisis of 1 Corinthians - I would suggest they go away and re-write the letter as if Paul were writing to their church fellowship today. What would he have to say ??

rick said...

good add - thanks!