Tuesday, 1 February 2011

. . . it is no longer "our world"

am spending some concentrated time reading for a few days here in Parceval Hall, our wonderful Diocesan Retreat House. If I was a 'Desert Island' castaway and Aotearoa was my destination, then it would be a toss up which Luxury item I took with me, beer or this wonderful place hid high up in a small spur of Wharfedale.

Although I really wanted finally to get to grips with some foundational theology the lure of Kindle and conversations world wide have led me to read Introducing Missional Church.
[I first heard of one of the authors, Alan Roxburgh, during the best sermon I've ever heard from a Bishop - +Jim Bell of Knaresborough - in which a large, rich and outwardly successful church 'with one of the best mission statements I've ever read' was gently chided that in the light of the glory of God, it's vision was far to small - more anon . . .]

The book seems perfectly positioned for the current state of my psyche - there is enough here where I can nod and heartily concur, in order to anchor myself for those passages where changes in imagination and approach are called for. In other words, where I am seems, unlike the Man looking for Belfast, to be a good place to start from on the journey the authors describe.

I shall post some more, but for now I am wondering about imagination and about how Significant it is and how perhaps even those of us rooted in the significance of it for this Life in Christ we share - we do not fully comprehend its power.

For surely it must be true that there is no such thing as an unimaginative person, rather that we are are differently imagined. The World is Never as it seems, but we have our own deeply held views of how it should be which we often confuse for how it is.

For those who cling on to the past, that past is Real in their imagination, it is Present to them, and so the work to be done is not to enter into imagination, but to re-imagine, and I confess in reading 'Introducing Missional Church' - I too need to do some work in this area.
Moving On from where I am in my thinking is as much as challenge to me as it is to those for whom 1950's Britain and the kindly Patrician Vicar who knew everyone and where everyone went to church and all was well with the world.

Those 'at the forefront' are challenged by The Living God just as much as those dragging there heels as Bishop Jim seemed to suggest - or the world is not as it seems, it is not as it seems to any of us

In the words of Stanley Hauerwas and Will Willimon, 'it is no longer "our world" ', but of course it never was - it only ever was His - we all need renewal of our imaginations