Book Reviews – Deconstructing Church

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When speaking about deconstructing church I’m met with responses from people dead set against the idea as well as those who resonate 100% with the vision and passion.

Since I’m taking a little longer to put together my own work, I thought I’d provide a quick review of three books on the subject – The Deconstructed Church: Understanding Emerging Christianity by Gerardo Marti and Gladys Ganiel, Deconstructing Church: The Allure of the Machine and the Hope for a Better Way by Anthony Anderson, and Jim and Casper go to Church: Fresh conversations about faith, churches and well-meaning Christians by Jim Henderson and Matt Casper.

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Continue reading “Book Reviews – Deconstructing Church”

Update Jan ’17

January has been a crazy month with kids and school starting. We ended last year with a New Years Eve expectation session and shared a communion bring ‘n share supper early Jan. Both sessions were iterations on what we’re envisaging as community experiences – sharing current stories and providing a public space for people to worship and meet with God.

We’ve been incredibly privileged by people’s response to our appeal for regular financial support to focus on Urban Mystic. We’re now in the position where one of our salaries is covered by support and are able to dedicate more time to this work. Thank you to everyone who’s contributed and are contributing. This has allowed us to dedicate more time and enabled the creation of two new expressions of the 7 Key Relationships – a children’s version and a one-week retreat/conference version.

We’ve got courses starting in Feb.

  • Sunday’s – 7 Key Relationships. We’re running a Sunday morning group for adults and a group for children. This is the the trial of the children’s version of the series. Where adults have a wealth of varied life experiences, which provides the content of the series, children don’t. The series for children is more activity focused. Many people seemed to be available during this time slot and not during the week … so we figured why it host the group on a Sunday morning. Bev is going to facilitate the children’s group while Tim facilitates the adult group.
  • Tuesday’s – 7 Key Relationships. This is an evening group for adults. This time Bev’s going to take pole position facilitating the series whil I play the supportive role. We’ve got some people repeating the series and new people doing it the first time.
  • Wednesday’s – The Trinity Sessions. This is evening group that will run for 4 sessions. This differs to the 7 Key Relationships in that it’s both formational and informational. Our ideas and language play key roles in shaping our experience and yet we’re not clear on the whole “one God in three persons” thing so central to Christianity. In this series we begin with a lecture on the formation of the concept of the Trinity, its relevance to our spirituality and the practice of our faith in and when doing church, and review the early creeds. In each of the othe sessions we explore our concrete experience of each Person of the Godhead and engage that Person together in the balance of the session around particular exercises.

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We’ll be running the 7 Key Relationships series in February and March. We’ll host two groups, one meeting on Sunday mornings and the other on Tuesday evenings. This series is fantastic for personal growth, building community, and cultivating intimacy with God as part of a healthy lifestyle.

Monthly Update – Nov ’16

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November has been a busy month. We’ve written several blog posts and been focusing on the 7 Key Relationships series, which involves facilitating two groups and meeting one-on-one with people in between. As always, this series has been incredible. It’s always phenomenal journeying with people through this series.

We’ve also had a phenomenal response from the letter we sent out looking for funding to focus more directly on Urban Mystic. Thank you!

We’re wrapping up both groups the end of next week and are doing a post-group bring-n-braai with people sharing their stories. Tim will also share a bit more about Urban Mystic, what we’re trying to accomplish and how we’re goink to get there.

We’ll spend some of December preducing material for next year, updating the website, and on holiday!

Recognizing the establishment

This post is part of a series focused on deconstructing church. The goal is not to “break down” or “destroy” but to “gain clarity” and “perspective” so that we don’t lose sight of what we “believe, intend and are called to” by getting lost in what we do or have achieved or how we’ve adapted to our modern world.

In an earlier blog post we recognized that Jesus used the language of servanthood and yet we often use the language of leadership. How we use language shapes how we live. If we’re questioning our language a good starting point is to consider the language we’re using. Though we critiqued the language of leadership we’ve not yet considered what the implications thereof for associated structures and behavior. We’ll do so in a later blog post. For now, we’ve not yet deconstructed enough and so will continue this line through trying to clearly see ourselves and what we’re doing. The language of leadership is tied up with our language around church and doing church, and here again we find another stark difference between our use of language and that found in scripture.

At the origin, the “church” was “an assembly of people” gathering for worship and teaching. In this sense, the people as church are primary while in the modern sense the business as church, including its premises and staff, are primary. This has profound implications for how we relate to each other, how we relate to church organizations, and how we relate to para-church organizations. Continue reading “Recognizing the establishment”