ThisÂ section isÂ a series of posts from the Booklet Becoming the Authentic Church: A Guide Toward Being in Diverse, healing Community Rooted in Reconciliation and Justice
. My friend Bob and I have taken these thoughts and begun to take concrete steps toward finding this Authenitc Church (he in his setting and I in mine) You will notice that I have been quite taken with this vision in the next several days, weeks, months, years. I relish your comments. I have a bit of video from my meeting with Gordon Cosby on Monday Nov.14, and wil begin to post some of that over the next several days, along with photos I took over that time.
The items in Authentic Church are lifted entirely from the Booklet, and my comments will be set apart with this italic format
The processes described in this guidebook represent an attempt to follow the simple way of Jesus.
They are not the only way, they merely express one way by which we are seeking to go deeper in order to be freed to love.
Repetition of primary ideas is intentional.
Even as we share the possibilities with you, we too are hoping to hear and understand them more deeply.
This is a work in progress. We welcome your insights as we learn from each other how to live boldly in the not yet.
Together may we discover new life giving ways to be the diverse and healing body of Christ, becoming love on behalf of the world.
At this point in my life, and at this point in our world’s life, I am asking what is to be my focus to what am I to be giving my limited time and energy? What is the new thing, the genuine thing, that God wants me to be learning, doing, being now?
For me the central question is what it means to be the authentic church of Jesus Christ, crucified and resurrected. What is its nature? Its essence? And how can that essence be structured and expressed so as to become a healing agent for the world?
It’s not a question any longer of which issues are of primary concern and what kinds of programs might best serve those issues, but a question of being. How are we to be in the world so as to live the Jesus life with greater boldness and passion?
The temptation always is to turn stones into bread. We have tried over the years to be faithful to Christ by loving and serving the poor giving bread. But have we primarily been offering people helpful ways to get their share of the culture’s bread, or have we offered the living bread of God?
The church, when it is true to its nature, is God’s channel for sharing both kinds of bread. That is what I long for and want to be a part of in the remaining time that God gives me. I want to let go of whatever doesn’t take us deeper, whatever takes more time and energy and effort than it yields, and together with others I want to embody that transforming presence in the world. This might not be what is most important for you, but for me, it is all that ultimately matters.
— N. Gordon Cosby
At the heart of each of us is a driving hunger for ways to five and be in relationship that are genuine. So it is with churches as well. As unique and different as churches are, the ones that are authentic hope to bear a striking and clear resemblance to Jesus, to be so much like Jesus that people sense they have encountered him when they encounter the church.
How to facilitate such an encounter how to become so much like Jesus that our very way of life comforts the world’s brokenhearted and confronts the world’s broken systems is a key question for all who seek authentic, faithful belonging.
If ever there were a time for the church universal to become more truly the body of Christ, to find ways to embody the life and ministry of Christ for the sake of the world, it would be now as violence and despair grow. We desperately need an authentic encounter with Jesus, an encounter that will shake us at our foundations and compel us to become the loving, reconciling people we have been created to be.
The processes that we try to describe here offer one possibility for how we who care about the church might follow our primary calling to love each other as we have been loved and to create spaces in which that healing love can be expressed and extended. It is an attempt to make Jesus real for all of us.
The church’s structures change, but its message and mission do not. Through those who will risk leaving the familiar in order to pitch our tents in the unknown, God still schemes and dreams the new.
— Kayla McClurg
The above was taken from Becoming the Authentic Church: A Guide Toward Being in Diverse, healing Community Rooted in Reconciliation and Justice
. Copies of this booklet are available via Potter’s House Book Service for 3.00 each (Well worth it. I have been working with this booklet since I picked it up on Saturday. Comment here and I will make sure Potter’s House gets it—–click here to get it from Potter’s House Books.