Wednesday, January 21, 2004

(Responding to a few here for space sake)
Hey Tom,
Really good thoughts and comments, thanks. I resonate with your perceptions.
I definitely am for "teaching" with those who feel free in this giftedness. What I am against is the top-down structure paradigm where one voice is exalted. I guess what I should say is that I'm for "learning" more than teaching. I have always said that the real question is not "How should I teach/preach?" The real question is, "how do people learn?" I'm trained as a missionary so I seek to be receptor oriented. In fact, I am a teacher by trade, its my day job, but I try to organize my classroom dynamics in such a way that students are not memorizing facts but interacting, debating, being disturbed, engaged, safe etc. etc. As well, in our house church structure I have numerous opportunities to teach but no pulpit or exclusive time for my thoughts. They come at the pace of life. I would also say that this blog has allowed me to utilize a teaching gift without imposing it on people, but rather having them choose to take it in or not.

And just for the record, Brian's comments about no paid pastor and no building being no big deal would be something I wanted to pursue with him but lacked the time. I may email him on this issue and start a dialogue. I was in a 4 hour meeting with Brian about other business on the Friday morning of Mayhem and he seemed to be arguing the opposite point. We spoke of the people in traditional churches, mainline denominations, evangelicals, seeker driven mega churches, anabaptists, catholics etc. and said that these were made up of "good folk" who have hearts to find their way as best they can and be faithful. But that the "system" of assumptions and beaurocracy that they are functioning in and under were killing them. In paticular, leaders were getting killed within these systems of top-down and institutional control. In my experience, these systems are not subservient to kingdom values but rather give allegiance to Western and American values that are born out of modernism and not the teachings of Jesus. Ok, I know I am opening up a huge can of worms here talking abstractly about a "system" that I'm not defining but that will have to wait for a different day. I'll see if Brian would be willing to post some clarification here and we can dialogue more about it, or maybe I'll just argue with him :)

Last point is the main point. I also am for the one catholic church. I confess it. People like me are guilty of venomous reactivity and it comes out of really painful experiences but we have to lay that all down for the sake of Christ. I think I planted Ordinary Community out of mostly venomous reaction to modern church but have changed my views quite a bit on this. I am now pro-Kingdom. I was so glad that Mayhem did not have the tone of reactivity, that we had grown past that, its not healthy. I was also glad that it was not about any particular "model" of churching. Missional communities can be big, small, in buildings, in living rooms, led by paid leaders, led by common folk, etc. etc. The point is that the Kingdom is moving on and we need one another. It will take one catholic church for the enemy to shake in his boots and release more territory.

Lastly Tom, you voiced what our prayer for Mayhem always was. Not that we become the hub of emerging church resources and events, but rather that people would leave wanting more. And that if we deconstructed ourselves, it would force people to think community in their own regions and to think neighborhood. The fact that you verbalized this made me stop and just praise God. We truly have one Spirit, One Baptism, One God who is over all and in all. I bless you to be a leader of creating community in the mayhem of your neighborhood world. You made my week! Love ya bro.


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