As a complete aside - I was once at a seminar where the speaker described meditating as being like a cow chewing the cud. I like that! And having adopted it my brain is frequently full of half-masticated cud.
So what is it about church? Well, I think that we have a tendency to fall into habits that we struggle to break (usually an unspoken form of 'tradition'). This then presents itself in the following way:
- What did we do last?
- That went well.
- Yes - let's do more of the same.
Granted the thought process is never as strucutred as this, but if we are honest - when did your church last do something totally different? Just as an example, have a look at the nonprofitprophet's idea about guilt free Sundays. Could that ever happen in your church?
As ever, I have an opinion on this - and in a large part, we are unduly restricted by our history/traditions and the type of leadership that emerges as a result. I came across a quotation from a book called "After the Church: Divine Encounter in a Sexual Age by Claire Henderson Davis (I haven't read it yet, but the title makes it irresistible!). Anyway, she says:
"While the west has shifted to democracy, Christian churches still tolerate parent-childlike structures... in order to mature we must reconnect. Not to embrace the Christian cult, but to know where we are in the plot, to take the story forward."
So how do we go about this? Well, that's something that we need to wrestle with and debate - openly, robustly, honestly and lovingly. That Hideous Man has some thoughts on aspects of this - and my limited addition to his current posting is that maybe we need to have more arrows, but of different sizes - representing different emphasis. I suggest that a model worth exploring might be to include the "offering praise and worship" arrow in Marshall's view.
But how we get there is another matter - even if it's where we want to go.