Thursday, September 14, 2006

Values, the 4 'C's, & the Symbol Life

Zack's recently articulated an intriguing ideology for the local body of believers he is connected to. It includes four values paralleling those found in the Symbol Life (Mission, Friendship, Love, & Justice). They are:

* Community
* Christ
* Creativity
* Compassion

The model has me thinking... & wondering. I love the elements of it... especially the articulated emphasis on "creativity" (since my wife is a missional artist). But I wonder why these four? And what about the values of wholistic spirituality, team-oriented functionality, or teaching & learning?

Also, are there points of connection or disconnection with the values I've been trying to wrap my brain around? ...

1) Acts 2 Communal Living
2) Wholistic Spirituality
3) Gift-Based, Team-Functionality
4) Incarnational Missionality

Thread: Values


zack said...

I wouldn't call it an idealogy as much as a wondering, a shared feeling among global friends that God is calling us to a way of life that involves these four expressions/commitments. There is no easy answer to your question, "Why these four?" I presume you are searching for a biblical explanation as to why there are only four and why these (community/faith/beauty/justice) are the four we have chosen. I don't have such an answer - I can only say that these four ways choose us rather than us choosing them.

I can speak to the fact that these four ways were very personal longings that I found confirmed in the common experience of others. The symbol society are some of those people who found themselves on a similar journey and have decided to intentionally share in the journey together. But it is not just us - N.T. Wright, in the introduction of his new book, "Simply Christian", writes that about four areas "which in today's world can be interpreted as "echoes of a voice": the longing for justice, the quest for spirituality, the hunger for relationships, and the delight in beauty". Wright says that these point beyond themselves (to a kingdom way of life).

These four ways represent a life beyond the common Western understanding of the Christian faith. They represent a more holistic way of life for those who follow Jesus. They represent to us a kingdom way of life here on earth. And as Wright alludes to - an entry into Kingdom dialogue with those outside of the Christian faith.

zack said...

By the way...

1) Acts 2 Shared Living
2) Gift-Based, Team-Functionality
3) Wholistic Spirituality
4) Incarnational Missionality

Let me change your vocab a bit

1) (Community)
2) (Community)
3) (Christ/Faith)
4) (Justice/Mission)

Not that far off are we.

Missional Jerry said...

I've been swimming with these similar thoughts.

Especially the Acts 2 shared living ideas.

Dont know where its headed, but it will be interesting as the Spirit reveals.

John Lynch said...

Zack, I love your comment: "I can only say that these four ways choose us rather than us choosing them." I totally resonate with the suggestion that we are merely articulating what our hearts have longed for all along... the conscious agreement to God's design affirmed in His Word & felt in our souls.

And your vocab. parallels are VERY helpful! As I reflected on what you wrote, I also thought of how "Creativity" connects to or fits within "Wholistic Spirituality".

And perhaps changing "Wholistic Spirituality " to "Wholistic/Messianic Spirituality" better connects with the all-important "Christ" 'C' in your 4?

I like this very much... wrastlin' thru values that will serve as the binding center for our community. Awesome, awesome, awesome. I wonder if it might be helpful to map out values from the most core value of "Love" on out into these & beyond. I mean, even these four seem to be simply applications of Christ's "love God, love people" challenge.

John Lynch said...

My process with these values is so raw I thought comments might be better than posts at this point. Anyway, here's where I'm at on the central values list around which the New Community might gather:

* Acts 2 Communal Living
* Wholistic, Messianic Spirituality
* Gift-Based, Team Functionality
* Intentional, Incarnational Missiology

What am I missing?

John Lynch said...

Hi Jerry -

That particular value is becoming a hot topic in my conversations too... specifically the issue of living in physical proximity (e.g. within walking distance).

I was actually surprised at the different & often opposing feelings around the issue. I'm eager to hear your take on that particular notion... the idea of living in proximity.

John Lynch said...

(Still chewing...)

1) Acts 2 Shared Living
(family together vs. over-individualism & isolationism)<
2) Gift-Based, Team-Functionality
(body life vs. over-institutionalism & power-hierarchies)
3) Wholistic Spirituality
(holiness in truth vs. both dualism & carnal compromise)
4) Incarnational Missionality
(strategic going vs. program attractionalism, inauthentic outreach, & non-strategic presence)