Introductions aside, I thought I'd just dive right in.
From Jason Clark
Our churches need to recover, and explore the right brained aspects of post-modernity, but must not make the same mistakes of modernity by abandoning the left brained. I keep talking about the need for a ‘deep church’, instead of a patholigcal reactionary post-church, and I supect a ‘deep church’ will recover, revive and nurture the right brained, whilst holding on and using the left brained.
Our churches need to be structured, intentional communities of programmed mission, that are simultaneously places of play, surprise and exuberant creativity. In fact I think the postmodern turn is not about a false dichotomy between these categorisations, but the opportunity to see them as synthesised and synergistically working together.
I have to say, when I read this, the first thought that came to mind was "yup, that's a modernist speaking" *smirk* But, truth be told, when the rubber meets the road, I agree with Jason here in many ways. I think the old, tired and overused axiom applies, "don't throw the baby out with the bathwater".
The history of the Church is rife with bathwater moments. We've had many a baby land head first, sacrificed on the ground of "church progress".
And since I love word pictures, analogies and metaphor, here's another. I was listening to the Relevant Magazine podcast yesterday, and in a moment of clarity amidst a joking interchange, they stumbled onto what I think is a very good analogy.
The Church has given itself a black eye. We lost sight of the mission of Jesus somewhere along the line, getting benched with individualism, phariseeism, egotism and many more "isms" from which I will spare you for now.
In America, we became entrenched in politics and we married our western morality with our faith and married that with our politics and have, over and over again, punched ourselves in the face with the ramifications of those choices.
Some of what we have done "worked" at the time, and no doubt, even the things that weren't the best idea, were used by God. But many of our methods and philosophies were just plain off base and ill advised.
This "eye" has become infected and as a result, we have lost depth perception. The one eye is healthy and strong and in all accounts should be able to function on its own. But it too lacks depth perception without the health of the other eye. It sees only what it's looking at, and it looks only at what it wants to see.
Several things need to happen. The good eye needs to help the infected eye become healthy by sacrificially giving and serving - even if it means occasionally giving up its "right to be right". And the sick eye needs to work with the good eye to become healthy again, skimming off the infected yuck that has built up over time and restoring itself so that they can both work TOGETHER to move the church on into the next era.
And there's the rub.
I was chatting with a gal on Sunday who is experiencing many "light bulb" moments in regard to ministry and mission in this "age" and we touched on this very subject and both agreed that the postmodern, by their very nature, are more willing to extend a generous orthodoxy and work with the modern than are the modern to do so with the postmodern...not always, but more often so.
But assuming for a moment that both "eyes" and everyone all along the spectrum is seeking not only a generous but deep orthodoxy and exploring what that means for orthopraxy, I would actually suggest something a little bit different than simply a side by side saunter into the future of the modern and postmodern.
I'm going to step out on a limb and theorize that a completely different Church is going to "emerge". It's not going to be red (the far right brain), it's not going to be blue (far left brained) and it isn't going to be red and blue side by side, I think it's going to be purple (both mixed, something totally different) .
So the trick then, as missional minded leaders (modern and postmodern alike) step out to construct not before seen "ways of doing church", is that we make a choice to be purple instead of red without blue, blue without red or an impotent compromise of the 2 side by side (which, in my experience simply leads to lots of shadow boxing...talking about black eyes)
This is going to require tricky navigation for a season. Those of us in the postmodern thread are going to have to be very discerning in regard to when to speak up and how to say things, when to lay low and back down and when to just sit on those things we feel burning in our bones.
Those in the modern thread will have to do the same. Without both giving of themselves, it won't work. Humility, teachability, honesty and communication to the n'th degree is required. It's going to suck sometimes, and sometimes, one or the other is going to want to give up; but without forging on, we will get mired in the chaos of transition...and that would be a tragedy to trump all tragedies.
So are you ready? Do you think it's possible? Can we create a new and more effective Body of Christ that better glorifies the multifaceted beauty of our Living Lord?