So as I said, I was reflecting on love because as I’ve heard before and heard recently again someone felt I was maligning the character of God. When I heard and read that, I responded “Yes I do malign the character of God.” I have done it in the past and I currently do it. Hopefully my understanding of the character of God is getting better in time, but I’m grateful for the knowledge or cognizance that my understanding of God or God’s character is incomplete, fractured, and wrong, yet hopefully improving.
The fact that I hear that means people probably don’t fully understand what I’m saying. I have been talking about a move away (a way) from orthodoxy as right belief (ortho – correct, doxy – belief) to a reverse reading from right to left as believing in the right way. In this way, yes we do believe certain things. Beliefs help us to navigate the world, make sense of it, and ponder the mystery of God in the aftermath of the event of God. But to claim that everything that I understand and believe about God, this life, the nature of our world, and the nature of the human spirit-body being is correct is too high and haughty a claim for me to make. I’ve gone too far; I’m too aware how wrong I’ve been, am, and will be. Rather, I believe and simultaneously disbelieve in what I believe knowing that in the future it may change. One way of looking at fundamentalism is based on how one believes and not the content. Fundamentalism can be said to be a way of believing in which one believes in what one believes. I believe and yet hold lightly what I believe while fundamentalism is a way of believing where one excludes all others in correspondence to the proportion with which others’ beliefs differ from one’s own.
For my sake and the sake of others, I’m glad right theology doesn’t mean I rightly know God or else I’d be in trouble.
So when I say wrong things and you feel I’m wrong, I agree. I agree with your disagreement and yearn and crave for more. One experience for me, however is that God is less concerned about my maligning his character are than those who believe they understand (the parts of God’s character I’m maligning) are. My experience is God’s concern with me living out love (believing in that way) and wrestling out faith. So I decided to imagine what I would love to see in a church.
My church would. . .
Spend more money on others than on themselves
Go beyond any seeming law (like in the statement above) and simply share EVERYthing they have. Instead of asking “how much do I give” they will share everything
Meets in buildings, spaces, and outdoor locations so as not to have to pay any fees such as utilities, where all money can go to do good works and redistributive justice
Would somehow have the ability to suspend class, race, economic differences (I’m inspired by the IKON community in Ireland and my conversation with Mike Venables in the Sparks section)
Would be as attractive to people as Jesus was (this paradox of people hating the church contradicts the historical Jesus who drew all kinds of people to himself)
Was completely open and inviting to people of different orientations, religions, nationalities, tribes, languages, ages, genders, etc.
Would involve others (including lay people) in the preparation of the sermon, so that we don’t hear a sermon that is the result of one person’s individual study but rather we hear a sermon that is the result of a community wrestling with a topic
Would use interactive discussions or at least a sermon with Q&A afterwards (Mark Driscoll does this sometimes)
Would not feature the sermon as the central point in our gathering, but would have all types of REGULAR gatherings
Would avoid the introspection – service divide, by having service work that simultaneously transformed the inside of people as well, a holistic church
Practice, taught, and lived a law of love rather than of rules not just on the visible or public level but even subconsciously and individually (currently working on what this looks like)
Engaged in art as a means to escape what words can’t describe (by art we look at Jesus’s creative use of short fiction (parables), poetry (Beatitudes), guerilla theatre (cleansing the temple, the triumphal entry into Jerusalem), performance art (healings, feedings, etc.; thanks to McLaren for this understanding)
There’s more, but I’ll stop here for now. . .