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Song We Almost Forgot
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Song We Almost Forgot

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Presented at Moravian Seminary, Bethlehem, PA, March 2010.

Presented at Moravian Seminary, Bethlehem, PA, March 2010.

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  • 1. How liturgy can help save the world
  • 2. A society that no longer recognizes that nature and human life have a sacred dimension, an intrinsic value beyond monetary value, commits collective suicide. Such societies cannibalize themselves until they die. This is what we are undergoing. Chris Hedges, Adbusters https://www.adbusters.org/magazine/88/chris-hedges.html
  • 3. Attraction Induction/Initiation Transformation Mission Transmission
  • 4. Christian faith as way of life and life of mission
  • 5. Do we envision Christian faith working from the individual to the global, or from the global to the individual? Or both?
  • 6. Heat Solar Energy Prosperity Resources Waste Equity Security Societal Machine The Ecosystem
  • 7. Prosperity Equity Security Societal Machine Framing Story
  • 8. 4 Crises: The Human Situation: What Conventional View God created the world as perfect, but because our primal is the story that ancestors, Adam and Eve, did Emerging View God created the world as good, but human beings – as individuals, and as groups – have rebelled against God and we find not maintain the absolute filled the world with evil and injustice ourselves in? perfection demanded by God, like a terrible disease. God wants to save God has irrevocably determined humanity and heal it from its sickness, that the entire universe and all it but humanity is hopelessly lost and Planetary crisis (Prosperity) contains will be destroyed, and the souls of all human beings – except for those specifically exempted – will be forever punished for their imperfection in hell.1 confused, like sheep without a shepherd, wandering farther and farther into lostness and danger. Left to themselves, human beings will spiral downward in sickness and evil. Basic Since everyone is doomed to Since the human race is in such desperate Questions: What hell, Jesus seeks to answer these trouble, Jesus seeks to answer this questions did questions: how can individuals question: what must be done about the Jesus come to be saved from eternal mess we’re in? The mess refers both to Poverty crisis (Equity) answer? punishment in hell and instead the general human condition and its go to heaven after they die? How specific outworking among his can God help individuals be contemporaries: living under domination happy and successful until then? by the Roman empire, and divided into various competing sects. Jesus’ message: Jesus says, in essence, “If you Jesus says, in essence, “Other people and How did Jesus want to be among those groups – including your own religious respond to the specifically qualified to escape leaders - are leading you farther and crisis? being forever punished for your farther astray. I have been sent by God sins in hell, you must repent of with this good news – that God loves your individual sins and believe humanity, even in its lostness and sin. Peace-making crisis (Security) that my Father punished me on the cross so He won’t have to punish you in hell. Only if you believe this will you go to heaven when everyone else is banished to hell.”2 This is the God graciously invites everyone and anyone to question and reject what they have been told and instead follow a new path. Trust me and become my disciple, and you will be transformed, and you will participate in the transformation of the good news. world, which is possible, beginning right now.”3 This is the good news. Religious Crisis (Spirituality) 1 Of course, there are many modern western non-religious ontologies and framing stories too, plus Eastern ontologies and framing stories – both religious and irreligious. 2 This reflects a Calvinistic Evangelical protestant version of the message. The popular Roman Catholic version might say, “You must believe in the teachings of the church and follow its instructions, especially those regarding sacraments.” The popular mainline or liberal Protestant
  • 9. Public worship as bonding to Conventional View Emerging View the biblical narrative ... The Human Situation: What we find ourselves in? God created the world as perfect, but because our primal is the story that ancestors, Adam and Eve, did not maintain the absolute perfection demanded by God, God created the world as good, but human beings – as individuals, and as groups – have rebelled against God and filled the world with evil and injustice like a terrible disease. God wants to save God has irrevocably determined humanity and heal it from its sickness, that the entire universe and all it but humanity is hopelessly lost and contains will be destroyed, and confused, like sheep without a shepherd, the souls of all human beings – wandering farther and farther into except for those specifically lostness and danger. Left to themselves, exempted – will be forever human beings will spiral downward in punished for their imperfection sickness and evil. in hell.1 Basic Since everyone is doomed to Since the human race is in such desperate Questions: What hell, Jesus seeks to answer these trouble, Jesus seeks to answer this questions did questions: how can individuals question: what must be done about the Jesus come to be saved from eternal mess we’re in? The mess refers both to answer? punishment in hell and instead the general human condition and its go to heaven after they die? How specific outworking among his An act of defiance against the can God help individuals be contemporaries: living under domination happy and successful until then? by the Roman empire, and divided into various competing sects. Jesus’ message: Jesus says, in essence, “If you Jesus says, in essence, “Other people and How did Jesus want to be among those groups – including your own religious respond to the specifically qualified to escape leaders - are leading you farther and crisis? being forever punished for your farther astray. I have been sent by God dominant cultural narratives: sins in hell, you must repent of with this good news – that God loves your individual sins and believe humanity, even in its lostness and sin. that my Father punished me on God graciously invites everyone and the cross so He won’t have to anyone to question and reject what they punish you in hell. Only if you have been told and instead follow a new believe this will you go to path. Trust me and become my disciple, heaven when everyone else is and you will be transformed, and you will banished to hell.”2 This is the participate in the transformation of the good news. world, which is possible, beginning right now.”3 This is the good news. affiliation with an alternative 1 Of course, there are many modern western non-religious ontologies and framing stories too, plus Eastern ontologies and framing stories – both religious and irreligious. 2 This reflects a Calvinistic Evangelical protestant version of the message. The popular Roman Catholic version might say, “You must believe in the teachings of the church and follow its instructions, especially those regarding sacraments.” The popular mainline or liberal Protestant kingdom
  • 10. Jesus didn’t claim to start a new religion. He proclaimed a new kingdom....
  • 11. Imagine what “the kingdom of God” would mean to its original hearers …
  • 12. The Roman Empire was very tolerant of new religions … but not of new kingdoms. Proclaiming a new kingdom could get you killed.
  • 13. Our contemporary understanding of Christian faith is … MEMBERSHIP IN A TROUBLED, CONFLICTED, CHANGE-AVERSE, AND EXPENSIVE INSTITUTION with a large taboo against holding certain political and social convictions. with a bias toward being good citizens with a concern for religious education with a seldom-spoken of dream of joining God in the healing of the world.
  • 14. Or … INFORMATION ON HOW TO GO TO HEAVEN AFTER YOU DIE with a large footnote about increasing your personal happiness and success through God. with a small footnote about character development with a smaller footnote about spiritual experience with a smaller footnote about social/global transformation.
  • 15. heaven self church Self-enhancement world in this life and the next
  • 16. heaven world church self
  • 17. God’s love, joy, peace, justice world church self
  • 18. May your kingdom come ... May your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
  • 19. Conventional churches of personal spirituality or institutional tradition. Two Denominations: Intentional Churches dedicated to saving creation from human evil, beginning with us.
  • 20. We may have rightly lost confidence in the privatized/institutionalized gospel … Two Denominations: We need to (re)gain confidence in Jesus’ gospel of the kingdom of God.
  • 21. This approach has powerful implications for what it means to gather for public worship.
  • 22. 261 versus 3
  • 23. 261 versus 0
  • 24. Did Jesus come to create “Christians” or to form disciples who would join God in healing our world?
  • 25. Clearly, for the early disciples, the church was an expanding circle of disciples. It was “the embodiment of Christ.” They saw themselves as learners in his way.
  • 26. come, follow me Learn of me, take my yoke upon you I have given you an example Make disciples, teaching them to practice everything I have taught you
  • 27. Be conformed to the image of Christ. Romans 8 Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Romans 12 … that Christ may be formed in you. Galatians 4 Learn Christ… Be made new in the attitude of your minds Ephesians 4 Christ in you, the hope of glory … everyone fully formed in Christ Colossians 1 Let this attitude be in you which was also in Christ… Philippians 2
  • 28. The sermon on the mount Explains how disciples of the kingdom are characterized by a “right/just way of living” which “surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees.” Different attitudes: blessed are … Different role - salt and light Beyond “no murder” to no hatred, anger, insult, or grudges Beyond “no adultery” to no lust or divorce Beyond no lying to no exaggeration Beyond no excessive revenge to no retaliation Beyond loving friends to loving enemies Beyond harsh religious “perfection” to God’s compassionate perfection.
  • 29. How are disciples formed? Through practice(s). ___public worship ___solitude ___sabbath ___meditation ___eucharist ___silence ___study ___spiritual direction ___practicing God’s presence ___prayer journaling ___fixed-hour prayer ___contemplative prayer ___service ___submission ___simplicity ___feasting/ fasting ___pilgrimage ___self-denial ___identifying with Jesus ___reconciliation ___giving ___confessing sin ___reciting creeds
  • 30. How are disciples formed? Through practice. ___public worship ___solitude ___sabbath ___eucharist ___silence ___study ___spiritual direction ___practicing God’s presence ___prayer journaling ___fixed-hour prayer ___contemplative prayer ___service ___submission ___simplicity ___feasting/ fasting ___pilgrimage ___self-denial ___identifying with Jesus ___reconciliation ___giving ___confessing sin ___reciting creeds But this is only half the story …
  • 31. Spiritual Formation through personal practices.
  • 32. Spiritual Formation through missional practices.
  • 33. Jesus calls disciples - men and women who will learn to live a new way of life and experience transformation. Then he sends them out as apostles … people who would bring transformation to the world.
  • 34. the well-formed disciple/apostle Love God Love neighbor, enemy Via Contemplativa Via Activa Good heart Good works Trust Obey Transforming (1) Transforming (2) Disciple Apostle “interior castle” kingdom of God godliness otherliness
  • 35. the well-formed disciple patient kind not envious doesn’t boast not proud not rude not self-seeking not easily angered no record of wrongs doesn’t delight in evil rejoices with truth always protects always trusts always hopes always perseveres never fails
  • 36. The purpose of personal formation is social transformation
  • 37. And social transformation requires personal transformation.
  • 38. There must be ongoing transformation at every level: Economic, political, social, familial, community, artistic, ecological, legal, business, military, scientific, educational, etc.
  • 39. How are disciples formed? Through personal practices. ___public worship ___solitude ___sabbath ___eucharist ___silence ___study ___spiritual direction ___practicing God’s presence ___prayer journaling ___fixed-hour prayer ___contemplative prayer ___service ___submission ___simplicity ___feasting/fasting ___pilgrimage ___self-denial ___identifying with Jesus ___reconciliation ___giving ___confessing sin ___reciting creeds
  • 40. How are apostles formed? Through missional practices. ___forgiving ___hospitality ___praying for healing ___not judging ___confronting evil ___serving ___listening ___associating with the lowly ___holy kiss ___speaking truth in love ___neighborliness ___loving enemies ___preferring poor ___speaking for justice ___proclaiming good news in word and deed ___giving to poor ___throwing parties for poor ___walking to other side of street to serve ___giving ___encouragement ___empathy
  • 41. How do we maximize the effectiveness of public worship in missional formation?
  • 42. Stories/Testimonies Songs Sermons Benedictions Prayers Creeds/Litanies Saints/heroes Queries/small groups Analysis/Response
  • 43. Does Christ’s church have a mission? Or does Christ’s mission have a church?
  • 44. As the Father sent me, so I send you. (John 20:21)
  • 45. So … the church is the community that joins God for global transformation on every level … It is a community of transforming individuals who participate with God in the transformation of the world: the coming of the Kingdom of God.
  • 46. transformation transformission
  • 47. Spiritual formation is the development of people who are agents of God’s healing … Agents of peace, reconciliation, creativity, courage, patience, urgency, generosity, solidarity with the poor and oppressed, truth- telling …
  • 48. Working out the dynamic tension … Social movements: Confront social institutions, call for change Social institutions: Conserve gains made by previous social movements Oppose current social movements
  • 49. the well-formed disciple
  • 50. the well-formed apostle.
  • 51. the well-formed earth.