Friday, February 10, 2006

While you were sleeping

There was no light in the tin shack. None at all, except when the moon was shinning, but the moon wasn't out tonight. The boy shivered and pulled his little sister closer, wrapping the flimsy worn blanket tightly around them...

I dreamed last night I was back in the townships of East Africa. I woke feeling both sadness and relief, grateful, lucky even as to why I was born where I was, into what I was and not, well, you know...

Maybe we just have to accept it as some quirky twist of fate and open our hearts and minds to the time we are given. What was it Gandalf said to Frodo? ‘All you have to do is decide what to do with the time that is given you.’ This morning one question remains at the forefront of my psyche; what am I to be? As I write I realise that I am no further forward, just further along.

Every year seems to pass with greater speed and my concern as each closes has to do with what both I have accomplished in those 365 days. After all life is not about just being good, surely its purpose has to do with being good for something. My worry is that we so easily suburbanise our souls with theological band aids out of a duty to be faithful to Christianity, and as a consequence our faith becomes parched and dry.

Theologian Walter Bruggemann prudently observes that, ‘in Christian practice it is worth noting that in this season of cultural displacement in the Western church, the “exilic” voices of the Old Testament take on new authority and pertinence, among them the lament tradition that was never needed before in a Western church tradition that characteristically enjoyed hegemonic support and favour.’ New rhythms rooted to rich traditions of the past, yet expressed contextually for post-modern people must be encouraged and experimented with. We must have the courage to journey into the emerging church.

All I am saying here is that we will have to find new expressions of church in order that the Incarnation might be made apparent and real to people. The post-evangelical debate makes the point that relevance involves almost constant willingness to reshape the tradition, given the rapidly changing nature of our current context. Furthermore it stated that if the church neglects the reshaping then consequently we preserve a gospel which says something quite different from what Jesus actually communicated.

It just might be that we are called to enter the new land to tell the inhabitants the story of the Christ. I think I need to go to the edge again, to look in and in hearing the whisper re-connect with the broken and the poor - in doing so I may find God, and in finding God, find myself...

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