Saturday, January 3, 2009

Some thoughts while reading "A Churchless Faith"

These are some of my thoughts while reading "A Churchless Faith" by Alan Kevin Jamieson. Thanks to Alison Marshall for pointing it out in her blog.

"The formation of groups of church leavers are considered and an ongoing dialogue between them and the leaders of evangelical Pentecostal and charismatic churches proposed."

My first thought was that I would love to see that happening with Baha'is. My second thought was that it is happening with Baha'is. It just isn't obvious because the participants are not publicly describing it that way.

"I met four pastors in New Zealand and three in Melbourne whose concern for church leavers had encouraged them to become involved personally in supporting leavers in their faith and helping them to find faith communities more responsive to their concerns."

That's what I like to see!

"This renewed focus on redefining secularisation either by a return to some of the key theorists or in the work of neo-secularisation theorists has focused attention on religious change rather than religious decline."

"A common component found in both the work of Tschannen and Dobbelaere and the neosecularisationists is their focus on the privatisation of religion."

That intrigues me. I would need to think about it some more to be able to explain why.

I love chapter twelve.

12.2 Those at the ‘Margins’ Critique Those at the ‘Centre’
12.2.1 Those on the ‘Margins’ Have an Inherent Connection with the Emerging
Postmodern Culture
12.2.2 Those on the ‘Margins’ Have Given Priority to the Questions of a New Age
12.2.3. Those on the ‘Margins’ Have Learned From the Journey of Exile
12.2.4 Those on the ‘Margins’ Indicate Other Ways of Structuring Christian
Community than that Typically Employed by ‘EPC' Churches
12.2.5 Those on the ‘Margins’ Have an Openness to People who Think Differently
12.2.6 Those on the ‘Margins’ Have a Broad Eclectic Approach to Liturgy and Worship
12.2.7 Those on the ‘Margins’ Point to a Difficult Journey for the ‘EPC' Church

12.3 Those at the ‘Centre’ Critique those at the Margins
12.3.1 Those at the ‘Centre’ Perceive a Priority to Mission
12.3.2 Those at the ‘Centre’ Perceive a Priority for Evangelism and Conversion
12.3.3 Those at the ‘Centre’ Perceive the Need for Investment in the Faith of the Next Generation
12.3.4 Those at the ‘Centre’ Perceive a Need of Somewhere to Belong
12.3.5 Those at the ‘Centre’ Have a Preparedness to Learn from the Classics of the Faith
12.3.6 Those at the ‘Centre’ Perceive the Need to Maintain Connections with Other
Larger Conglomerations of People
12.3.7 Those at the ‘Centre’ Perceive the Need for Energy and Risk Taking in the Name of Faith

"Here I will suggest the possibility of an ongoing dialogue between the margins and the centre. A dialogue that respects and acknowledges the validity of the stance of the other. By acknowledging the stance of the other I am suggesting that those within the ‘EPC' church leadership need to acknowledge the validity of Christian faith outside of their doors too. They need to recognise the legitimacy of these people’s faith journey. Conversely many of those who have left the church need to remember that others may choose to remain part of the church community and do not need to leave simply to be acceptable in their eyes. For both those in the church and outside of it this implies the acknowledgement of each other’s belonging to the faith and a preparedness to listen to each other."

"Not only that there is room for such dialogue, but that the possibilities of fruitful engagement with an increasingly postmodern society demand such dialogue."

(Quoting Veling) "Separatism, while it may appear the more radical stance, only serves the needs of the institutional order, demanding that communities either stay or leave on its terms."

(Veling again) "One way to redeem rebellion is to lead marginal communities out of a paralyzing critical mode into the hermeneutical openness of the question, from the driving wedge of constant criticism into the cutting edge of ongoing questioning. . . . Gadamer’s preference is for giving a priority to the mode of open questioning over against the dominance of a critical thinking that too often distances the interpreter from the subject matter at hand"

"As the ‘EPC' church rises in prominence it needs to remain open to the divergent voices within its own tradition that speak on behalf of the marginalised. These are the victims, prophets, poets, artists, visionaries, musicians and academics whose questions, suffering, experiences and self constructed faith demand space in the margins from which to interpret again Christian faith in a postmodern world."

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