I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For

DSCF0617.JPGIt’s been almost a year since I stood in the center of the Roman Forum.  As the tour guide was giving us the run-down of each monument we learned that Rome is a city built on top of itself.  As we descended into the Forum we could look in one direction and see a building from the 19th Century and right next to it would be a building from the 13th Century.  Walking through the monuments was like taking a time machine back to the very stones that were traveled by Paul or Peter.

Throughout the generations the Romans would take what was left from days gone by and transform it into something new.  A pagan temple would be transformed into a Cathedral.  A monument built for a king would be renewed as a monument meant for The King.  The old became new…generation after generation.  Something from the past was brought to the present, but it was different.  The ruins were redeemed and something new was brought to life.

That’s where I see us living today.  If we’re honest with ourselves (which is a rare occasion, I think) we can see that the church models that we’ve held onto for so long are beginning to rot and decay in front of us.  Try as we may to prop them up with bigger budgets and more programs, they’re falling apart around us.  Something has to happen to bring life from this slow death.  The ruins need to be redeemed and something new must be born.

The problem is when you’re standing in the middle of what used to be, the only thing you can see is what has been.  It’s difficult to imagine what could be.  It’s the same feeling as when I look at my kids.  I can see what they are and I know what they were, but I struggle to see what they will become.  And it’s even more difficult to see what my role is in helping them become.

I truly believe that there is something becoming of the Church, and while there are those that would consider this a "bad" thing I think it’s much like what the Romans did.  We’ve got to build new possibilities from the ruins of these old structures.  Those that choose not to change cannot be viewed in negative ways, they simply haven’t seen the cracks in the foundation yet.  That time will come.  Today, I’m looking for the new…the "could be."

I found this list yesterday in Doug Pagitt’s book, Reimagining Spiritual Formation.  This is what I’m looking for: 

 We dream of a church where…

  1. We listen to and are obedient to God.
  2. People who  are not Christians become followers of God in the way of Jesus.
  3. Those who are not involved in church would become an active part of it.
  4. People are deeply connected to God in all of life; body, mind, soul, and spirit.
  5. Beauty, art, and creativity are valued, used, and understood as coming from the Creator.
  6. Culture is met, embraced, and transformed.
  7. Joy, fun, and excitement are part of our lives.
  8. The Kingdom of God is increased in real ways in the world.
  9. The biblical story of God is told and contributed to.
  10. Biblical justice, mercy, grace, love, and righteousness lead the way.
  11. Truth, honesty, and health are a way of life.
  12. We value innovation and are willing to take risks in order to bring glory to God.
  13. Worship of God is full, vibrant, real, and pleasing to God.
  14. Faith, hope, and love are the context for all.
  15. The next generation of leadership is built up and leaders are servants.
  16. Everyone is equipped to do ministry.
  17. God’s Spirit takes precedence over all structures and systems.
  18. Christian Community is the attraction to outsiders and the answer to questions of faith.
  19. People participate in the Kingdom of God in accordance with their gifts and abilities.
  20. We are connected to, dependent on, and serve the global Church.
  21. People learn the ways of God and are encouraged to make it central to their lives.
  22. Other churches are valued and supported.
  23. People’s visions and ideas of ministry come to life.

To say the least, "I still haven’t found what I’m looking for."  But I’m pretty sure it’s here somewhere…under the ruins.

 

 

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~ by Chris Green on November 15, 2005.

2 Responses to “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”

  1. I feel like a groupie here…but if you find it, let me know. I too, still haven’t found what I’m looking for….

  2. today is the one year anniversity of our trip to EUROPE!!!! dang i wish i was there again, but we are just to liberal. blahhhh

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