@ This Point is an ezine published by Columbia Theological Seminary, subtitled Theological Investigations in Church and Culture. I stumbled across an article in it last weekend that mentions the The People formerly known as… meme and had a brief email conversation with the author, Dr. Stephen Hayner.
Steve is planning to use the TPFKATC conversation as part of a CTS course he is teaching next fall. As well as teaching at the seminary, in Steve’s words, he’s “involved in a project within the Presbyterian Church (USA) to help churches move to a more missional identity. This summer (they) will be launching a networking/resource website to help churches.” Steve is a former president of IVCF/USA and Vice-President of Seattle Pacific University.
From his article, Breaking Out of a Box:
In various ways, the church in every age must answer the questions: “How are we to live faithfully in today’s world? How can we break out of our cultural entrapment and live into God’s greater purposes? How can we avoid reducing the gospel into something that merely fits our current culture?” Those of us trying to live biblical faith must always be asking afresh what it means to live in a deepening relationship of intimacy with the triune God, with one another, and with the work of Christ in the world. We must always understand that we live in the face of “powers and principalities” which directly and indirectly resist the powers of God and vie for our allegiance. As we engage the realties of our personal journeys and the sufferings of a fallen world, what resources are available to us? What or whom will we serve? How will we engage the battles? Christian practices—churchly practices—are supposed to support us, focus us, and connect us more deeply for what truly matters in the journey. They are not merely to decorate our lives or to give us temporary solace in the storm.
While I, too, question many aspects of the “experiments” with doing and being “church” which are growing today, I am also finding that these challenges to my own journey are helping me to engage again with the fundamentals of my faith. As I listen to many voices in the emerging churches, I find myself asking questions that are truly foundational and that need to be periodically reexamined with fewer cultural trappings. They are questions like: What is God like? What is God doing in the world? What is the “Gospel”? What is God wanting to do in and through my life—and our lives together? How can we build, sustain and nourish our own faith and that of people we love? Are there better—more careful and powerful—ways of “telling the story” for this generation.
Please read the entire article as well as Steve’s lead essay in Vol 2, no 1 of @ This Point, The Shaping of Things to Come?. Perhaps @ This Point will set themselves up as more of a blog and allow comments on their site (and tracking via Technorati.)