We have had a house group at our house for a number of years- some dear friends, a pot of tea and lots of chatter. However, for some time now I have been thinking that it is time to move on into something new. We have floated the idea of starting a local discussion- probably in a pub.
The are a few reasons for this- groups like ours (no matter how lovely) can simply become too familiar, too safe- and the Lion of Judah is not a tame lion. I just think it is time to step out again a little.
Next, those of us who were part of all the ’emerging church’ discussions/conversations/debates/slanging matches perhaps became a jaded with the same theological merry go round. Post modernity, post evangelicalism, post charismatic- we all embraced the questions but had no certainty about where the road might be leading- and that was fine.
But there comes a time when a new direction for our theological journey begins to become a little clearer. All those questions start to find some kind of answer, even if incomplete and held lightly.
Of late, there have been some discussions about ‘teaching’ within Aoradh. I was rather shocked at first as I was not that sure I wanted to teach anyone anything. I was happy to learn alongside others as we journeyed together, but the idea that other people should be shaped and moulded by my (or one of my friend’s) knowledge and wisdom was rather beyond me. At first the whole idea of it seemed a step back towards something that I was glad to leave behind.
But of course, St Paul talked about the gifts given to the body of the church- apostles prophets teachers miracle workers healers helpers organizers those who pray in tongues. I am no longer given to treating the suggestions of St Paul to the people in Ephesus as a blue print for the organisation of ‘church’, but neither am I going to ignore him either!
Having said that, there are a few other positions in St Paul’s list above that still have no certified incumbents. Whilst I hope that we can be respectful of church tradition, I have no real desire to start a journey towards a new clergy. Rather let us use the passion and talent that we can, and encourage the same in others around us. If we have a teacher, let him/her teach.
Or let us just gather to learn together- this still sits much easier with me.
So- if you are in the Dunoon area, do you fancy being part of a discussion group?
My working idea has been to use some of the questions proposed by St Brian of Mclaren in his book ‘A new kind of Chrisitianity’;
1. What is the overarching storyline of the Bible?
2. How should the Bible be understood?
3. Is God violent?
4. Who is Jesus and why is he important?
5. What is the Good News?
6. What do we do about the church?
7. Can we find a better way to address the issue of homosexuality?
8. Can we find a better way of viewing the future?
9. How should followers of Jesus relate to people of other religions?
10. How can we translate our quest into action?