Got most of DEEP CHURCH read amidst a series of crises yesterday. Very timely book in the discussions of what 'church' should be and do in the times we find ourselves in. It seeks to find a 'via media' (Anglican words) - a middle way between the traditional views of 'church' and the emerging/emergent views of 'church.' And I think the author does a pretty good job. Using his own church as the model of this middle way, he illustrates a commitment to ancient tradition and the foundation of scripture while also maintaining an openness to unity across Christian expressions, to innovation in styles, to new experiences of what 'church' can be in our post-modern, post-christian era.
I see myself in this struggle as well, seeking to bridge between a valued ancient form and tradition of worship, to a younger, more experiential, less committed generation. We've just begun a renewed emphasis on building the younger generations at our church, with a fellowship group for 20 & 30 somethings. After just a couple of fun outings, there are already signs of movement, interest and dare I say it, growth. It is in taking the small steps in sequence that we journey together to the end. DEEP CHURCH has helped me to conceptualize some of the desires of my own heart - the desire for a community of depth in Christ and in His Word. Our transitions and growth are very rarely pretty, most often painful, through the stages of our life, from family and home, to college, to relationships and marriage, to children and family with our own home. Once through these initial transitions, we build a life together through the crashing waves of our culture, our economy, relational tumult and internal stress. DEEP CHURCH means that we are a community in this together, asking, seeking, knocking - keeping the main thing the main thing - Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness, and all these "other" things will be added to you.
We can hardly overestimate the action of God in our lives, if we will observe this command from Matthew 6. His promise is sure and His willingness to act is sure. The lack comes in our knowledge and awareness of His acting in our behalf. We expect one thing and God does another; we try to squeeze God into our mold and he returns the favor! So let us turn our eyes on Jesus, the "author and finisher of faith" who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame and sat down at the right hand of his Father in heaven. Jesus is the Way! He's not our transporter beam, he is the path we walk - seek first His Kingdom (His effective rule in your own heart) and His righteousness (the outworking of His rule in daily action), and all else will be added ... by Him!