Saturday, January 10, 2004

A search for authenticity

Yesterday I met with another SA officer. He has been a friend/mentor for a few years now. We talked about everything from life and diet; both our wives have us on diets. The conversation went two directions primarily.

We talked about a class he is teaching at the training school which focuses on “joyful theology”, trying to approach theology in a way that brings back joy. For most Christians their beliefs don’t make a difference in their lives. It looks a lot at sciences relationship to theology, specifically the role physics and creation theory play in our theology. Can there be any joy if we understand God as a changeless, timeless, all knowing, (the old Omni’s omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient) being. What is the nature of God? Shouldn’t how we see God make a difference in our lives? What if God’s primary character traits are not the Omni’s but are relational and creative? Would that make a difference?

We then talked about TSA. Specifically what are we? It seems as though we want to be a church and many are fighting to keep the idea that we are a church. However, if we look at what 90% of officers do we are not pastors. We spend the bulk our time administrating a parachurch ministry. The problem is that we are not real with ourselves. We keep saying things like “we are a church” or “mission team leaders” or whatever the latest buzz words are. If we say we are one thing when we are really another then we are deceiving ourselves or we are hypocrites, our perspective will dictate which word we use. Does it really matter how many people come on Sunday? Does it matter if we have Sunday “church” at all? Why not become the best international/local parachurch ministry in the world allowing our officers to be part of other worshiping communities.

In this process I am also questioning the validity of the senior pastor model. What speaks more a single full time paid pastor or 5 6 or more part time or volunteer pastors using whatever gifts they have. I would rather be in a community of people who are serving each other and doing the work of the church “feeding and clothing the poor, bringing liberation, healing the sick, community and individual transformation.” TSA as a parachurch could be a powerful force in this calling, as a church we usually just suck and get in the way. We have unique role and position in society. We must use this position to network with the growing postmodern Christian population to reach other postmoderns.
In order to do this we must start to be honest with ourselves and others. This covers the essence of what we are, finances, what we do, and be more open in general. We can not be afraid of others especially Christians like we have a monopoly on being “right.”

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