“this is an unfinished ‘pictionary’/dreaming out loud possibilities ‘manifesto for the future of the church…”
i remember a few years back listening to the buzz of this new idea of a ‘church without walls’. and i thought to myself how inventive is this, a belief that god doesn’t need bricks to dwell somewhere. in fact, egypt to the exodus was israel divorcing themselves from a life with bricks into the nomadic discovery of a god on the run. and i think that kind of epiphany moment was probably very similar to those who were carrying around this mobile ark of the covenant and then seeing god in a cloud or a fire. or hearing god in the silence rather than these natural disasters. although i think god’s voice being the silence is a natural disaster, because we tend to like noise. noise with structure. even how we refer to our world says a lot about our affinity toward the belief and need for a structured approach to almost anything. but, what if the church wasn’t meant to look like what it has become? this isn’t to say that the Church hasn’t served well in its previous years, but because of the much needed cultural shifts toward equality, community, plurality, and trans-national experimentation. i think the church of the concrete building is slowly becoming a ghost of our past. and yes, i think we should rightly mourn this much needed loss, but we don’t necessarily need to demonize its demise.
so what does the church of the future look like? i think we are very much in the dreaming stages of this process, but i think its a much needed question to continue asking. a church without walls. a church without denominations, a church without affilation, and a church that doesnt’ feel the need to homogenize its members. a church that resists every temptation to become an empire, and yet remains an influential prophetic voice against them, even if at times it needs to be spoken from within. a church that is radically inclusive to the point of re-visiting its own doctrine to make sure the inclusion sets the doctrine; or how about no set doctrine?
which could be representative of the plurality of its members. i am hearing about big tent christianity off and on and have some friends who are speaking at the event. and i think they are on to something. a place where we recognize that not having all the answers is better than having them. a place of humble enquiry and yet radical self-subversion. a place for hybrid experimentation. a place of parody. a desert in the oasis (rollins). a place where the fall is salvation (zizek). a place of unethical heterology (aka, non-conversion). a safe space for those in need of home.
a haven for the homeless, rejected, nameless and socially reviled of people. a place where we we live naturally in a state of vertigo. in the book of acts, the author says that the ‘church’ turned the world upside down. this is so much more than being an agent of change, its living and encouraging an ongoing state of vertigo. the church is to be an agent of perpetual vertigo.