No More Bridges to the Past!

I had an epiphany at our church's college group Bible study last night. This will probably have occured to everyone else already, but sometimes I'm slow in coming. I think it's going to be my battle cry for The Church and for Christianity and for my own theology in the coming years...

Ready? Brace yourself? Here it is:

Embrace=>The=>FUTURE!

I know, I know, monumental isn't it? Paradigm-shifting! Yes? Well, maybe it sounds obvious, but here's why it isn't: for the last 26 years of my life (that would be ALL of my life) I have attended churches of some kind or another in various denominations. Throughout that time, I have gone to home groups, Bible studies, even a few home churches. In every instance of every church or Christian group I have been involved with, a common underlying sentiment reigns, echoing through all that we initiate: we have to get back to the 1st Century Church. We have to reclaim an Acts-type of community!

We have so-romanticized the first Christian Church that we've come to believe that such a church was meant to be universal and unchanging. As if a First Century Jewish counter-cultural spiritual revolution under the oppression of the Roman Empire should somehow translate to every era, every context, every nation.

We have not only put God in a box, we've kept Him from manifesting or revealing Himself in new ways (forgive the male-centric pronouns). We've made the future bad and the past good. But the past wasn't so good. Countless times in Acts and throughout the New Testament we read of the faults and shortcomings of the Church. And all that caring and sharing and selling off everything that takes place for TWO CHAPTERS? It didn't last.

The church NEEDS the future. We NEED change. We need to learn to adapt. Maybe if the Church actually pushed adaptation and ecclesiological evolution forward, we wouldn't keep having these socio-spiritual crises (like post-Christian Europe). Maybe we could be paradigm shifters and cutting edge philosophers instead of sad remnants of desecrated empires.

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