Wednesday, 13 April 2016


As Christians we are to look to Christ and to His Kingdom. That will mean looking to His fully established Kingdom, which means looking beyond this world as we know it today.

That means being constantly restless - looking for more Kingdom-likeness, anticipating what to many will seem to be an 'other-world' or 'out of this world' viewpoint. Not so that we are of no practical use in the today, but precisely because we have this other-world view we are down to earth and head-strong in the belief that things today can be changed.

Nouwen puts it well in his book Open Hands:
You are Christian only so long as ...
  • you look forward to a new world
  • you pose critical questions to society of today
  • you emphasize the need for conversion
  • you do not let yourself become established in seeming calm
  • you stay unsatisfied with the status quo
  • you keep saying that a new world is yet to come
  • you believe you have a role to play in realising this new kingdom
  • you urge everyone with a holy unrest to make haste
He concludes by asserting that a Christian must keep looking for a new order, a new structure, a new life. Strong, uncompromising, radical words ... with no room for half-measures!

So if you follow Christ, then be Christian ... be restless.

Friday, 8 April 2016

Stay Out of Control?

Movements that really move have one extraordinary feature in common - they feel like they are out of our control!

But do we have the guts to let them continue in this out of control way, or would we rather ... well, err ... control them?

Our tendency is to organise, to regiment, to ensure quality (or adherence to doctrine etc. etc.) ... but all these might actually stifle the movement rather than continue to fan the flames. Worse still, that might mean stifling a mission move of God.

I was reading recently about the Spirit moving in a muslim-majority context, bringing people to faith as only the Spirit can. It added up to a movement that felt like it was out of control. Some responded by forming churches, procuring buildings, holding services. That introduced control, regularity, ensured things were 'right'.

The churches even acted as beacons, shining lights in an otherwise spiritually impoverished land. Thats good you might think, but with the hindsight of a few years it was clearly less effective, less dynamic, 'less God' than the original movement.

Remember going viral is the opposite of containment. Gathering as church is for sure Biblical, but buildings with fixed patterns of services ... hmmm! Maybe the latter inadvertently becomes containment, though of course no participant would have ever wanted that!