Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Deconstructionalists Rejoice!

For a good few years now some have been resonating with thinking that comes with the so-called 'Post-modern Mindset' - thinking that leads to some serious questions being asked about how we do faith and church. This kind of thinking is also often known as 'de-constructing' because it involves taking apart structures that have been in place for years (even centuries) and assumed to be fixed and solid. Upon de-constructing it is found that the underlying assumptions perhaps weren't so good after all.

One of those structures has been the fixed weekly Sunday gathering that many seem take as if it was the definition of church. This thinking is often exposed by language such as 'we go to church'. A common symptom is a high degree of focus on the Sunday gathering, and the high level of importance placed on it.

Another symptom is that people seem to confuse taking someone 'to Jesus' with taking them 'to church'. That is not to say that taking someone to a church gathering will not be helpful towards someone meeting Jesus, but we should pinch ourselves and remember our task is first & foremost to take someone to Jesus. Of course the church aspect should then follow, naturally arising in discipleship.

Now don't get me wrong! I still believe that gathering is important (in fact very important). Hebrews chapter 10 verse 25 makes the case for not giving up on meeting together. But Deconstructionalists ask whether the Sunday gatherings should bear the weight we put on them.

Now, with our Covid-19 lockdown scenario, our Sunday physical gatherings are simply not possible!

So Deconstructionalists Rejoice! The arguably dubious tower of over-inflated-importance given to Sunday gatherings is demolished! Now (presumably) is our chance to highlight the importance of individual and in-the-small discipleship practices and experiences (an importance that needn't exclude the complementary importance of gatherings, when they become possible again).

Interestingly churches have rushed to attempt 'live streaming' of their services, so that people can gather virtually. There is value in these, I am sure ... but if the Deconstructionalists are right (or at least their thinking has merit), then I fear that the live streaming efforts might be missing a valuable learning point that this strange season affords us.

1 comment:

  1. Nice piece Karl, thought provoking. The question/encouragement depending where you are on your journey is: being church daily in this current situation, what part does gathered 'church' play?