As a critical person, I have to remember that the point of criticism is always to build something better, and that criticizing what’s wrong is only one step in the journey. The church is quite often a target of this criticism (and rightly so), yet I have been trying to exercise my imagination of what a faithful church might look like. Towards that end, I imagine that a faithful church might:
- not have a bank account
- have members going to jail regularly because of faithfulness
- be active in developing their local economy
- not have a parking lot
- not have a building
- be too unstructured for people used to hierarchy
- be too rigid for those who treasure “freedom”
Anyone have any others to add to the list of imaginative possibilities?
11 responses to “Ecclesiastical Imagination”
* Not having any flag
* People hurt in the other cheek
@mountainguy Good call, especially on the flag part. I always forget about that temptation, because we don’t tend to do that here in Canada.
About flagas, I thought something like “more fags and less flags”, but using the word fag could be offensive for some people in the audience.
1. be living schools (and inter-schools) of discipleship
2. connect in a committed way to Tradition
3. Be simultaneously wise and childlike (simplicity the other side of complexity)
4. Be a hub for community organizing and non violent resistance
5. Be filled with the Holy Spirit, again and again. a community that is simply desperate for God.
6. Be a community which discerns the Word together, in silence and in conversation.
@joel mason Great thoughts here. I like the mix of practical and abstract you have going on there, good fuel for the ecclesiastical imagination
Joel> although I like your list, I don’t understand what you mean by numbers 1 and 2. I also am not a fan of no bank account. I’m a huge fan of the church in support of those who need it, whether financial or otherwise. When I was in highschool my dad lost his job and we were on welfare for two years while he went back to school, and our church helped out a LOT. They wouldn’t have been able to do that without a place for people to send that money first. Other than that, I love this list Matt.
I’ve only just caught up on this post, and while I find your imaginative points interesting, I found the point about being a critical person more useful to me. I’m good at criticizing, and don’t find it easy to take it that next step and build on the criticism to bring something better. I’ve taken a note of that first sentence and will keep it in mind. Thanks!
@becks Well, if not having a bank account meant that a church couldn’t help out a family in need, that’d be a failure, for sure. But could the church cultivate a form of life without a bank account and still be able to help? Although I hope so, that’s a tough one, for sure.
@Mike Crowl Glad it challenges you. It sure challenges me!
1. bicycle repair/parts shop
2. big ass garden
4. overflowing with people who suffer from social awkwardness, poverty concerns and a sense that their lives are not their own, to do with as they please.
5. I think church needs a public space (that can always be given away) that it can extend in moments of abundant generosity. For example: the displaced people in a flood perhaps or the unemployed. The widow, the orphan, etc. Besides, it’s fun to build spaces that have a neutral or even positive ecological footprint.
6. Confession happens daily in real/contextual ways.
7. An hydrogen/electric bus would be helpful
8. Having listed all of these… the church has to have special ears for listening to the cries of the community that surrounds it and understanding what it could actually do to make life more creature-like, more human and to nurse entitled cries into silence and contemplation.
@Adam Nice list. No, great list.