Monday, February 13, 2006

Who's gonna win

Will it be the Catholics, the Evangelicals, the Pentecostals, the Baptists, the Presbyterians, the Methodists? Win what you may ask...

Well it strikes me all the more clearer that churches in the main are competitive structures. Like football clubs and supermarkets, churches strive to be seen as the most succesful, and thereby imitate the structures of the world.
In our little town of Dingwall this is all the more evident, often lip service is paid to working together, being churches as one, but in reality there is an air of mistrust and insecurity. Maybe it is just me, maybe they do work with each other, but I stand amazed at what we could do if we pooled our resources. The church is in decline, and yet we persist in lining our own houses whilst the Lord's house (His body) appears to be in ruins.

I wonder, do you work with anyone else...comments please


Anonymous said...

Picked this up on Bishop Tom Wright's Q & A page at

3) Is the existence of denominations an overall positive or negative for the Church? What are the benefits? What are the harmful effects? How do we proceed from where we are at today?

Overall it must be judged a flagrant disobedience to the NT's regular position that part of the point of the church is that it brings together people of the most widely differing kinds. So many denominations, not least in N America, simply reflect the ethnic and cultural origins of different parts of the population. In my country it tends to be class-driven more than ethnic, though sometimes it's both: e.g. in my diocese there are some large pockets of solid Roman Catholic adherence because in earlier generations Irish labourers were drafted in to the steel industry.
The benefits are of course that we avoid a sense of one size fitting all. But the harmful effects are wasteful duplication of effort, to look no further; the refusal to behave as the one people called from every nation, tribe and tongue; the projection of cultural preferences on to a theological screen to give 'doctrinal' legitimation to differences that don't originate there (I am NOT saying there are no doctrinal differences that matter -- there are and they do!), and so forth. I am not a relativist (I shouldn't have to say that, but I find I do!) but I really do believe that we must work together across denominational lines at everything we possibly can, whether it's feeding the poor or campaigning for global justice, and that wherever possible we should be praying together and reading the Bible together even if it's informally in twos and threes. Where possible we should share buildings, pulpits, sacraments. . . I am horribly aware of how difficult this is and how little progress my own church is making in this direction, and indeed of how easily ecumenical work gets bogged down in endless committees always sending minutes to one another, watching out for people being offended or excluded, rather than preaching and living the gospel. But occasionally there are moments of breakthrough.
I guess it comes down to this: I can't read Ephesians and collude with the way things are. And I guess the principalities and powers are very, very happy with the way things are: according to Eph 3.10, the unity of the church across barriers that have hitherto divided humankind is the sure sign to the powers that their time is up, that they are not masters of the world and that Jesus is...

paul t said...

absolutely spot on!

the 4000 yr story is God gettin us fae the 'TEMPLE' tae the TOON - Go! INTAE CREATION - so it gets transformed..

gettin the saints from the congo/sect
and seeded intae the busy spheres of a 21st c scotland-- arts, social justice, educ,health, law, govt, media--- takes 'trust' faith..

is gonna take a miracle...

creation screams in scotland loudest in europe - cos the saints are cowerin in their rabbit holes (congregations/services)- she cries oot for our awkward trembling presence there - in evry nook and cranny of this haggis land of oors

the church in uk and scotland has been hit from every angle - by movements of the Holy spirit - to PUSH us intae creation/city -
but boy do we hold back--
crying oot for revival is pointless-like Finney said - 'God is one pent up revival'it's us that dam it up -

how do we know the stuff that God poured into us - fire,people,money, property, land - is NOT getting into the land.. do the maths
then turn on the radio - visit an estate for the day.. we have the highest rates of: young male suicide, mental illness and other chronic health problems, low self worth, masochism and domestic violence in europe

congregations - the most effective cork in history. creation still screams..

every congo should carry a national health warning:
this form of christianity is highly addictive and dangerous to health-

after 25 yrs of congo/service srtyle christianity- involved in everything fae- wimber tae NOS and emergin church-- there's a growin number o us- experts in (dinnae no dee that!) in how tae nae dee it!

we're discovering- that it is entirely possible to survive in new landscape of 21st C scotland - without
wasteful, addictive, empire soaked, tired oot auld story of congrgational/sect/service/pastor

that sucks life of the saints dry - and not only ill-prepares them for challenges of a new scotland - but paralyses them in the face of it-

so a bunch of us - are (as Johnbap would say - repentin ie doin the opposite - we've gone into the muddy jordan (the city/toon/arts/music scene/social justice sphere etc..)
with oor whole bodies and lives 24-7

1. luanching oor God given dreams there - helping each other find money anbd resources to setup networks in the middle o it etc.. (gettin soaked in the ministry of HS to the city/toon-)
2. creatin new support networks ACROSS cities and regions - to hold and support the next wave of the Spirit.. so new generations won't go out to into what God has called them to in their city/toon and starve through neglect and lack of support on-site..

a national tartan urban support saint network..fae hill tae island tae toon

may the oors and the next gen - find christ AND his body in the new land..

peace and energy from father, Christ and the holy spirit - 3 in 1 and 1 in 3, around ye like a warm hoodie in the land- and in yer toon!


Free Blog Counter