The Church in Winter


The 'modern age' assumed that we could control, predict and pressure into conformity all that we wanted to be and to do, pressing foward as we have been toward preferred outcomes for the life, measure and fruitfulness of the Church. Even 'purpose-driven' thinking, at least in my view, betrays a world-view (mostly from the West) that is still in captivity to this modern consensus of progress - as long as we work hard having found the right things, the right technique, the right resources to marshall towards victory. But emergence comes from evolution - from a long time of faithful obedience in the same direction. And the direction comes from a Word for our day and time that probably we have not yet heard. 

Kester Brewin writes in The Complex Christ: Signs of Emergence in the Urban Church - "Somewhere between the freedom of being able to do nothing, and the patience of having to do something, is the sort of mysterious waiting of the saints and the prophets - a combination of catharsis and contemplation, of clearing the decks for the new, while being content to exist in unknowing. As we wait for the Kingdom to break through again now, we are not called to inaction, to do nothing but lie back and wait for glory. But neither are we called to frenzied activity, which will leave no space for newness to be sown and grow. We must have the courage to stop. To prepare the ground for the new, and wait."

Living on the margins (liminality), living faithfully, doing what we can with what our hands find to do, living in hope and knowing we yet have a future, we wait. This is a period of a long 'advent time' for the Church, beyond the normal Advent Season of the Church Year that precedes the feast of Christmas. A new incarnation, a new manifestation of the Word in the 'flesh' of new and transformed churches is yet to come. 



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