Friday, July 2, 2010

RevGalBlogPals Friday Five: Hopeful Church Edition

Sally posted this week's Friday Five that included a beautiful statement made by Eunice Attwood, Vice President of the British Methodist Conference, that I will include at the end of this post. Sally's question to us is:

What kind of church do you want to be a part of in the 21st century?

It is the kind of open-minded, dreamer question that makes us preacher-types drool. It is also incredibly timely as so many denominations - mine included - are either gathering or have recently gathered in large bodies to debate Big, Serious Topics. The PCUSA has gathered to worship and debate (among other topics) a Middle East report, Civil Unions, Forms of Government and the Belhar Confession. And yet we wonder why so few ages 50 and younger care about being a part of this?

The danger is I could get pretty deep into cynicism here, but instead I am just going to list the five that come off the top of my head.

I want to be a part of a church that....
1) Puts more focus on worship than debate...
2) Errs on the side of grace....
3) Fights against the sinful, arrogant desire to protect God...
4) Chooses to remember that buildings are buildings, people are the church...
5) Loves...

Here is all of that said better:
I want to be part of a church that is prayer-filled -
A church that is resourced and sustained by the Bible,
A church that can offer hope even in a credit crunch,
A church that can live well with difference and diversity.

I want to be part of a church that welcomes the wealthy, those who have power and influence -
A church that knows how to party and celebrate life,
A church that acknowledges death and speaks boldly of resurrection,
A church that doesn’t pretend to have all the answers but encourages all the questions.

I want to be part of a church that throws parties for prostitutes -
A church that welcomes those who seek asylum,
A church that longs and yearns for justice,
A church that listens to those no-one else wants to listen to.

I want to be part of a church that believes in transformation not preservation -
A church where all who are lost can be found,
A church where people can discover friendship,
A church where every person takes responsibility in sharing the good news.

I want to be part of a church whose hope is placed securely and confidently in the transforming love of God -
A church that engages faith in its communities,
A church that makes and nurtures disciples of Jesus.

A church where the story of God’s love is at the centre.
I want to be part of a church that offers outrageous grace, reckless generosity, transforming love and engaging faith.
This is God’s story Transforming Love: Engaging Faith.

My prayer is that by the power of the Spirit of God at work amongst us, it will increasingly be our story.


Diane said...

your list, and the other list, both good. I like especially "errs on the side of grace."

Wendy said...

I'm with Diane: "errs on the side of grace." Yes!

Sally said...

excellent list- I too like your errs on the side of grace :-)