Thursday, January 31, 2008

More on a Different Perspective

Frost and Hirsch continue provoking thoughts in my mind.

"Len [Sweet] told us about how he will often get Christians… to stand in a large circle around the room. He said that they always stand shoulder-to-shoulder facing inward. When he points this out, they immediately adopt the opposite stance and face outward. But, Leonard Sweet reminds them a totally outward-facing church isn't being everything a church should be. He then asks them to stand facing each other with one shoulder facing the center of the circle and the other facing out. It might seem like a small shift, but by standing in this less natural position they gain a powerful reminder of the missionary stance. It's both inward and outward looking."

Although I had read and marked this paragraph 18 months ago, I didn't remember it. I rediscovered it yesterday and it goes exactly with what I had done on Jan. 25, 2008 with the chairs facing out at morning prayer and devotion. I mentioned the need to look outward and not maintain our focus on ourselves. I also made the comment that a just outward focus was not correct either. There are times for inward focus and times for outward focus. I like Sweet's dynamic of shoulder-in and shoulder-out, facing each other to explain living and meeting needs of body (inward) and of the world (outward).

I'm also pondering another quote, but this time from Hirsch's book The Forgotten Ways.

"It is little wonder that our precommitments to the Christendom mode of church [typical Western-world church] and thinking restrict us to past successes and give us no real solutions for the future. We always seem to default to its preconceived answers. Genuine learning and development is at best a risky process, but without journey and risk there can be no progress."

We need to get outside of our religious box in at least two ways: In our methods and thoughts [new wineskins vs. old wineskins] and in regards to those we are to impact [new wine vs. old wine - ourselves vs. those that are not yet Christians]. To grow, learn and make progress we must begin to think different. We must raise the ceiling, take off the lid, shake off the chains if we're really going to make a difference.

Jesus' major difficulty was with the established religous leaders. Even among the disciples of John and his own disciples he wasn't understood in his teachings, practice of fasting, eating with sinners and undesirables, and allowing his feet to be cleaned and anointed with a very expensive and precious oil .

Jesus said, "Go into the world. Go everywhere and announce the Message of God's good news to one and all. Train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life… Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you."

Open the eyes of my heart, Lord. Transform my way of thinking. Make me a new wineskin.

Frost and Hirsch , The Shaping of Things to Come, p. 44.
Hirsch, The Forgotten Ways, p. 51.
Mark 16:16 and Matthew 28:19-20, The Message.


Tony said...

In reading your post, it came to mind that Jesus did resuscitate the old covenant, he invented a new one. Is there something in this we should pay attention to? Thoughts?


Earl said...

I will assume you meant to say, "Jesus didn't resuscitate the old covenant," and yes I do belive there is something in this invention of a new covenant we must pay attention to. In fact, he was clear, the new wine couldn't be put into old wine skins and I've got a bunch of thoughts about, new wine/wineskins and old wine/wineskins.