Saturday, 30 December 2017

Joining God, Remaking Church, Changing the World

I’ve recently read Alan Roxburgh’s “Joining God, Remaking Church, Changing the World: The New Shape of the Church in our Time.” This is a small, readable book that reflects accurately where the diminishing church is today, is inspiring in how we need to discover being church in new and spiritually deeper ways, and is encouraging with practical ideas and pathways forward. Anyone reading this article knows that the church and society they once knew is no more. That realisation can be a good thing that will hopefully set you free to more deeply discern with the Spirit new ways forward as the people of God. Richard Rohr, in one of his recent daily meditations (that I would highly recommend subscribing to at, writes “The word change normally refers to new beginnings. But transformation more often happens not when something new begins but when something old falls apart. The pain of something old falling apart - disruption and chaos - invites the soul to listen at a deeper level. It invites and sometimes forces the soul to go to a new place because the old place is not working anymore.” He goes on to say “Change can either help people to find new meaning, or it can cause people to close down and turn bitter. The difference is determined by the quality of our inner life, or what we call “spirituality.” Something “old” is falling apart. We are living in a time of rapid change at every level of global civilisation. The church is going through a time of transition, some would even say “reformation.” Of this there is clearly no doubt. God is in God’s world doing what God does in ever emerging new life and the creating of new and loving connections. God’s life is in no way contained to or controlled by the “Church.” The church is a school of Love that is called to be a participant in the life of God. The Spirit is very much active and alive in our communities, but the church has fallen behind and has in many ways become disconnected to what Spirit is doing all around us. Roxburgh, Rohr, and many other modern day prophets, are calling the church, the people of God, in addition to what we are effectively and meaningfully doing in our church buildings, to connect to what the Spirit is doing “outside” of our church buildings. The remaking of the church has everything to do with deepening spiritual practice and spiritual listening, learning to discern more clearly what the Spirit is already doing outside of our church buildings in our communities, and becoming co-creators with the Spirit in the transformation of our world. The church that we once knew is dying. But God is always creating new ways forward. In Roxburgh’s words, let us “Join God in the remaking of the church and changing the world.”

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