Friday, May 1, 2009

More on Relationships - Movement towards Depth?

Brian made a comment recently voicing concern over the apparent lack of depth often seen in Christian relationships. Here's a sample:
I'm not so sure many people inside church buildings or w/n the crumbling Corpus Christianum know much about relationship as commitment or that relationship entails an ethos of sacrifice. It seems that many Christians opt toward relationship as mere convenience rather than as an expression of faith; buying into the cheapened notion that love is merely a feeling & not much else beyond that. Many Christians have not yet learned to love into relationships when it is inconvenient to them.
I have to say I share that concern, especially because the struggle for substantive relationships seems so deeply rooted in the hyper-individualism that is so characteristic of our age and culture.

With that in mind, you can see why this quote from Phyllis Tickle caught my attention in an e-mail this morning:
"I don't think anybody knows exactly where the Great Emergence is going, much less where the Christianity, emerging/emergent, coming out of it is going to go exactly, but there are some contours that are clearly visible right now and can be described. ... It is definitely communal, even to point that about a quarter of it is probably engaged in a form of monasticism."
I certainly don't see monasticism emerging as the dominant form of Christian life. But I'm sure that the impulse that's driving that expression to grow these days - a hunger for and willingness to pursue substantive relationships - is being felt by many more than just the ones acting on it in that way. So that's encouraging. And there are people at work to nurture that impulse and help others act on it. Karen Sloan is one example. You can watch a video of her discussing it here on TheOozeTV.

What are others seeing in terms of greater dissatisfaction in the Church with "thin" relationships and a willingness to explore ways to find depth again?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Depth simply begins and ends with our Bible based discussions and prayers.

Jesus asked Peter three times, Do you love me? Jesus followed up with 3 loving commands, "then..." It seems individual love and relationship transformation may preceed or follow group love and group transformation. Jesus and the Holy Spirit pick the time and place. Having a safe place to share is the foundation of healthy family, workplace, and church lives. We long for mentors who can authenticaly provide the elements of shared wisdom, experiance, and confidentiality in and environement of forward looking action.

Stephen and his six co-kingdom workers in Acts 6 were called to a specific "ethos of sacrifice" that arguably might be considered today an inner city food and health-care program, or perhaps a more carefully phrased "special needs community focused house-church".

I grow weary with the symantics, but as I read this series of posts I am encouraged that you may also be "from among you who are full of the Spirit and wisdom" but also arguably NOT separate or that different, except by call, from the church growth focused disciples doing Acts 6 "Ministry of the Word". Likewise, there is also room for encouraging and tapping the common shared resources via major denominations or larger churches.

Please consider us hyper-individualists as the new Samaritans, and please do continue to pray that the "Ministry of The Word" reaches us proverbial tax collectors, prostitutes, 5X divorcees, rich men, military captains, and pharisees as our toiling under the sun increases our thirst and appreciation for life giving water.

Our age and culture has only laid bare on the internet and through our morality-free education systems what has always existed...and exemplified by the temptation of Christ.

I have enjoyed the bibilically based writings of Thomas Merton as a means to test the purity of my own Christian thoughts, gifts and actions. If we could only channel and discipline the desire for Monasticism, (renouncing worldly persuits in order to fully devote ones life to to spiritual work) and still make the mortgage and car payments...a sadly oxy moronic statement to be sure!

So mostly I see people investing their time and relationships in the workplace and coming home exhausted and disappointed when it comes to an end, and other relationships I think much of our calling falsely comes from just a basic urge to reboot and re-load the hard-drive, when we really need to be prayed into rebooting our Jesus-drive.

JB from CG