Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Unity (part 2)

Here's an important quote by Gene Shelburne, whose book we're planning to excerpt for our newest issue on Unity to launch Friday, January 13:
To the generations who have come after those faithful men (Restoration Movement of 200 years ago), their dream seems too small. Because their dream came true, today we are able to dream nobler dreams. Now, instead of trying to unite the squabbling heirs of a single sect of Christianity, we can dare to re-dream the dream of our father's grandfathers. We envision a day when all those who honor Christ--"all the Christians in every sect"--will unite to serve him and to praise him, and we strive with all that is within us to realize this noble dream.--Gene Shelburne in The Quest for Unity: An Appeal for oneness among all believers
I want to say here that as we work on this issue, we are helping stretch the world view of a movement of people who are having unity meetings this year--some of which I'm a part--that will celebrate and encourage unity within a fellowship of Churches of Christ and Christian Churches, but Wineskins wants to take the conversation further, and Gene Shelburne is one of those who has stepped out into that wider conversation on unity of all believers in Christ, not only those who have similar Christian practices.

We're working right now on dozens of articles and anticipate that these will spark great discussion and thought in our readership. So we're moving forward with discovering and publishing articles by those with imaginations for, and who are practicing in, a world that is truly unified not in some ethereal way alone but in earthly, real, and truly lived out in families, between races, among Christians with different doctrines and practices, in neighborhoods, and as much in eye to eye contact as in nation to nation relations.


Fajita said...

The next generation, what's left of the Churches of Christ, will look back to this time and this issue as the tipping point in our fellowhsip. I really believe that.

Right now in 100's and 100's of congregations in the C of C, there is a growing swell of people who are patient, loving, and kind, but are so much champing at the bit for change that no longer looks in on itself, but looks out. People are hungry for mission, but have no models for it, they are hungry for spiritual depth, but have only been exposed to trivia, people who long for a real and deep ecclesiology, not surface sameness.

These patient masses will hit critical mass at some point and the change will happen quickly, but not nearly as painfully as we fear.

OK, so I sound kind of Nostradomus-like here, but I really believe the time has come.

Deb said...
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Deb said...

Along these lines of becoming 'unified', whether with Christians of similar traditions who come from the same Stone-Campbell bloodlines, or with those within the broader ecumenical community of Believers, why do Churches of Christ and universities associated with this sect, or movement, of American Christianity support so readily the concept of 'church planting'? This seems to be more popular with those MDiv and Missions-orientated students who are studied and trained below the Mason-Dixon line, with their sights set on 'getting it right' in churches that exist (or don't) outside of America’s Bible Belt.

Why can't these students and their families, if they must live outside the Bible Belt, trust that God's power is greater than any name on a church's marquee? Why can't they just move to one of these areas they feel 'called' to and trust God to lead them to a church which God has been at work in for years and where godly people already reside and serve in Christ’s name? Why must there be such a conviction to stamp the Stone-Campbell principles of method and application on a body of believers in areas where God has created the culture and traditions outside of paradigms that might work (or not) only within the confines and cultures of the Bible Belt? Wouldn’t it be more productive and Christ-like to move into an area, get to know and love these people and their culture without vetting their faith first? Use all that seminarian scholarship to build up and encourage, not descend and take over the area like gangbusters.

Church planting just seems to be another American method of packaging God in a box. How does this help ‘unify’ anything?