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Tuesday, September 18, 2007


That Hideous Man


Wood Street Girl


simon jones

here's a couple of thoughts:


Simon - Thanks for your thoughts. I'd like to hear more of your thoughts on anonymous.


WSG - ah...community..but what do we (you) mean by that?


THM - authenticity...good choice. Do you see this as being related to a more holistic spirituality?


persecution complex??? ;)

That Hideous Man

Yes, I think so, in that now that the church cannot claim to control, or interpret our culture (in the kind of christendom/power way you suggested)- it needs to be an authentic witness 'to' that culture. This has to be holistic, because an 'authentic proclamation' might once have made sense to a culture whose basic story was 'christian'. But in order to be authentic now, such proclamation must encompass a community life which tells a different story to the secular-consumerist-relativist-cynical-hopeless norm.

I was moved by something that Stuart Blythe said when he was preaching at my church in the Spring:

“The challenge for the church is not to produce better publicity…… but to close the credibility gap between what we claim to believe and how we live our lives"

Authenticity then must encompass life, not compartmentalise; must acknowledge doubts and fears as well as faith and hope, must be willing to be cultural in as much as accurately developing the intersections between the story of Christ and our friends and neighbours lives; but also authentically counter-cultural in aspects of faith, ethics and lifestyle which Christian faith demands.

Integrity means doing all this with honesty about our success and failures; while a geniune belief in God's radical grace means that we don't have to pretend to be anything that we are not.

Peter Foster

Connection ?

Wood Street Man

Is the answer Jesus? ;-)



Peter - thankd for de-lurcking and posting a comment


WSM - ah, but what does it mean to be Christ-like?


THM- thanks for your thoughts on authenticity.


I am not sure of my answer yet Brodie, I will mull it over and get back to you.

I am very interested in why you think that in a Post-Christendom world we should revert to a "Christianity which operates from an early church mindset."

Graeme Clark

I think I would use the word 'relational' to reflect the use of the inclusive plural 'believers','saints', 'brothers/sisters' as descriptors of the community and the intimacy/hospitality dynamic of the family home setting and eucharist celebration.

It also, in this understanding, would fit nicely as contra 'power' as used in slide one.

Is there a prize for the one you use???


you suggest..."from an early church mindset".....



Glenn - It was the best phrase I could come up with! I guess it's part of the problem of using power point in that things can get reduced to sound bites.

I'm not advocating a return to an early church mindset but a learning from this midset. So I would in part be picking up on the Hirsh idea of "forgotten ways". Also I think that postmodernity has more in common with premodernity than modernity thus there are perhaps tools for how to interact with socity in early church that the contempoary church in the west could benifit from. That said we carry the baggage of history that the early church did not and for the early church is was perhaps easier to identify what "empire" was than it is for us now (?).Trust this lets you into my thinking a little.


Graeme - thanks for your comment and no there is no prize for the one I use, if i use any that is!


Lynn - let me be controversial (in that you might disagree with me) and suggest that breaking down the socio-economic- ethnic barriers was more key in the early church (i.e. 30 - 270 ish CE) than intergenerational. For sure this may have been part of it but it was part of a wider move rather than a key characteristic. Perhaps this all comes under "subversive"?




Brodie, Thanks for that, I agree that Hirsch is on to something in Forgotten Ways and also that we are now carrying the baggage of modernity, as we journey into post-modernity.

I wonder if the word(s) we need to show the key characteristic of the church in our post-christendom is humilty. A living out of the early church "hymn" of Philippians 2.

Taking the position of serving culture rather than ruling it, a position of simple obedience to God as opposed to merely shouting about him, ultimately of choosing to "empty ourselves" of ourselves for the sake of others.


Hey Brodie, I don't disagree with you.
I thought of intergenerational because there would have been no creche/kids programmes/yoof services etc etc



Hey Brodie, re: your new photograph.
Quotes from one of my all time favourite films comes to mind "So I Married An Axe Murdered":

Look at the size of that boy's heed.
I'm not kidding, it's like an orange on a toothpick.
That's a huge noggin. That's a virtual planetoid.
Has it's own weather system.
That boy's head is like Sputnik; spherical but quite pointy at parts! Now that was offsides, wasn't it? He'll be crying himself to sleep tonight, on his huge pillow.


I really appreciate what Graeme wrote when he used the term 'relational.' I'm no cynic, but I think the word 'community' has run its course as a general term used for Christian togetherness. In 50 years time, the post-modern, post-Christian, post-post-whatever generation of that time will look back on this era as the time Christians worshiped at the alter of 'Community' as a self-serving clique that promotes sameness.

Most comments have covered what I would contribute, though I would add 'fundamental,' as in, focused on the fundamentals of our faith: Scripture, prayer, discipleship and mission -- as a collective, as in Acts 2.

I'd also like to champion 'authentic.' I think the world needs to see our authentic selves - flawed, human, hopeful.



Power to live.
Power to die.
Power to love.
Power to lay down your life for others.

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