I’ve been doing a lot of reflexive thinking about why I’m involved with more than one form of church. I knew it was always congruent with my view of God’s people but my own reasons were a mystery to me.
This morning I stumbled across a great quote from within Brian McLaren’s book “The Last Word and The Word After That” which just nails it for me. I almost let out an audible “Yessss” (You have to see Napoleon Dynamite) when I read the following.
“Deep ecclesiology for us means that we honor the church in all its forms, from the most historic and hierarchical forms of church – Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox – through he middle range of more congregational or local Protestant churches to the low rang of storefront and house churches and even below that….There are very ephemeral forms of church.”
I value the church in all its forms even if I’m partial to the more ephemeral forms of church. I believe that the more ephemeral forms of Church co-exist within all the forms of church but are not localized within them.
This is why I can be part of an institutional and a home church. Within human relationships, I see the same dynamic and ephemeral church which I think of as the Spirit of the church.
This ephemeral church centers on the interrelationship of people and therefore ebbs and flows as all human relationships do. It rises within one group for a season, grows, flourishes, and then dies back only to re-emerge within other relational groupings within the church form.
As a whole, the ephemeral church continues to flourish much like the seasonal cycle of a flower. Its beauty arises in its time then vanishes only to reappear next season. When a church form has its subset of ephemeral churches, there is health and growth.
Church is ephemeral regardless of the form/soil it is planted in. When a church looses this ephemeral dynamic, it becomes desolate, sterile and lacks the vibrant life it once had. People know that they have lost something but can’t place their finger on what they lost.
I need to think about this some more so I’ll end here. For NOW.