Thursday, May 26, 2005

Addendum to Initial Installments

As I think about two of the ideas I've put forth:
1) The type of change I am discussing must be an instantaneous leap to a new paradigm and not incremental progression,
2) Those jumping to the new paradigm exist as an open community among others,
I believe these aspects are seen in the Jerusalem church.

Peter describes the leap to a new world in his call for separation for the corrupt generation and submission to the name of Jesus . . . accepting completely the one who'd been rejected profoundly. The fact that those making this jump were distinct is seen in the statement that "no one else dared join them" (Acts 5:13). The paradoxical verse which follows says "more and more . . . were added to their number." To me it is language that decries any incrementalism: a little in and a little not. People didn't come gradually . . . they either were living there or they weren't.

And yet this distinct group which had leapt to acceptance of Jesus as the messiah still lived daily in the temple, among those who'd not made that jump. Everywhere, they continued in the synagogues. They spoke about new realities with a welcoming posture to anyone willing to begin living in the Kingdom.

Their story seems to me to illustrate how revival takes place. In essence, they were participating in a revival of Jewish faith. Avoiding the tired controversies of "saved" and "not saved" we can envision a revival in Christian congregations through reinvigorated faith, self-understanding, and action in similar terms. A new vigorous community erupts through God's Spirit among what has become stale. This is not about judgemental statements against those (like myself) who've been caught up in fossilized religion. The new community emerges abruptly, and is anything but exclusive. It is distinct and simultaneously inclusive.

In a similar fashion, a new Christian faith emerges within old communities, not to be iconoclastic, but to be inviting and hopeful.

Tibi gloria, Domine!

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