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Showing posts from November, 2011

Serving God, Mammon, the "Extreme" Middle

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Joerg Rieger, the Wendland-Cook Professor of Constructive Theology at Perkins School of Theology, has written a brief but very needed volume published earlier this year entitled Grace Under Pressure: Negotiating the Heart of the Methodist Traditions. The book provides a corrective and critique of the mainline, traditional understanding of Wesley and primitive Methodism as a kind of middle ground.
We meet God at the bottom. Rieger asserts his self-critical principle early on and it comes from Mr. Wesley himself, in 1764: "Religion must not go from the greatest to the least, or the power would appear to be of men." In 1783, Wesley states it again: "'They shall all know me,' saith the Lord, not from the greatest to the least (this is that wisdom of the world which is foolishness with God) but 'from the least to the greatest,' that the praise may not be of men, but of God.'"

In the pressures of post colonialism, there is no "middle ground." …

The Church of Lucy and Ethel

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"So we feed the ecclesiastic furnaces our burned-out wrecks: tired leaders, disillusioned ministers, fatigued congregations- marshaling them to dance longer, march faster, pray harder, cry louder in earnest for God to come...We must be brave enough to stop if we are to see change... Our structures must serve us, not us serve them." Kester Brewin, Signs of Emergence



The signs of the industrial/factory church of the last century:
Strategies are tied to organizational control, market share, and the efficiency model.
Better metrics or measurements provides an improved Body of Christ.
Spirituality is nothing by itself, but is one variable among many.
There is no such thing as "overflowing cups," as these are a dangerous waste of scarce reserves.
Motivation is fear-based- since we engage ministry in order to survive.
Heavy emphasis on explanatory process of statistical and trends analysis.
Vision is connected with deficiencies and needs, not gifts, strengths, or abundance.