Finding a working definition of love, a bit less than 20 years ago, maybe, was the start of my growing up (yes, at age 45 or so). It hit like a lightning bolt, so maybe it was more like bringing Frankenstein to life.... And I think love is where it all begins and ends...
But the place I find myself at the moment is not back at that beginning, which I fully intend to loop back to in this blog, but rather thinking about how to make people's lives better.
Having been trained as a scientist, and living in a foreign country, and having heard so many stories of people hurt by or fed up with the church, I put this out shyly, tentatively, humbly. I ask that people who think the church is pointless bear with me, just for a moment. I ask that people for whom the church is everything also to bear with me. I'm thinking out loud here.
Is it possible that we could rethink "church" (and/or perhaps rename it, or "reboot" it?) and declare it to be nothing but a group of people who strive to live within a common set of principles, namely working to minimize the view of oneself as the center of the universe, and loving neighbor as yourself? How would we go about it? Is organized effort necessary? Is that where we would begin? And who is the "we" that would accomplish this rebooting?
The reason I ask is because this week, Holy Week 2012, has been packed with high-vis shucking of the traditional church. The latest is from the Bishop of Buckingham, Alan Wilson, in his blog, which then was quoted in the Guardian:
"The Church of the future may be less a civil service or conventional business, and more a movement like Alcoholics Anonymous, the ultimate locally delivered life-changing non profit. The job of the hierarchy will be to enable this, not to represent it or control it."Hmmm. a movement, locally delivered, functioning as a life-changing non-profit. Then there was the coverstory from Newsweek magazine: "Forget the church and Follow Jesus." The author, Andrew Sullivan, says increasingly people are doing as Thomas Jefferson did and literally or figuratively cutting out of their Bibles (or their faith) all the parts that don't have to do with what Jesus said and did getting back to the purist form of his doctrines: