I know, I know I said I was taking a break but seriously read this if you are interested in evangelising/Gospel Order.
If reading the Bible as Story teaches us anything, and we need to emphasize this one more time, it teaches us that God's work in this world is to form communities that visibly demonstrate the power of God at work in this world.
This is explaining some stuff I've been thinking on for a while. I think the evangelical movement really have something in terms of connecting people to the God experience but there seems to be this difficulty in following through, in connecting people to the reality of the huge changes that need to happen in us to live as a community under Christ Jesus. If people are properly hooking up to God in their thousands at church why are so many still involved in violence, individualism, consumer lifestyles, carbon addiction? I guess to me the reality of the connection to the root/God can be judged by the fruits that it brings forth. If we're talking about the Kingdom I'm expecting to see the hungry fed and watered, wounds dressed, tears wiped, and all that.
I'd love to see the thousands at "Spring Harvest", "New Wine" or whatever, walking into the life of God's love. But like Scott McKnight says, that demands really effective spiritual formation, effective church community to receive the new followers of the gospel. Maybe we are not ready to offer that, maybe that's why we're not seeing the impact? That's a message I really got through Martin Kelley's writing on Quaker Ranter *about how awfully bad Quakers can be at outreach - I think you posed the question, what would have to change if Quakers were to double in numbers in the next few years? That's had a huge impact on the way I think about Quakers. What would they need to know, these new Quakers, in order to get ready to live and pass on the faith that makes a difference?
I know this comes across as critical of someone else's spiritual journey but I guess that's the place I'm at and I hope you can find some wisdom and kindness towards me in your reading. I'm hungering and thirsting for a new vintage of Christ to come pouring down, so that humans can stop being so ignorant, violent, careless and so on and accept God's tuition to learn how to live on this planet as we're meant to: in covenant community with God, each other, and the rest of creation. I can hardly see what justice and peace mean if they aren't that. I think we might have a few of the pieces but we sure are missing some to my view. There's an itch in my brain says we can solve the problem of destroying the earth's life support systems, solve global injustice at the same time, if we could just hook the evangelical program up to the kind of spiritual formation that happens if you get serious about the Quaker way in enough company to keep you cheerful some of the time. Maybe I'm barking again.
* I can't find the essay from a quick Google - can you recall, Martin Kelley or anyone else?