The church in deep church...


Paul writes...I got some +ive feedback from someone who read this site last week which was good to hear. The only slight problem, my encourager suggested, was that this site is deep in the sense of being hard to understand and made him feel a bit on the thick side. I agree, sometimes I have no clue what that Clark is going on about, lol.

Sometimes this site will err on the technical theological/sociological/any-other-"ical" but the deep in deep church is not meant to be dense. The deep is meant to be about connecting us into the wider traditions of the universal catholic church, appreciating 2,000+ yrs of thinking and practice and letting that inform our own today. We all draw from a deep well that is the source of our faith as well as inspiration for us practicing following Jesus today. Or, perhaps, as T.S. Elliot put it:

"Time present and time past Are both perhaps present in time future, And time future contained in time past."

So that's the deep part but what about the church part of deep church? Well it's our belief that the church is the community/family/people of God that gathers together and then disperses, gathers and disperses. Like breathing in or out. Like blood being pumped through the heart. Like waves lapping on the shore.

In short we believe that we cannot fully follow Jesus outside of participating in this concrete community of Christ, embracing its moments of wonder and reflected glory as well as all its flaws, imperfections and problems.

Or to put it another way: the little old lady, in the picture that accompanies this post, in her institutional church tradition, who has lived a life of trying to follow Jesus is just as much as part of the family of God as I am. That she is just as likely to find Jesus sitting next to her in the pew in her church as I am in mine. We both have a shared faith in Jesus and we have something profound to offer each other in our diversity.

Tomorrow I want to write about those pains we feel from being involved in church. What can i diagnose from those symptoms of discontent about my own condition of broken humanity? How does the grace of God working through the church act to treat my condition and what are those side effects?

Today though I just want to end with a pause, to reflect on all those great moments of the full life of God that have burst into mine (and yours) through church. For...

the laughter shakes the tears shed the friends found the frustrations caused

the profound pains the healing process the shared journey the hands dirty

the crap caused the congratulations received the love found and love given away.

Jesus in our midst the miracle of unity in all of our diversity sometimes

[Feel free to add your own]...