This is one of the movements i am most inspired by. Can I recommend emergingchurch.info and also blogs by andrew jones and a friend of mine si johnson as starting points.
It is a movement shaped within postmodernity, reimagining church incarnate in the 21st century. There are many overlaps between emerging church and what we are up to at COTC
however as ever when it comes to movements i tend to rather exist on the margins (it is a personality thing).
One of the things which defines church on the corner which is different from many emerging churches, is that we deliberately exist within the anglican church, valuing much of the tradition and cultural heritage that anglicanism brings us, but doing church in a way which is intended to be prophetic both within that tradition and in the cultural milieu of London.
If there is a critisism I have of some emergent christianity it is the rearranging deckchairs on the titanic one. It sometimes seems to be about cosmetic change in church practice rather than systemic change in the hearts and minds of the people who form church communities.
I am really grateful for the work of those pioneering new models of church and worship outside the structures of establish church, and i hope we can support and learn from what they are doing.
I have had some good chats at tinderbox with people in the last week or so, and one of the themes that has struck me is that of ownership.
there is a heirarchy in most churches based on theological punching power, the more bible knowledge, the more coherent in their orthodoxy the greater status and respect.
This creates an environment where creatives and right brainers are made to feel less significant or spiritual, where as the reality is that the qualities they bring are crutial to our attempts to reimagine church. I want to grant ownership as much to these creatives as to those who feel comfortable in a church environment. I want these people to shape who we are and how we exist as church as much as the theologians and lefts brainers among us.
Here is our first attempt to do so
1 Corinthians 14.
The essense of prophesy is knowing God and communicating that with others, not in second hand words, but through our own encounter with the living God.
It can be what we say and the way we live. We need to be a prophetic church, hearing and knowing God and sharing that with each other and with those outside.
Prophesy reflects the character of God, it is his spirit that brings life and truth. Prophesy is a gift of God, the ability to communicate his truth in words that people can understand.
Prophesy also requires work:
Over there on the side bar I have added links to the CofE’s orders of Morning prayer, evening prayer and night prayer
I know that for many of you the idea of liturgy is a major turn off, but I have come to really appreciate these patterns of worship. The great strength of liturgy is its greater perspective of God; it is beyond our own often limited thinking. I find prayer so often dominted by whatever is going round my brain at the time, I obsess on my own stuff when I know I should be worshipping, interceding and so on.
The depth and beauty of the language, the rich biblical and historical tradition lift me beyond myself and give me the peace that comes from seeing God as he really is, and seeing my small but significant place in his creation.
Practically I find it best to actually speak out the words and the readings, and in the pray for maybe three specific things in the part set aside for intercession. The links update each day, so you always get the set readings for that day. Sometimes there is a prayer by Saint somebody or other that confuses me, but other than that it is really good. Reading chunks of the Old testament systematically is really good too. I tend to only do one of these a day, whichever is appropriate. Try it – you may hate it, or it may really work for you.
‘And now I will show you the most excellent way.’
In time of crisis, at a time when religion is hijacked for evil purposes we need to remember the essense of Christianity. 1 Cor 13 feels like such an appropriate passage to be looking at in the light of last weeks bombings.
When religion goes wrong, as it so often does, this essense which often seems so trite, a pop song cliche, ‘all you need is love’ but this is the essense we rediscover.
Love subverts the whole heirarchy of evil, corruption, violence and retribution. It defines God, and it should define the church.
The way of Jesus is the way of love. Other centred, self sacrificing, turning the other cheek, forgiving, welcoming, generous, fighting opression and the things that enslave.
This is Gods call on our church.
Now it gets personal. Preaching on the most controversial theological issue would be nothing compared to the potential pastoral fallout from getting wrong a sermon on 1 Corinthians 7 – Sex & singleness
What relative value do we place between orthodoxy and unity. As protestants we are defined by division, and it is hard to comprehend a call to put unity at the highest priority. 1 Corinthians 3:1-11 – Schism
We worried about the title of this sermon, that it might be in some way disrespectful, but in the end I felt it conveyed the shocking nature of the subversion of human wisdom that the passage communicates. 1 Corinthians 1:18-25 – The madness of God
The opening sermon in our new series on Pauls first letter to the church in Corinth; an insight into a raw and passionate young church struggling to live as the people of God in a pagan culture. It pulls no punches, and says things we need to hear, as we like them struggle to be Gods people in our city. 1 Corinthians 1v1-9 – Master plan
Well done everybody who took part in our minimum wage challenge. It was hard work, and I think the thing we learned most of all is how much money we actually need to sustain the lifestyle that we consider normal. It will be a relief to go back to Starbucks and not feel guilty (or no more guilty than usual) and to be able to buy a round in the pub.
I have no idea where my money went. I really haven’t. Looked in my wallet to buy a drink last night, and I was out. I must have spent a few quid celebrating Liverpool beating Bayer Laverkusen, but that does not account for the whole £50 I got out on Monday morning. Meetings all week, I guess I have bought lunch & tea out a few times, and maybe I bought people drinks too.
Bit of a shock though – just when I though this challenge was getting easier. I stopped thinking about what I was doing, and I have spent my £50 in three days.
We were talking about how we tend to be a bit delusional about how much money we actually spend, and imagine it is considerably less than it actually is. We forget to include the things we stick on the card, the one off things like shoes or clothes which actually come up far more than we imagine.
Actually I have just remembered a big chunk of cash has gone on food – had people round, no time to cook properly, got pizza in. Duh. Can’t do that on this budget. Still that is only part of the problem. Generally not thinking what I am doing is the major issue.
No cash for my day off tomorrow. Sounds like fun!
Its okay to fail. We said this at the beginning, but it is important to say it again now. This is not like new years resolutions, break it once and it is over. We fail, we start over.
I was chatting to one of the lent challengers last night and they were looking a bit bashful. They had broken their glasses, and were completely stuck, so had to buy a new pair, which obviously completely blew their budget. Then there is me. I drove up to North Wales for 36 hours at the end of last week. I just needed some space and air. Two beautiful winter mountain days, but the petrol alone cost me £50. Up till that point it had been a very frugal week…
I think part of this challenge is not in the succeeding, but in the failing, in realising how much we do fall short. Realising all the things which are blessings rather than a right, recognising the ways in which God does give us our daily bread, and much more. Essentially it is a gospel truth, that we are followers of Jesus because we fail, not because we succeed.
Acts 2:44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as they had need.
I have been really convicted about the whole generosity thing in the last few weeks – not just with money, but with time & love. It is costly, and draining, but it is closer to the heart of the character of God than I can know.
Thank you to all of you who responded so generously to the need of a member of our church. It is not nessecarily wise or good stewardship, but by the grace of God it is one of the thing he will use to start to bring change into a long term crisis.
Please be generous with your prayers too.
I think steve is right – that this is getting easier. “I’ve come in well under budget and it didn’t seem a particular sacrifice.” I say that, with another admission of failure to come, but shifting your expectations does seem to work.
Living more simply, not expecting to go out so often, allowing others to be generous towards you – these things do not come easily, but they are valuable.
My slight misdemenor was on Friday, my day off, when I went for a walk in the afternoon, feeling a bit sorry for myself after having to work that morning, and wandered past snow & rock in covent garden. The 40% off sale sticker in the window was the thing that drew me in…
One of the shifts in perspective that this Lent thing has done is to spark my longing for the mountains – spring on the horizon might be something to do with it too, but gear at discount is a temptation too far. So i was led astray by climbing equipment. It went on my credit card, so I won’t pay it till after easter… no excuse I know.
But apart from that some good things. Ang and I sitting down for a chat, watching tv together, doing the washing up. All seem like nice, normal things to do, when in most weeks they just don’t happen very much.
Interesting that the Lent challenge is challenging us to more than living on less.
To Quote Garmon “Hmm, God really isn’t going to be let this purely be a game or an interesting academic exercise. I would like not just to get by on £50 a week but also to try and live the experience more.”
I want to get to grips with the purpose behind Jesus teaching on simplicity & money. Its purpose is surely bring liberty and peace “You are truly blessed because you do not have the cares of this world”. To allow us to live for Gods Kingdom, instead of the cares of this world, and to discover the fulness of life that comes from relationship with God. It is the manna principle – that God provides for the daily needs of the birds, and how much more does he care for us, so stop worrying about those things.
Perhaps the main reason for our lack of real intimacy & knowledge of God is our lukewarm attitude to possessions and wealth.
What can we do to better live the simple life, and find real life?
£10 in my pocket
Well not sure what happened, but it is Friday night, and I have still got £10 in my pocket to last until Sunday. I have been a bit ill this week, just an annoying cough & cold, so rather easier to just lay low. Doesn’t feel like such a bad week though, my Starbuck quota was not particularly low but I guess I haven’t been to the pub much. Wierd that saving money comes down to coffee & beer – two of the most common Lent sacrifices for people. Visiting my folks today, means a low cost day off. And little chance of clubbing in Wokingham, so should be a cheap evening too.
Following Jesus in the Urban Desert
A day in the life… by James Mortley
The third bus is full to the gunnels again, it’s 8.37 and I am not sure I going to make it to work on time, taxi goes by with a light on, but the woman ahead in the sharp suit steps in quicker. i missed my alarm again… agitated start to the day… trying to stem the frustration at indiscipline within. Ken why can’t you sort the buses?
In the city, the streets team with grey and black as people hurry their way to offices the Bank Of England towers over us reminding us of a former age of magnificent wealth… the mercedes show room on King William street… Clinton cards has cheap red ballons for valentines day… the smiles from the starbucks sellers… cafe latte… the grins of the security guards at the front desk… 6th floor and the long walk across the floor to my desk with Tony and Lisa at the end… black screen springs to life for another day of staring at the monitor… morning… chat… croissant… order lunch… emails… legal agreements… numbers… banter… complaints…. chicken curry… a treat… bbc website for the latest football news… afternoon and the more of the same… sunset over Southwark cathedral but the blinds are closed, so take a walk… afternoon cafeine… 5.30… the journey home… it’s raining… my feet slide on the pavement… people slipping away in the shadows to their homes… bus is on time… lights on the Gherkin… Old street roundabout… short walk past the northgate pub… the alsation is quiet tonight… no one is home at Oakley yet.
Where do I see God or meet him in the day that goes by? What do I see of Him in the world around me that inspires me or gives an image of relationship with Him, either absence, presence, joy etc? Lent is a time of reflection and drawing closer to God in preparation for Easter coming. Jesus spent 40 days in the desert: lonely, frustrated, tempted, hungry, thirsty and tested, battered by the elements, tested in his identity as the Son of God.
The city with its many pressures and voices of desire and persuasion can have a similar impact on our lives, deceiving and distorting our grip on eternal realities, of who we are in Christ.
if you call your Dad he could stop it all
New week, new beginning. I am not going to beat myself up about last week – guilt isn’t the point of this, though I do feel bad about it. If there is one sense I am realising it is the sense of limited opportunities that I have on this budget. I have to live in a much smaller world, doing less, staying in more, thinking smaller. But I guess like the greek girl in Common people, I will never know how this really feels, because I could always call my Dad/bank manager and make it stop.
Lots of people at church seem to be struggling already. The major issues seem not to be the general expenditure, but the regular luxuries. We seem to spend to get us through the tough days, we throw money at problems. Not being able to be indulgent towards ourselves and others is hard. I don’t think I realise how much money I spend doing this.
Katie said last week that the 40 days of lent is measured as 6 weeks minus the sundays… I think I understand why now. So today is officially not Lent. Just 24 hours not to have to think about money stuff is a relief. I know this kinda blows out the whole solidarity thing…
Sophia’s birthday at the Roxy was great fun, even if some questions need to be asked about the music. However I have now blown my entire weeks money, and it is only Saturday. I did try to work it – walked down, got there before 8.30 to get in free, but beer at over £3 a go… well anyway. Not sure what happens now… maybe I can take a bit out of next weeks?