The Forgotten Ways, Part 8

It's hard to imagine a few weeks ago when I sat down with my friend Doug at the Bean and he encouraged me to read Allelon.org's blogs about the missional church that it would have led to a month of thinking more deeply about what it means to be the church.  The next day I walked into the library at Michigan Theological Seminary and grabbed a little book called The Forgotten Ways.  This is post eight, the last chapter of the book: Communitas, not Community.I think that the opening quote from Paulo Coelho is best summary of the chapter where he says, "The ship is safest when it is in port. But that's not what ships were made for."The quote says it all.  In recent times there has been an emphasis on "community".  This emphasis has always highlighted the church being a safe place, a retreat from the world.  The metaphor of a hospital has been used.  The community was...
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The Forgotten Ways, Part 7

As I sit here at home I have just finished the book! So we are on the home stretch with only a couple of posts on The Forgotten Ways remain. This chapter was one that I was not particularly looking forward to.  As a result it took a while to chew through it.  However, it turns out that "Organic Systems" are actually pretty cool things!  Who knew?I think that the best way to understand the concept of "Organic Systems" in Hirsch's mindset is to think about a spiderweb.  The whole web is connected to itself.  There are multiple nodes and lines.  The whole thing is interconnected.  This is what an organic system is all about.Consider our body.  There are multiple little systems like the nervous system, skeletal system, or epidermal system, but each one by itself does not a body make.  They all come together and create a body. This is what the church ought to look like.The church, Hirsch...
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The Forgotten Ways, Part 6

If the church is going to become this embodiment of Jesus in a communal way then there is a foundational issue that must be dealt with. That is our conception of what it means to lead. How do we lead if we have set aside the corporate and the coercive models of power?Hirsch argues that there is a change in the leadership environment of the church. This means that there must be an embracing of what he calls "Apostolic Leadership". This kind of leadership he argues is one of function and not office. The concept of leadership as being function and not office is a big deal in the tradition that I come out of. Offices are critical to the leadership of the church in my tradition, those of Elder and Deacon.To move our leadership beyond these offices is not something that can be taken lightly. However, this idea of function means quite simply that...
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The Forgotten Ways, Part 5

Part five is upon us! The Missional Incarnational Impulse. What the heck does that mean? This is another chapter where Hirsch makes it pretty clear that he must define his term in the negative, what I mean is that, a positive declaration of "missional-incarnational impulse" is difficult in and of itself to define, therefore, you have to state what it is not to bring clarity to what it is!Missional-incarnational impulse is basically the opposite of the attractional model of the church. What is the attractional model, you ask? Well, it is the idea that we are to draw people into the church building by providing the best, most exciting, and most relevant programming that we can possibly fathom. I think the best way to illustrate the attractional model of the church is from Field of Dreams, "If you build it, they will come."The opposite of this is the concept of mission. What do you think...
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The Forgotten Ways, Part 4

The Heart of It All - Jesus is Lord. So, now what? The first main principle that Hirsch lays out is that of disciple making. The development of disciples has taken on a new cool twist recently with all the emphasis on the Jewish life and what a Rabbi really is and therefore what it means to be a disciple. Hirsch steps in a provides a clear, succinct, and challenging picture of what discipleship is all about. How important is discipleship? Hirsch argues, "if we fail at this point then we must fail in all the others."So what is discipleship? It is the embedding of mDNA into other people. It is that process by which men and women follow Jesus are built into people who can reproduce their lives into others. This is God's plan for sending his message all over the world. And it as Hirsch puts it, "it worked."Discipleship has taken on...
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