Structures are Theological Statements

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Structures are theological statements. If our structures mirror “the way of the world,” they will shape us powerfully and unknowingly.  Structures must be developed with the theological intent to be a sign of God’s coming Kingdom.  I’m not saying that we are unable to learn from organizational dynamics in other fields of study.  But we must scrutinize our methods, realizing that the means are just as important as the ends, for the means shape us to a particular end.  It has been said that Christianity started out in Palestine as a fellowship, moved to Greece and became a philosophy, went to Rome and became an institution, spread to Europe and became a government, and finally crossed the Atlantic where it became and enterprise.  What will it take for us to return to fellowship?

JR Woodward, “Creating a Missional Culture,” page 94.

Often our structures were put in place for life giving reasons.  Yet things change.  Often as things change, or as people become more and more grounded in God’s movement in a particular time and place, structures can become a hindrance to activity if they are solely anchored in the past.  Structures end up becoming fused with tradition just because ‘that is always the way things have been done.’  Part of missional activity becomes ‘scrutinizing our methods and realizing that the means are just as important as the ends, for the means shape us to a particular end.’ 

The unfortunate reality is, that when our missional practitioners, based in praxis, engage the impotence of some of these ‘fused with tradition’ structures the practitioner becomes marginalized… laid to waste on the outskirts of traditions and communities.  All this because they dare ‘challenge’ structure that may not be functional anymore.

Our structures are theological statements!!  The way we navigate them as community is intimately linked with our faithfulness to God and to one another.

What are some healthy ways in community to scrutinize structures?  Have you seen some successful ways in which this has happened?

Seventeen: David Grohl, my son & a tightrope walker on creativity

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My 2 year old son and I have a new activity. We grab a couple mini-hockey sticks and turn them into guitars.  Then we turn on YouTube and pretend to play some of his favorite songs which include “Down by the Bay” by Raffi, “Red 2” by Elmo and Elvis Costello and his newest favorite “These Days” by the Foo Fighters. 

Asher even has a Rock n’ Roll face as we jump around our living room. He is expressing himself, and doesn’t seem to care about what people would think. It’s a raw expression of his love for music.

All this got me thinking about the immense creativity that kids and even some grown ups seem to possess. It’s not a surprise though as we are a people created in the image of a God who creates.  

Its not about being perfect in our creativity. Its not about how we look or about living up to the expectations of others. Its about doing it. Philippe Petit, a guy who illegally tight rope walked across the World Trade Centres in the 70’s was asked why he did it. His response is brilliant;

“why not?” He didn’t care. His art wasn’t a product to be sold, it was an expression of his soul.

That is now known as the artistic crime of the century.

After winning a grammy Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters spoke to this;

“To me this award means a lot because it shows that the human elements of making music is what’s most important. Singing into a microphone and learning to play an instrument and learning to do your craft, that’s the most important thing for people to do. It’s not about being perfect, it’s not about sounding absolutely correct, it’s not about what goes on in a computer. It’s about what goes on in here (points to heart) and it’s about what  goes on in here (points to head).”

Do you expect the artistic expressions of your mind and heart to be perfect?

I am again blogging on the road from my phone and can’t figure out how to link things yet… links to a few things I have referenced are coming.