Tuesday, March 04, 2014

The Distinctive of the Presence-Driven Church

Billboard, in downtown Detroit

My observation is that the students in my MCCC philosophy classes are neither impressed nor lastingly interested in "relevant" churches; viz., churches that spend their money on being, e.g., an Entertainment Church in the middle of our entertainment culture. This, I observe, is not working. There may be Entertainment Churches that are large in size, but what they have gathered is an audience, not a movement. 

For the Jesus Movement to move we must not make it our goal to "blend in." "Blending in" signifies the loss of any movement. What we must do is lock into our distinctives and go with them. 

For example, we have God and God's presence. We have answers to the ultimate questions. We have Christ in us, the hope of glory. That's not bad. And, BTW, the core distinctives cost no money to maintain.

Check out Yale theologian Miroslav Volf's observations about this. Volf writes:

"Christian communities will be able to survive and thrive in contemporary societies only if they attend to their “difference” from surrounding cultures and subcultures. The following principle stands: whoever wants the Christian communities to exist must want their difference from the surrounding culture, not their blending into it. As a consequence, Christian communities must “manage” their identity by actively engaging in “boundary maintenance.” Without boundaries, communities dissolve." (Volf, Miroslav. A Public Faith, p. 81)

The Jesus-community is different from the surrounding culture. Shore up that which is distinctive to Christian culture and strengthen that which is central.