Brian McLaren talks a lot about ‘a new way of being a Christian’, in his book The Great Spiritual Migration, and other writings. He describes at least three fundamental changes (or conversions, or movements) that will make churches and Christians different in the years to come than how they’ve been in the past.
A Way of Life: Christianity will be understood less as a system of beliefs and more as a way that people choose to orient themselves around an ethic of love and sacrificial service. People will still hold and value their beliefs, but Christians will care less about pledging allegiance to doctrine, and more about putting Jesus’ radical teachings about generosity, justice, neighborliness, welcome and forgiveness into practice in regular life.
Eternal Participant: God will no longer be understood as the Eternal Punisher, who is separate from human experience, judges people from a holy throne far away, and pours out violent wrath on everyone who doesn’t escape punishment by believing in Jesus. Rather, God will be understood as the loving and compassionate friend/parent/teacher/guide who comes alongside people in the suffering and struggle of human experience, and as a partner in the journey, empowers us to live better lives.
Salt, Light and Leaven: The Church of Jesus Christ will no longer be understood as an institution that exists to be served, accumulating buildings, wealth, membership, money and political clout, and calling these indications of God’s favor. The Church will instead be a body that exists to serve and heal the world, and to grow grace and peace in families, neighborhoods and society as a whole. The Church will not seek to enrich itself, but will exist to enrich the world.
Because the mission of The Table is to be a community of transformation, toward greater generosity, peacemaking, neighborliness, and faithfulness, McLaren’s ideas about migration and conversion fit well into our community priorities.
For the next several weeks, our Sunday sermons and conversations will focus on central ideas and tenets of the Christian faith, in light of this concept of spiritual migration.
People have fought a lot over the topics we’ll be discussing, and have invested a lot of time and energy trying to show that they are right and others are wrong. For our part, when we engage each topic at The Table, we will not be enforcing any specific doctrine or instructing people in a rigid form of ‘correct belief’.
Rather, we will be considering together how faithful seekers and disciples can engage the resources and truth of Christianity, as we allow our lives and our thinking to be converted by love, on this journey, this migration.
We look forward to seeing you soon!
OCT. 1 THE BIBLE
OCT. 8 HEAVEN
OCT. 15 PRAYER
OCT. 22 HUMAN NATURE
NOV. 5 SALVATION
The Table is a Christian church in Davenport, Iowa, seeking transformation:
from greed toward generosity
from violence toward peacemaking
from isolation toward neighborliness
from fear toward faith
Worship Sundays at 5pm
102 E. 2nd Street in Davenport