In Modernity humans were the great observers. What we saw and how we interpreted it became fiat law – even if it was wrong. The world was flat; the world was round. The earth was the center of the universe; the earth was merely a pebble in a pond. Everything revolved around the earth; the earth revolved around the Sun. The Atom was the basic building block of life; the Atom was merely the tip of life’s building blocks. What was real was determined by what we observed. Sort of like God, we determined what was.
Modernity also looked upon everything, even humans, as if it were a lifeless machine that could be broken down into parts. Our role as the Lords was to keep life going and to fix what was wrong.
That’s all changed now.
What is real now is determined by what we experience rather than what we know to be true. Truth is no longer as much real as it is perceived to be real through our experiences. Nothing is as certain as it once was. The more we think we know the more we know we don’t know – a rabbit hole we must quit going down.
Everything now is looked upon as in relationship with each other. The universe is seen as alive. Our role today is no longer to keep it running or to fix it when it doesn’t work. Our role is to relate to it and to experience all it has to offer.
Now what has all of this got to do with the church? Everything.
The church is alive; it’s not an institution we can manage and fix. So we must quit trying to fix it. We are not the Lords who observe and decide. We are the ones being observed by the Great Observer. How we relate to one another determines destiny rather than what we think we know.
Bible study is not as important as what it causes to change within us and among us. Worship attendance is not the real barometer of a church, but how the people share life with one another and with the stranger.
Relationships and experience are the two dominant words in the emerging world. The role of leaders is not to fix the church, but to help it breath once again. The church becomes the great incubator of life. Not an institution but a place of warmth and comfort for those seeking life. Not sanctuary from the world, but total immersion in a God filled world.
What this means is – how well a congregation blends its life together without conflict is vital. How well a congregation makes the stranger welcome is crucial. How well its leaders are involved in the well being of the community around them is essential.
Relationships and experience equal connectivity to what is truly real and eternal. Thus the church cannot be looked upon as a place but as a power – the power to sustain life throughout the universe and beyond.
This is why eliminating controllers and bullies from a congregation is so important. Conflicted churches cannot function as incubators. And that means they are consigned to a miserable death. So show them the door. People who love God, the church, and the world will understand.
This is why Paul says, “faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love.” People who don’t love other people don’t belong in the church and should be asked to leave.