It's been a challenging few weeks - wife went into preterm labor, resigned from "the church", received "bad press" released from the church leadership. I hope this all ends soon . . . very soon.
Fortunately, this has given us the opportunity to revisit and recall the "O.G." vision we sensed God leading us towards years ago. I think Chris Seay & Doug Pagitt hit a chord with me when they started their respective Christian faith communities.
Here is the "values" statement taken from Ecclesia Houston (Chris Seay's crew):
"We are a Holistic, Missional, Christian Community"
Holistic: We believe that the Gospel impacts every area of a person's life and culture. We reject unfounded categories that divide the world into uniquely sacred or purely secular. God is redeeming all of creation through Jesus.
Missional: We believe that the church exists for the world and not for herself - she is to introduce and usher in the Kingdom of God into every part of this world.
Christian: We embrace the teachings and divinity of Jesus Christ as well as His unique role as the means of salvation from sin for all who believe. We embrace the Scripture as God's primary instrument by which He introduces this message to the world.
Community: We believe that salvation brings people together as a reflection of a triune God: Father, Son and Spirit. Saved from sin by faith through grace, the people of God are able to live in unity as was intended by God in the beginning.
Here is the one from Solomon's Porch (Doug Pagitt's crew):
"Solomon's Porch: a Holistic, Missional, Christian Community"
Holistic: Understanding that all areas of life are connected, including faith, time, family, work, body, money, intellect, et al.
Missional: Our belief is that God intends Christianity be a way of life which sends us into the world to serve God and our neighbors, so that God's will may be done on earth as it is in heaven. The church is never to be the withdrawn or isolated end user of the gospel of Jesus; rather, we receive it so that we may be equipped and sent into the world to love our neighbors and serve "the least of these." In this sense, Solomon's Porch doesn't have a mission; it is mission.
Christian: As Christians we see ourselves as a growing people who are learning to live life with God in the way of Jesus. We represent a generous orthodoxy, rooted in the Scriptures and consistent with the ancient creeds of the church.
Community: Desiring to share life with one another in a way that we become a living, breathing, local expression of the global, historical body of Christ.
Yeah . . . amen.
We've labored prayerfully over these values the past 4 or 5 years. Finally, I believe that we have reached the point where we cannot continue on without them. No more settling, no more compromise - it's make it or break it. No more overtime or even double overtime.
Though we've left behind many good people and perhaps "not-so-good" people at "the church", we are grateful that God has led us back to revisit something familiar . . . the original vision and dream that He called us to. Sovereign God, Your grace is truly amazing!