Tuesday, March 17, 2009

sorry it's been a while...

after braving what i think was a combo of sinus infection and the black plague and entertaining my in-laws this past week, i return unscathed to post yet again!

recently a friend posted this observation on his status update on Facebook, attributed to Marcus Borg, "Church 50yrs from now: Fewer professional clergy. But intentional groups of Christians will be around. Tents in the wilderness."

wow.

not a big believer in predicting the future, much less the future of the body of Christ (b/c i am asked often to do so), but feel that Borg is on to something really revelatory with this observation. if current trends continue and the spending habits of institutions (including the organized religious denominational institutions) continues to be put under a public microscope, the trending towards less professional, specialized clergy staff does not seem like an unlikely possibility. more and more, in discussions and dialogues i am a part of, hearing a downtrend among those seeking to serve the body of Christ away from professional clergy and towards a more bi-vocational ministry approach, a tent-making approach, if you will, where those leading communities work in the public marketplace to provide their salary and benefits while serving the body of Christ in ministry. this is a very liberating approach for some, who believe that b/c they would not rely upon the community for financial means, the pressure to provide leadership would rest less upon them and more upon the entire community, enabling the leader to be more of a partner in vision-casting and creation than the vision-doer. this might allow the body of Christ to become a people-centered community rather than a leader-centered community. though Moses leads the people through the wilderness, he enlists a great deal of people from within the community to do the work of administration. often too, it is the reluctance of the people and not Moses to take a greater role in leadership and administration and it is Moses that has to shake them loose from their preference for doing things the "Egyptian" way, the way things were done when they were under oppression.

which brings us to the Exodus imagery. i also like this "tents in the wilderness" image, casting the people of God not as firmly planted in the promised land but seeking out God's promises while following God by day and night in the wilderness of our current culture. i like the image of the church building, the place of meeting as a tabernacle, a temporary structure that can be unstaked, moved around, and placed in various settings. God moved with the people in the wilderness and it was when they got complacent and comfortable in the promised land that they built (against God's wishes, i might add) a permanent residence for God.

not sure where you fall on this, but would like to hear from those who follow my seldom-updated blog.

1 comment:

Jason said...

"this is a very liberating approach for some, who believe that b/c they would not rely upon the community for financial means, the pressure to provide leadership would rest less upon them and more upon the entire community, enabling the leader to be more of a partner in vision-casting and creation than the vision-doer."

I agree with this, however I also believe that it is very possible to do this sort of leadership while being a one vocation kind of person.

Jesus was a one vocational person as I understand it and relied upon the support of those around him (especially the women), and yet he was able to do as Moses did.

If church leaders continue to run the community like a CEO would run a business then yes, we are screwed. If however, we take alternate approaches to leadership then what you are calling for can happen for those one-vocational people.

That is not to knock what you are saying, I wish on many levels I had to courage to do just that. However, since I do not have the courage at this moment, I have to look at alternate ways to help lead a community. If that day comes where I need to shift to a bi-vocation, so be it. But until then I will work my butt off to model any leadership I have after the Tao, Jesus, and Laura Fregin.

Sorry I had to bail so fast on Friday, I hope to continue conversation this week.

Talk with you later.