Saturday, June 07, 2003

Will we in Deconstructionist Christendom ever get it right? Or are things changing with such rapidity that we'd just better hang on for dang dear life? There is no cutting edge anymore in church planting circles as far as I'm concerned. It's more like a magnetic three dimensional throwing star for anyone with an axe/blade to grind. Once you think you've got a handle on it, you look down and you've got a bloody mess. But the ecclesio-scape is still roiling with change.

One thing is for sure: we're tired. We're tired of decaying hierarchical structures bent on self-preservation that have dogged churches/denominations/organizations for a good part of modernity. We're tired of the lifeless, maintenance-level Churchianity and its patron Churchians robbed of and robbing life. If you read that as a condemnation, thou shalt not be so presumptuous......I've been there. And for want of lesser, mundane things, there but for the grace of God go I.

We pine for refreshment. We long for the gentle yoke of a new paradigm that will free up this idealized Church from it's shackles like a greased piglet in a Tennessee Sausage Festival.

So as we continue to deconstruct, we simultaneously lay a foundation. We who pour in the ready-mix ogle and protectively cherish the bland appearance. The hawks circle, conspiring to swoop it up into grandeur and a nest of marketablility. Some have dared to whisper into its "virgin" ears and name it. Or call it a if it were something truly new under the sun. And wittingly or not, in the very act of naming it, they seek control over it.

Our nomenclatural efforts are steps toward finality. When I "name" you, you are marked as "this" and not "that." Our labelling compartmentalizes and minimizes. But one must also recognize the value of naming. Our ability to apprehend our cognitions and our reality depends on our sound, letter and word-forming capacity. Our knowing and being known relies on it.

But our language almost consistently and ultimately fails when we try to grip the mystery of our experience of being. Especially as "beings" who are the recipients of the loving attention of he who is Other- and more pointedly in reference to this ongoing story of the Christ seeking residence in broken human vessels. "Church" doesn't fully capture the essence of "ecclesia" in much the same way as "Word" loses its mystical impact when translated from "logos." If we call the house church phenomenon a movement, do we endanger it to the lot of past movements that have come and gone, ebbing and flowing- (such as- but not limited to- the apostolic, spiritual warfare, Charismatic, deliverance, healing and reconciliation movements)? When we see God doing something, how do we avoid hijacking it by naming it?

Consider the word fagot. Read this way, it means a bundle of sticks. Add yet one more letter "g" and you have something entirely different. In usage, the original denotation is forever lost to the culturally assigned connotation and we lose the original word meaning. Are the few who are apprehensive to "name" the simple church emergence in the West already recognizing this potential? Granted, many are calling it something (house church, home church, simple church) and those doing so express difficulty explaining what it is because of the limitations and finitude of human language and complex multiple meaning systems. We still have to have some way to talk about it though.

I admit it's arguable that by naming it we may not even imperil a real move of God. But heaven must know we don't need another model.

"Please come to my anti-nomial, anti-modal ecclesial communal structure that meets in my abode" doesn't wax inviting yet either.