If you have a favorite or provocative quote from chapter 2 you can post it here. If you want to make a comment or two about what it means to you, all the better.
I like the quote in chapter two on pg. 33 that says "I don’t think any of us can yet conceive of what his church will look like when thousands upon thousands of people freely live in the reality of Jesus’ love and respond to the voice of the Shepherd simultaneously and spontaneously around the world. I shared on the previous question about connection with the body that I believe we all need a transfiguration experience where we are filled with Jesus’ love and light in such a way that it changes our hearts and minds to know and understand perfectly His Will for us and His Church. The Father in the transfiguration story told Peter to be quiet and to listen to what Jesus told him to do. In this quote, it is talking about thousands of people listening to the voice of the Shepherd at the same time around the world. This is exciting to me and I am praying to be part of this and not miss it.
I also like the quote at the end of the chapter that says, “How well would we love each other and the people around us if we no longer had divisive institutions separating us or exhausting us with their meetings and activities? I am convinced love will do far more to unfold the kingdom of God on earth that any project or outreach we would devise.” We will get to this later in chapter 8 so I won’t go into detail now but our love for God and those around us MUST start with GOD’s love to us first. If we aren’t filled with HIS LOVE and PRESENCE we won’t be very good at loving others around us.
Page 32 - In the end we left not to abandon our faith, but to explore that faith
on a more vibrant journey than those structures would allow.
I could see this starting arguments with some of the people in institutional churches that I have been to, since it suggests that someone could actually find a better relationship with God outside of the institutional church rather than within one. I could see where some would consider this double-talk and nonsense, and they would likely consider that we have forsaken our faith.
I love the first paragraph! “They left the church” Or, “I left the church ten years ago.” Since they have continued to passionately follow Jesus, I want to correct them. You may have left your congregation, but how did you leave the church? Do you think you can belong to him and not be part of his family? It’s one of the tragic consequences of using the term to describe the myriad of religious institutions that dot our landscape instead of the tapestry of his people Jesus is weaving together."
I love this because it demolishes the lie that many in leadership sow (and we swallow): if you are not in a building listening to a man tell you his interpretation of who God is on a Sunday morning, with a whole load of other people doing the same thing, then you are not in church.
So when we walk away from the building we see ourselves as on our own, and depending on your headspace you are either a pioneer or scared! THe truth that for most leavers we are not leaving the church but finding it, what we are leaving is a structure that is man made and devoid of life. We are finding that “tapestry of his people Jesus is weaving together” .
This is from my Kindle so I don’t know the page number.
“Where we begin, however, is not by trying to fix our congregations but looking toward our own awakening inside a new creation.”
This quote reminds me that my own journey of living inside a new creation touches so many area of my life. It is an inside to working outside process.
Dawna in Sacramento CA
“As we become more one with him , each of us will reflect a bit of his glory. When we connect with others who are also being shaped by him, we find an immediate oneness and affection as we recognize his life in them. The way we love one another, the unity with which we pray, and the combining of our gifts and resources to do the tasks he gives us to do will reveal his nature not only to people around us, but will actually undermine the unseen spiritual forces that seek to destroy humanity.”
To me, this is the mission statement of the church. The becoming more like Him, recognizing that in others and helping each other in Him, and walking in the works He has prepared beforehand, is all that it is about. Anything less or anything more is missing the mark.
“Because the church takes expression wherever people are learning to live alongside Jesus in the new creation, it can appear almost anywhere.”
I would add to that, anytime as well.
It seems a lot of people would like to keep God in a box. The institutional church will do. They can go visit Him one hour a week and live like they want without Him the rest of the time. Especially if they see Him as a judgmental, punishing God, you certainly wouldn’t want to turn Him loose, would you.
I have misconceptions about people I don’t know, and mainly they are based on negative portrayals of them. We most likely will never meet these people face to face in our lifetimes. Wouldn’t it be sad for most people, if the same were true of God, because they valued their opinion of Him over His offer of a relationship with them. Just as in the parable of the talents, the one who hid them was called wicked and lazy, and the one who made more with them was given abundantly more.
"So we are going to have to make a distinction in our minds between the church that humanity has attempted to build for two thousand years, and the community of the new creation that Jesus is building. They are not the same, though they can gloriously overlap on occasion. It’s just that our conformity-based structures cannot produce the internal transformation necessary for church to take shape amongst us…
"If they enhance our growing relationship with God, great! It’s when they become a substitute for the relationship we lack that they are problematic.
I love that, "conformity based structures cannot produce the internal transformation necessary for the church to take shape amongst us"
For me it’s that simple!! Those growing in relationship to God and each other and the others who follow the rulebook and a pastor.
The two kinds of people in my experience are a bus ride apart one belongs to the Church Jesus is building and can be recognised by the love that is in and around them and the other is man made and guaranteed to wear and tear and loose it’s colour. I’ve not see any overlapping yet albeit I’m sure it does.
Ian in Colnbrook, Berks UK
“It’s just that our conformity-based structures cannot produce the internal transformation necessary for church to take shape amongst us…”
How true that is. I haven’t seen a whole lot of change in most people who have been a part of these structures for decades after their initial conversion. I have seen more change in me in the past couple of years as I have shifted my focus to seeing and listening to Jesus. I am coming to suspect that the idea that we need an inspired lecture every week to keep us following Jesus just might be an insult to the Holy Spirit, who is more than able and quite willing to reveal Jesus to us in a way that is life giving and changes us from the inside out.
This resonates with me as well. As I have read many books and looked at the diversity in Christianity it can be overwhelming and discouraging. We are a divided body. What about just listening to one another. We all hold a little piece of the puzzle of God’s revelation to us. Even if we disagree let’s listen. Let’s be willing to be challenged and see if God is trying to tell us something.
"Jesus’ church is not a human creation. Rather, it is the fruit of the relationships of those who are part of a new creation-the redeemed race of humanity that relates to him as the Head. When Paul tells us that the church is the fullness of Christ, he’s moving beyond a collection of Christians and talking about a vibrant community that lives at his pleasure and as his complement in that world."
There’s a song that is sung in church and one of the lines is asking God to “use me.” I have never liked it and always felt guilty because I want God to have my life but these words just felt yucky. I’m a word girl. Words can give life or suffocate it. “Living at his pleasure and as a compliment” just breaths life.
Bob1, That is one of my favorite quotes too. And I couldn’t agree more with your comment on it. I feel like I left IC and found God. And it turns out He is way better than I ever new living in IC for my whole life. --joan
From p. 32: “Some of us have already left institutionalized Christianity either because we were pushed out for asking the wrong questions or because we could no longer continue to serve the demands of an institution that seemed so at odds with the passion growing in our hearts. None of us did so easily, having spend decades serving in local congregations and engaged in multiple efforts to reform them. In the end we left not to abandon our faith, but to explore that faith on a more vibrant journey than those structures would allow.”
…that was us…and what freedom followed when we finally left!..I love the vibrant journey.
I also like “When we connect with others who are also being shaped by Him, we find an immediate oneness and affection as we recognize His life in them.” p. 28
So true, so true…
"It takes shape wherever people who are engaged with him interact with oneanother. Rather than thinking of it as a group to join, it might be better to look for that reality in the conversations, connections and collaborations he gives us each day. As you will see it can appear almost anywhere at any time."
Its being aware of this “NOW” of Christ wherever you are. Being caught up in your day and not engaging with Christ who is within means you skate past these conversations, connections and collaborations. I know I did and can easily still do. I focus on what needs to be achieved and rush to the end goal, so missing those connections that would have so enriched the journey.
"The church of the new creation is more like wildflowers strewn across an alpine meadow than a walled garden with manicured hedges."
I love this. Wildflowers in a meadow are there for all to see… open to any person, free, and surprising.
“As we become more one with him, each of us will reflect a bit of his glory. Whenwe connect with others who are also being shaped by him, we find an immediate oneness and affection as we recognize his life in them.”
I know this is true. I have experienced this
“The way we love one another, the unity with which we pray, and the combining of our gifts and resources to do the tasks he gives us to do will reveal his nature not only to people around us but will actually undermine the unseen spiritual forces that seek to destroy humanity”
oh yes, Lord! Let this be so!
“Anyone who beats with God’s heart yearns to engage this family.”
I do, I do, I yearn for this.
To me the whole paragraph starting at the end of page 32 beginning with “To be clear, I am not writing this book…” is core to this book. It was what gave me assurance in what the whole book was about. This paragraph sets the tone of humility that I think is central to it being about exploring a deeper relationship with Christ, and not just trying to convince people attending institutions that they are wrong and there is a better way. It is a declaration of purposefully avoiding the very divisiveness that is one of the symptoms being addressed by this book.
Bob - Portland, OR
"Most people want simple, clear answers to heavily nuanced realities. It would be easier to say all religious institutions are bad and smaller, more informal groups are good, except that just isnt true. If we just had an organisation that just represented the one, true church led by the right people then we would know who is in and who is out, except that in every group who has ever tried it has ended up arrogant and abusive in trying to keep it pure."
I think this is the root of most IC’s these days, it starts of with good intentions but ends up either a heavily controlled stagnant pond with a few social clubs or a poluted heavily controlled river of toxicity, squeezing truth until all life is gone. I have been in and out of a few, finding this to be true regardless of how wonderful the beginnings were.
Many of my favorite passages are already quoted here so I won’t re-share them.
Another sentence that resonated with me was “This community is growing to trust him and the way he works, and they are learning the simple joy of living in the Father’s affection and sharing it with others.”
Unlearning the ICs way of working (vs the way Father works), and unlearning the distrust that develops when one is hurt, crushed, disappointed by, or let down by the IC is some of the most difficult work. And thankfully part of that unlearning process is “learning the simple joy of living in the Father’s affection.” Learning to live in Father’s affection is life transforming. Love changes us and we don’t have to do anything except be willing to live in that love. The sharing is a natural by-product.