this is a bit of a state of the nation post!
i’ve written a number of times before about the hypotheses that are inspiring my thinking at the moment… things like this:
– the fragility and weakness of god
– god as event, not being
– a growing, terrifying realisation that maybe humankind isn’t actually evolving into something better, more generous, more just [we’re not moving towards a kingdom of heaven on earth]
– coupled with that, a long held scepticism about life after death [no kingdom of heaven in a place other than earth] – or more, a long held disinterest in it, and disinclination to focus on that in worship and theology.*
as you can imagine [or perhaps, as you know yourself], letting one’s head go into these spaces strips away some of the fundamental building blocks for worship as we have known it [and, of course, of christian orthodoxy]. it’s not just about the purpose of worship, it’s also tied up inextricably in the language and imagery we use, the way in which we pray. play with any one of directions and there’s a space left in worship as we’ve known it. take them all and there are some gaping holes.
the way this has unfolded over the last few months means that i’m curating worship using a theology that is no longer mine.
over the last few months i’ve dealt with this by exploring the common ground, looking for the shared language and images between where my heart is, and where the heart of the people i curate worship with is. and i think we’ve done that ok – there is a lot of common ground. but it’s begun to feel a bit grubby and old through overuse. i don’t know whether it shows it in the stuff i put up here [i suspect it does], but in my head, things are getting stale – the same ground’s being covered. apparently there are worse things you can do than cover old ground again, but personally i’m hard pressed to think of them!
in order to reclaim my sanity [and to get a bit of life back into all this], i’m letting go of the focus on commonalities. which is, of course, different to letting go of the commonalities. but i’m getting back to exploring what worship or sacred space looks like when it lets the hypotheses listed above be the starting point – and not in a deconstructionist way [that’s easy to plan]. i’m going to explore the unfamiliar edges, and see how they come to life in worship. which will probably mean that for many people what unfolds will be unrecognisable.
i’m feeling a little on my own in this, certainly on a local basis, but as i said before, that doesn’t bother me. community isn’t, for me, the people i connect with who think like me… it’s the people who make it safe for me to follow where my thinking goes, even if that’s far, far away from theirs. i have a lot of those people. and i know i’m less alone than what it seems… people come out of the woodwork every time i talk about this. it would be so lovely if more of you lived in melbourne…
*these would only be a considered a faith crisis by people who think that it is necessarily a crisis to leave those beliefs. i don’t, it’s no crisis. i’m in a good place, this is not a problem to be solved!