Ok, andrew has given me the ‘ok’ to write down thoughts on this deep ecclesiology concept….
Disclaimer: This definition of “deep ecclesiology” is by no means meant to be definitive nor does it try to represent Andrew or Brian’s views and opinions (although some of these ideas may intersect with them from time to time). Please don’t blame Andrew or Brian for any heretical opinions from this poor author.
So, some context to the phrase as given by Andrew today:
The phrase “deep ecclesiology” has been attributed to me. I realize the meaning of a term or phrase is often determined by its contemporary usage rather than its original intent and therefore I plan to honor those who have taken it further and have brought additional insights. I am grateful for their effort and am honored that they saw possibility in the term, perhaps more than i did at the time.
“By ecclesiology, I mean the nature, life and practice of the church, in this instance, that part of the church that is growing and active in the emerging culture. By “emerging church” or “emerging-missional church” I refer to the new church forms that are being started as a response to effective missional work in the global emerging culture.”
That being quoted…here is part 1 – a creed-ish (not the band) beginning
In agreement with Andrew, I refer to ecclesiology as the nature, life and practice of the church. The term deep when attatched to this word is what truly becomes a beautiful thing in my mind.
To me, “deep” ecclesiology is the understanding and practice of/by the Church as it relates to God, God’s Kingdom (on earth as it is in heaven), one another (in a broad sense…more later) and the rest of creation.
In that, we the church understand that we are mutually connected to one another as we are connected together with God and are actively trying to live in rhythm with God’s re-creational movement through His story. We understand that as the church, how we live out the attributes of God means something to everything and everyone else within God’s creation.
We are called to be a blessing to all of creation, and when we see that our understandings and actions are causing others, nature, etc…to remain/get (depending on our view of this relationship) out of rhythm, then we must seek to reconcile these beliefs and actions with God and with one another so that we may indeed be a blessing.
We understand and try to live out a deeper sense of one-ness with the catholic body that is far more broad than may have been imagined previously. (I love the picture that Tony Jones painted a few years ago after his sabbatical. He mentioned that during this time, he began to see the Church as a wider lane highway that doesn’t have 2 or 3 lanes but rather has many many lanes)
We understand and try to live out a life of worship that brings blessing to all things. That all may be caught up with God in awe and wonder.
We try to live out practices that Jesus demonstrates in the Gospels and we do this not only because of individual satisfaction, but because our one-ness with God matters to the world.
Viewing our life patterns as the church which seeks blessing for others alters everything in us. It is this alteration that meshes us together, it is this love that moves in us, through us and despite us.
In this understanding, we value all the forms of the church and seek to learn and grow with these forms – even when we have tension with these other forms *(and further understanding that this tension is to be honored and saught not to be avoided) and as we seek to honor and value these different forms, we seek to embrace our past (the good and the evil parts) as it informs and speaks towards our future.
As we respect these forms, we move forward in new creative forms that represent these understandings and actions that do not seek to replace previous forms, but rather enhance and partner with them to the Glory of God.
—ok, that’s part 1….if Andrew thinks this is decent, then there may be part 2—