Friday, February 01, 2008

Living Well In The Emerging Milieu 5 (DMin)

Fifth post of the day with the last of the five implications for the Church. The question of the previous DMin posts was "How Shall We Then Live?" We looked at living incarnationally and simplifying our lives - and the third response was hospitality. The fourth response is that of living in unity as the body of Christ in our communities. The fifth is to live in such a way that we eliminate the false distinction between the sacred and the secular to see God at work in all areas of the world we live in.

Sacred or Secular

One of the things that has hindered the gospel is the artificial separation of the sacred from the secular. It has contributed to the divide between the clergy and the laity and has elevated spiritual tasks and space above secular work and space. This also is a product of Christendom. Identifying prayer, preaching, witnessing and Bible study as spiritual, while relegating work, play and much of the rest of our lives to the “secular” realm has done great damage to the understanding of the Kingdom of God.

One of the most significant results has been the neutering of Christians in the workplace. We must begin to affirm that people are called and gifted to work where God has placed them. An engineer is just as “anointed” as the preacher. We are to take the kingdom of God to where the kingdom of darkness is still entrenched and Jesus will build his church there. We must see the kingdom of God in its fullness, as transforming all of society. “Lay people” who fulfill their calling in their workplace are the ones who will accomplish that transformation.

We all want to live in neighborhoods that are safe and free of discrimination, poverty and oppression. We want our schools to be places where real learning takes place. We want our justice system to serve everyone fairly. We want economic decisions made that benefit the residents of every community, of every class, kind and condition, not just the investors. We want people to be set free from the binding and blinding oppression of destructive habits, substances and ideologies. And most of all we want people to hear and respond to a call to radical discipleship - one that fills our city with transformed people who truly follow, and are filled with the life and love of Jesus. Pastors, even those that run their churches well, cannot accomplish that. The body of Christ in its full expression accomplishes it.

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