Thursday, August 19, 2010

A New Kind of Christianity

Two of my favorite people in the world: Elisabeth Harnes and Josh Kupke. I have learned much from these two loyal friends over the past decade and they have consistently challenged my thinking and encouraged my faith or perhaps I could say they encouraged my imagination and challenged my behavior. Either way they have been wonderful allies, deeply embedded in my life and the DNA of our Open Hand community.

The fellowship we enjoy together reminds me of what Brian D. McLaren talks about in the opening chapter of his recent book A New Kind of Christianity. "Responses, please remember, are not answers: the latter seek to end conversation while the former seek to stimulate more of it....their primary goal is to start the interplay, to get things rolling, to invite your reply. Remember our goal is not debate and division yielding hate or a new state, but rather questioning that leads to conversation and friendship on a new quest."

In 1620 a group of pilgrims set out to embark on a quest from Holland to the New World in hopes of creating a faith community where they could live in honesty, openness and freedom.

Just before they boarded the vessel called Mayflower, their pastor had one last message of hope: "I charge you before God and his blessed angels that you follow me no further than you have seen me follow Christ. If God reveal anything to you by any other instrument of His, be as ready to receive it as you were to receive any truth from my ministry, for I am verily persuaded the Lord hath more truth and light yet to break forth from His holy word."

"The Lutherans cannot be drawn to go beyond what Luther saw. Whatever part of His will our God has revealed to Calvin, they (Lutherans) will rather die than embrace it; and the Calvinists, you see, stick fast where they were left by that great man of God, who yet saw not all things. This is a misery much to be lamented. For though they were precious shining lights in their time, yet God has not revealed his whole will to them. And were they now living, they would be as ready and willing to embrace further light, as they had received."

Much like these early pilgrims, our Open Hand community is on a quest, knowing that we have not yet seen "all things." Thank God there is "further light" to be discovered and more of Gods's will to be revealed as we "go beyond' our current understandings. For surely the Lord has more truth and light yet to break forth from His holy word.

Thanks Elisabeth and Josh for joining with me and our Open Hand community on our journey of faith over the past decade. You are both excellent traveling companions and I can't think of two more courageous mates that I would rather sail with. Climb the masts and tell us all what you see ahead......

Cheers and blessings,
O'Captain Steven