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malcolm chamberlain

musings about the emerging church, mission and contemporary culture...

God is at large, intimately involved in his world in ways that the church is maybe just waking up to!

the end of strategy?...

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Kester Brewin has posted a series of reflections ([1], [2], [3], [4]) comparing Jesus with Judas and Paul, and arguing that the latter two fall into the trap of power play and strategy whereas Jesus subverted this agenda by, for example, remaining quiet at his trial and refusing to enter the power struggle. Kester wonders "whether Christ's passion is in some way 'the end of strategy'." The question he poses for the emerging church is whether it too can resist the pull towards strategy and power play.

I'm personally involved in the emerging church through Dream, but also have a foot firmly in the institutional church by virtue of my job. The struggle I often face is with the institutional pressure to strategise for the emerging church. In response, I constantly raise concerns about this and keep arguing that by imposing a strategy we may end up killing genuine emergence. However, in the comments to Kester's third post of his series, Jonny Baker writes "so your strategy is not to have a strategy ?!" My guess is that Jonny had his tongue firmly in his cheek when typing this, but it does push the issue... is not having a strategy still a strategy?!

I can imagine some of my colleagues arguing against Kester's posts by saying that the actions of Jesus are incredibly strategic in order to subvert the status quo and promote the values of the Kingdom; and what's more, if they did I'd have to concede that they may have a point! Maybe we can't avoid strategy at all! The important consideration must instead be what underpins or roots our strategy - is our strategy aimed at gaining power and empire building, or is it focussed on working towards the kingdom as Jesus described and modelled it?

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posted by Malcolm Chamberlain, 9:53 AM


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