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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!

what would Jesus construct?...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

This is a good thought-provoking post from Richard Sudworth. Maybe with his 'IS, NOT and BUT' statements, Richard has made some profound (and not always comfortable, depending on where you're coming from) observations. Inclusion, community and equality are concepts I warm to, and I love Richard's appeal to 'the story' which transcends narrow doctrinal prescriptions and, at the same time, embodies certain themes which are to be embraced in remaining faithful to and journeying in the Christian tradition.

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posted by Malcolm Chamberlain, 1:49 PM


Hi Malcolm,

Yes, I warmed to Richard's writing style very much - beautiful balance - and appreciate his honest concern.

This is the old point (probably made it before) about whether it really is dangerous to deconstruct everything before we start reconstructing. I remember hearing a Mike Yaconelli talk over a sound-system in a Christian Bookshop once, where he suggested it was like unpeeling an onion - where, of course, before too long you are left with a handful of skins, and there isn't a centre.

Except that there is a centre to an onion, and there is a centre to Christianity, which, however you express it, has to be the outward givingness and joyful expenditure for others which is Love.

Then you have to ask, would Love ever lead you into destructive courses of action like taking the Church apart. And concluding 'No', but witnessing people who leave Church doing just that, you can draw two possible conclusions.

Either they are abandoning the lead of Love, or Love is leading them into a wider understanding of Church. May I suggest, the conclusion you draw says more about you than about the person doing the deconstructing?

From a position of the total deconstruction of Church, the only way then is up. Or to put it another way, everything that is constructed is a form of Church. Life, however it is lived, is in Christ - which, I think, is something that chimes with Paul's comment about living and dying (the two extremes of action) both connecting him with God (I paraphrase).

This is why I am hopeful about Church, because it seems to me we are over the deconstructive phase, and poised, if not already beginning, the biggest blossoming in Church history (and I write this, of course, as someone dedicated to living outside the walls of the institution).

commented by Blogger Steve Lancaster, 3:10 PM  

Mind if I post that on Richard's blog too? Something I'd like him to hear...

I'm guessing you won't, so you'll have to stop me retrospectively!

Many thanks,


commented by Blogger Steve Lancaster, 3:13 PM  


they're your comments (and thanks for them) so go ahead and post away!!

commented by Blogger Malcolm Chamberlain, 4:11 PM  

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