If you didn't read part one on "Sanctification - The Mediated Life" that post is the key post in our series..but also..
Another ecstatic utternance over at "The Dialogical Coffee House" from yours truly...read more
and Thanks to Gideon... and I guess if Hugh is gonna link me I better post... So here goes:
Morally Beautiful Community
This site (actually over at Dialogical Coffee House) is dedicated to the hard work of cultural renewal. As a Christian, I, and I imagine my peers, emphasize the need to mobile the church and men and women of certain talents to cultivate those gifts to promote change in the common places where people of all walks of life interact. In response to the launching of this site and in response to the on-going discussions going on in various blog ghettos regarding the Emergent Church and Neo-Calvinism, I would like to make my predictions for the 21st Century.
It should be noted that I have a bit of fire in my bones for the glory of the church. The "hub" from which we launch into all the spheres of our life must first teach us an entirely new story of the meaning of being authentically human. This story, then, is told with manifest wisdom in all the various vocations of our life. Here is my vision of the big picture of church renewal. This is my answer to the "what is next (century) going to look like?" question.
The Renewed Church
I predict (and pray earnestly) that a Franciscan-type, incarnational, monastic lifestyle which promotes holistic cultural, social and economic renewal will arise in the inner cities and rural areas of North America and Western Europe which will bring renewal and revival to the western church. These Christian communities will be places of economic development and empowerment. They will produce cultural and artistic artifacts which will have enduring quality. These communities will incubate young minds for exploits in the sciences and the arts. These communities will marry intellectual and moral excellence with social action and authentic spirituality. In other words, these communities will emerge as a prominent expression of the church of the 21st century. Some of these communities will be closely aligned and supported by the churches of their forefathers and some will not.
The good works of these communities will be seen by the world in such a way that others will be drawn by the winsomeness of their lifestyle. In short, good works will become the hallmark of the church life in the same way that good works was the hallmark of the life of Christ.
The Importance of Aesthetics
Human Beings are equipped with an ability to assess beauty. When anyone from any culture looks at a sunny sky over the snow capped peaks of the Canadian Rockies, they say, "Stunning"or "Beautiful". Mankind has the ability to intuitively know the beautiful. So too, human beings are equipped to behold Christ on the cross and hear Him say, "Father forgive them they do not know what they are doing", and to stand in awe, and say, "Stunning" or "Beautiful".
Mankind has the ability, an ability which is very hard to lose, to see stunning moral beauty and to assess that beauty rightly. Therefore, I predict that the 21st Century Church of Jesus Christ will display forth Morally Beautiful Community. This beauty will not come about through luck or happenstance but as the result of hard earned, institutionally designed programs and processes.
I predict that intellectuals and disciple-makers will come together to articulate a Christian worldview and biblical theology which will codify the values and priorities for future generations to likewise create and maintain similar institutions, programs and processes. In short, I predict a reformation of the church in the 21st Century. This church then becomes the birthing place of a new people and the hub from which "the people of the church" go forth to participate in the various theatres of life and culture.