Tag Archives: kingdom

A Hopeful People: Entering a Season of Yearning

Christmas candlesphoto © 2008 Charles Stanford | more info (via: Wylio)The past several years, I have grown increasingly disillusioned with the institutional church as I have grown increasingly committed to the way of Jesus.  My theology has become very simple. “Love the lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul and love your neighbor as yourself”, pretty much sums it up for me.  I have grown tired of dogma and doctrinal debates.  I long for a community that invests more energy in living the great commandment than it does protecting its self from those who do not share its theology.

This time of year that longing is intensified.  In his message this morning, Rev Bob Partlow reminded us that advent is a season of yearning; yearning for the incarnate God who ushers in the kingdom here on earth.  He shared his yearning for God’s kingdom that is yet to come; a kingdom where babies do not die of preventable disease or where children do not starve in world of abundance.   He also shared his longing for the kingdom that is near to us; the one that dwells in us as Christ spirit lives through us.

Rev Partlow asked, “What are you yearning for this advent season?.”  I realized that what I and others may see as discontentment with the church is actually a yearning for the kingdom.  I am often frustrated with myself because I can’t seem to simply accept things as they are.  I am continually seeking what could be.  I am learning to accept that this is simply how God created me.  I was reminded today that it is my hope in the future that makes me dissatisfied with the present. I see so much potential and have witnessed powerful movements of the spirit.  It has left me hungry for more.  I am not willing to settle for business as usual when it comes to the Christian faith. This advent season, I will continue to seek the breaking in of God’s kingdom here on earth in unexpected places and in fresh new ways.   I long for a community of believers who share my yearning and my hope.

So, what are you yearning for this advent season?

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Filed under missional church, Personal Reflection

A Search for Kingdom Churches

Every day I drive past church parking lots and admire the church buses and vans that sit collecting dust while we attempt to address the transportation crisis in our city. Across this city, congregations gather for meals that resemble a feast as I watch my urban friends scrap together a meager meal so that they can enjoy the same kind of table fellowship.  I read church bulletins about the upcoming missions trips and the thousands of dollars being raised to help send members to the other side of the world for a one week experience while our local urban missionaries fail to find the support and encouragement they need to transform our own backyard.  We currently have four desks crammed into one office and two team members per desk while many inner city churches sit empty all week.  I get letters from churches asking for funds to support their next mega-building campaign while I watch families become homeless because they do not have the $200 they need to maintain their housing.  When we approach churches about using what should be God’s resources to advance God’s Kingdom or care for God’s children, we hear the following:

“We can’t use our van to help you take inner city kids to the park because of “liability” issues.”

“We can’t host your fellowship event because our people are just too busy.”

“Members of our church really like going away to foreign countries to do missions.”

“Our policy is to only use our building for “church-sponsored” activities.”

“We only provide financial support for “members” who are in crisis.”

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Filed under missional church, Stories from the Street, Top Post's of All Time, Urban Ministry