I know others have written very eloquently on complexity and emergence, both in natural systems and in the church, but I want to put in my two cents from the perspective of a church in transition…
I am praying/hoping/dreaming that it’s true that out of complexity comes some kind of emergence, because it’s a very complicated business being in the middle of a church going through the kind of transition we are going through. The level of awareness is all over the map, and I find that much of the time, people end up talking past one another. The teacher in me recoils in horror and wants to systematize and carefully plan the transition, but the prophet in me grins mischieviously and keeps asking the subversive questions.
This is a different type of complexity, where some mindsets are still in "Christendom" mode, but slowly making a transition. Other mindsets are simply "against whatever the status quo is" and are very vocal about it (which, incidentally, doesn’t help the missional cause). Out of this heap of complexity, can a missional church emerge? Can people really get a vision for changing their world with Christ? Can people undergo radical paradigm shifts and embrace what God is doing?
I pray it that it can be so. I pray this isn’t a "waiting-for-a-generation-to-die-in-the-desert" deal. It seems to me if an established church can embrace, resource and encourage the next move of God, God’s kingdom will have come in a very special way. I’m praying it can happen here, and many other places.
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