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Friday 17 February 2012

Returning to a classic

'It is only in the imparting of an outward-turned Christianity that we have any hope of achieving Christianity.  ...  Christianity must be a force that moves outward, and a Christian community is basically in existence "for others".  That is the whole meaning of a Christian community.'
So wrote Vincent Donovan in his profoundly inspiring Christianity Rediscoverd: An Epistle from the Masai first published in 1978. Here he means 'force' in the sense of energy and dynamism. To be people of faith and mission we have to be people on the move, looking forward and outward, towards the rest of the world and the people we encounter. To be a static 'come to us' community is a corruption of the faith to which we are called.

I've thought of these words often over recent weeks whilst I've been working with different groups thinking about vocation and Christian action.  (Incidently time-consuming preparation and follow up to those groups is why there's been no blog for a while. You might like to take a look at some of work from one group at Soul Leadership.)  What struck me from all the groups was a recognition of a radical shift in the way faith can be communicated, or even heard, in contemporary society.  Out of that recognition there was also clear determination amongst everyone I worked with to find ways of speaking up and speaking out.  When it's all too easy to feel rather defensive about the life of faith, here were folks wholeheartedly striving for that outward-turned Christianity of which Donovan wrote.  Real inspiration.

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