Yes, I’m still not in a pulpit anywhere, but I’ve been thinking about what I’d like to engage a church family with when I find a position. You know, how will we intentionally grab onto the whole God story and start some stuff?
I’v been thinking about it for a while actually… and I’ve mentioned it before and talked about it with some friends… I’d like to explore what it means to do ecclesiology according to Jesus, and not so much according to Paul. The American Heritage Dictionary says that ecclesiology is “The branch of theology that is concerned with the nature, constitution, and functions of a church.”
I grew up in church doing ecclesiology, or “doing church,” almost exclusively with the Pauline letters and writings. Sure, throw in a little Jude and Peter now and again, but we mostly wrangled Paul’s stuf. And that sort of makes sense in a way… Paul was doing ecclesiology, and since that what we want and need to do (i.e. figuring out church), let’s start with him. But there is a problem with that approach. Paul did his ecclesiology a long time ago, in a very specific place and space. So, can we just cheat and copy his work?
Did you ever buy a college research paper online? Of course, I never did such a horrible thing, but again, it does make some sense. I mean, if someone else has already done a really good job of thoroughly examining the cash crop potential of raising Brazilian Emu in West Texas, why should I “re-invent the wheel?” You know the answer, don’t you… it’s because the actual content of the papers we wrote in college was most often secondary to the process and experience of doing the research and writing.
Sure, let’s research and reference Paul as a master in the field, but let’s also do the heavy lifting with the source stuff he worked with… the Lord Christ. Instead of just copying Paul’s work, can we join in the field of ecclesiology and make some valuable contributions? At least for our own time, space and place?
One last thing, tonight… I don’t think that this exercise I’m wanting to do will unearth any amazing, long lost secrets of ecclesiology. In fact, I figure that most of the major ecclesiological ideas that Christ models and teaches will illicit a few “no duhs” on our best days and a few “oh yeah, I need to work on that” on our worst days. I do believe that we might recover a good center, a solid core of identity issues that actually mattered to our King. And wouldn’t that make it worth while?
I’m gonna sleep some, and then come back to this.
Peace ya’ll, Todd