Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Alamo

Last week I was in San Antonio and had a bit of time to walk about the Alamo. I had done so years ago, but I was in college and I don't think I could appreciate the gravity of what transpired on that plot of ground. It was a bit weird for me to walk around in the very place where things transpired that shaped history in significant ways. There a little under 200 volunteers stood for something in which they believed against all odds of victory and impending death. They fought for independence from Mexico, but the reality is that they did not really know what they were fighting for. They did not have great philosophical leaders like those who led the American Colonies to fight for independence from England. They did not have a clear picture of the future of Texas. They only know that what they had been experiencing was not working. And the fact is that many of the volunteers did not even have a first hand experience of the Mexican government because they were part of Davy Crockett's band and they were from Tennessee. 

As I reflected on what happened at that point in history, I began to ponder that we find ourselves in a very similar place today in the church. We know that we need more or something different from our previous experience of church. We find ourselves facing a reality that cannot be ignored. Life in the church as we know it fails to live up to the dreams of the Kingdom that Jesus initiated. 

We are also surrounded by droves of people are who are trying to pressure the church to conform to standard expectations. And in may cases these are the people who have the official power within church structures. They are those who have been at the center of church life for a long time and they have a plan for making the church a better version of the past. And while they are not seeking to force it on people with violence, they will do everything in their power to withstand that which occurs on the fringes. 

But there are people on the fringes who are doing church in unexpected ways. They don't have it fully worked out. They don't have all of the answers, but they are looking and searching for new patterns of church life that fits our time. These people on the fringes don't have a master plan for the future of the church. We are like those in the Alamo who are fighting for a future that we don't fully understand. We only know that we have to fight for something different.

1 comment:

Kelly said...

This sounds so much like conversations about church I used to have with myself (and sometimes with you!) sparked by the BSU: What is 'church'? What should it be? Can you "do" church apart from standard ecclesiastical structures? Questions I'm still asking; glad to see you're working on answering them!