Bill Kinnon is a good guy…a bit "edgy" but that's why I like him. I haven't spent as much time with Bill as I would like…that might be a good thing because he's the type of guy that is an instigator of "trouble" (on second thought…). Bill's blog is worth taking a peek at…he's a video producer, author, thinker, ministry consultant, etc.
Today, Bill posted the photo below with the following comment:
"I confess that I have grown tired of those folk who want to tell us how the church has gotten just about everything wrong for the past seventeen hundred years – and somehow they are the ones who now see clearly. It's as if they think the Holy Spirit has been on an extended vacation."
Let me be clear…I believe in what the Holy Spirit is up to in our post-modernity soaked, post-Christendom, consumeristically-driven, and spiritually hungry culture. I love the fact that there are sincere and passionate followers of Jesus, some who have the mantle of leadership in local faith communities and some who are simply "voices crying in the wilderness", who are listening and being responsive to the Spirit's fresh "winds" in our time. So, it shouldn't come as a surprise that we are seeing renewed efforts by a wide variety of people to explore new paradigms of ministry (especially in the sphere of local church). Yet, and this is what I understand Bill's point to be, to be able to say unequivocally and unapologetically that we've (humanity) have been doing "church" wrong for hundreds of years and that for some reason what it happening NOW is really what faith and the Christian journey is meant to be is a bit wrong…in fact, it is a bit arrogant. Well, more than a bit arrogant…the Spirit has not been quiet, inactive, on vacation or whatever for the past centuries…the issue is that followers of Jesus attempted to do what they could do in their context to live responsively and faithfully under the leadership of the Spirit. Did they "get it right" all the time? No…just like we don't get it right all the time either. God's grace enables us to receive the "mystery of God's will" (Ephesians 1:9-10) and to attempt to do our best to actualize our passions for Kingdom living and Kingdom presence in our context…but to say in anyway that WE are doing it right NOW and that for 100's of years THEY got it wrong is a bit misguided. The point for all of us is this – we are responsible to listen to the Spirit and be faithful in our sphere of influence in our time with a keen ear to the Spirit's leadership and empowerment. We need to learn from the past but also be appreciative of what we have inherited from those "saints" who are preceeded us in serving and living the Kingdom of God. To "blast" the past is like saying to your mom and dad that they made a mistake in birthing and raising you with the traditions and values of your family. We all have things we want to change from what we inherited from our pasts…there are new paradigms or, better yet, Ancient-Future paradigms that we can explore and implement…but we have to have hearts of gratitude for the reality that we wouldn't be here if it weren't for those who passed on the baton of faith to us into our time and context. Bill's right, the Spirit hasn't been on extended vacation…let's praise God for the past (yes, just like families, warts and all) and then let's say "this is our time" and learn from the past and be responsive to the Spirit in the present as He leads us into the future. So, thanks Bill…now, let's get over ourselves and simply be faithful in our time with the gifts of God.