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Those of us who find a place in church, have no position from which to critique anyone for whom church is not a useful formulation.

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As I have pondered the challenge church presents particularly to people who did not grow up with any communal/institutional expression of faith, I have begun to wonder what it really is that keeps so many people so firmly planted outside of church.

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While wanting absolutely to remain sensitive to people for whom church does not work, perhaps, we who find ourselves fed and nourished by this curious practice, should not allow ourselves to be totally preoccupied with those who find spiritual sustenance without the need for any formal religious practice.

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There are no easy answers to the struggle with church. But, it is vital that we in the church, listen sensitively to those who struggle with our institutional expressions and that we seek to respond openly and authentically to the challenge they present. If we refuse to heed the genuine plea being uttered, we deserve the extinction that often seems to lurk just around the next corner.

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I have been conducting an email exchange with a person who is struggling with the idea of church.

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Next week I will meet for the first time with a new Parish Council (elected leadership) of the parish in which I serve. We will begin by discussing how we hope to work together. To facilitate our discussion we will look at some notes on how we might seek to be together in leadership.

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Why church?

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The qualities that govern our life together as a church community may in many cases seem to run counter to the qualities that predominate in most of the organizational structures that are taken for granted as normative in the world outside the church.

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Churches are living beings (“the body of Christ” I Corinthians 12:27). Living beings are not tidy or predictable. At times they inevitably operate in ways that may seem poorly planned. This slightly anarchic quality in churches makes it vital that the leadership hold firm adherence to the underlying principles that guide the life of the community.

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Every years, around this time, many churches find themselves beginning to work under the guidance of a new Parish Council/Church Board/Board of Elders.

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You have set my feet in a spacious place ~ Psalm 31:8

Pre-April 2010 posts: http://inaspaciousplace.blogspot.com/

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