Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Shift

I had another "vision" recently (to see why I put the word "vision" in quotes, see this blog). I was reading David Bosch's Transforming Mission while riding inside a Boeing airplane as it landed. The following unfolds my unfolding and refolding "vision."

I envisioned the end of the so-called "Christian academy," with the continuance of the church and the academy.

The idea scares me a little. Imagine the job loss, the slew of people applying for the few jobs open at the remaining colleges and universities. Hopefully the other private and public academies could hire more employees as Christians started attending other schools. The transition would take forever, if it were possible at all. Perhaps my vision is more of a way things could have been. Perhaps it is a vision of a way things could be, in some places.

Imagine towns like Boiling Springs as they writhe in the loss of their local economy. Imagine the buildings searching for purpose.

Outside the horror of this impossible transition, things would be set right.

Young Christians like myself would no longer separate themselves from the world with the invisible, permeable wall we build around our Christian institutions. Although I know people with a diverse set of beliefs, all but a few are self-proclaimed Christians. Such a situation cannot be what Paul meant when he wrote the famous statement about being in the world, but not of it. On the flip side, young Christians would be forced to create koinonia and forced to engage in a practical life of Christianity as they interact with the world.

The academy will then have a more proper separation from the church, because it will not be a schismatic event within the church. Instead of being a body divorcing, it will be natural. It will be a separation because the two are not of the kind that they can be one. Like a table cannot be a human, that Church cannot be one with the Academy.

Imagine a church that handles education--all the education. A church that teaches New and Old Testament classes with or without indoctrination, with or without possibilities, and with or without forums. A church that attempts to prepare the congregation to engage in ideas that are threatening to each Christian's private faith--or more importantly, a church that is available to engage those threatening ideas in a responsible way.

Imagine. Just imagine the possibilities and the consequences--the bad and the good, in all their (im)possibility.

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