I’m torn today between feeling that I should start some “alternative expression” commuter church, flinging placards across my evangelical chest and inviting spiritual strangers to join me in prayer of a morning (carriage 3 of 7), or remaining a bystander.
The problem with starting something is now the expectation surrounding all things “alternative”. At his talk at Greenbelt this year, Pete Rollins said that starting ikon had been an organic process with no thought as to its purpose let alone its eventual impact.
In the current climate, if you have an idea that goes beyond the boundaries of normal church it is inevitable that alongside this kernel of inspiration is the hope for impressed recognition. If not from the masses, then at least from the religious publishers, funding from the CofE Fresh Expressions pot and perhaps a post from a blogger or two.
Being innovative is de rigeur.
But does it meet a need?
I’m wondering, if I were to put myself out there, in a situation that does not invite proactive engagement, for the purpose of meeting the spiritual need of strangers I’m not even sure exists, would it be because I thought it was a good idea. Or because other people might think it a good idea.
I would be the Danny Wallace of the emerging church movement. Worse than that, I would be attempting to invade the emerging church ‘thing’ with the tactics of Danny Wallace. Alienating those who had been doing this shit for years. And doing it badly. (Mostly because my heart would be in the wrong place from the off).
How many things being funded by Fresh Expressions, or being described as ’emerging’ are desperate individuals wanting to have their ideas and their theology thrust into a limelight that self-promotes rather than enriches the lives of those taking part?
Innovation seems to distance itself so much from traditional Church, perhaps because these same individuals are reacting the only way establishment can let them, without straying too fully from the orthodox path?
I am on the outskirts of Church and I always have been. It would make no sense to sidle in through the back door…