Posted by: rogermitchell | May 27, 2012

A few reflections along the way

One of the funny things about being me is that many people find me difficult to understand, but I remain convinced that this is because I am taking a very simple standpoint and applying it to profound and complex issues and people mistake the complex issues for the simple standpoint. They can’t see the wood for the trees. Now that I’m attempting to push back to the basics it seems to some, as Cheryl and Chris helpfully discuss in their comments on the last post, like I’m missing something out, or making a leap. Of course the gaps will need to be filled in, and that’s what I’m asking for collaboration in, so that we can put a course together that thinking, but not necessarily intellectual or academically inclined people, can be helped by. But my intention remains to keep the coming Kenarchy Course as simple as possible. Basically I am an evangelist of the good news (euaggelion) of the kingdom of God, which is why although I have to squint quite a bit to sign something like the EA statement of faith, I regard myself as 100% evangelical, or to put it literally, ‘goodnewsical’!

I began as a children’s evangelist, and my grasp of Jesus and his kingdom was learnt from children’s evangelists as a boy. The good news of Jesus and his kingdom that I learnt then was in stark contrast to the frequently legalistic and prejudicial teaching of the Christian Brethren church life and background in which I grew up. [See my book The Kingdom Factor (Marshall Pickering 1985), a few copies of which I still have available if you email me.]

I haven’t essentially shifted from that original ground, based on a personal ‘now’ encounter with the Jesus of the gospels, summed up in the statement ‘I believe the Jesus of the gospels to be both the Jesus of history and the God of eternity, who shows us what God is like and what humans can be like in relationship with him.’

My theological research is the result of asking the question, how can we explain the Western world and its history, and the church’s place within it, from the position of this simple standpoint. It asks how we can reconfigure our understanding of God, church and human being today and sets about doing it. Although it is a simple standpoint, it’s not static. It’s part of an ongoing ecounter and relationship with God and other people, and this blog and the attempt to put together a Kenarchy Course is all part of that.

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Responses

  1. Probably a lot of the misunderstanding comes from the fact that most peoples God is so misaligned by empire and viewed through an empirial box that the freedom that you live in is foreign to them. They haven’t been on the journey of God Spirit destroying their worldview through relational love and rebuilding it again. They are trying mega hard to fit not just what you are saying but how you say it and live it into their box. It can’t fit the box, so there either allow it to fry their brain so the Spirit can life or the spit it out!

    Thank God for people like you and Sue who are helping those of us who are on a similar journey to understand how to be more goodnewsical!

  2. Although the idea of the Christian journey might be sometimes overworked in general terms, it seems to be positively absent for many Christians when it comes to theological issues. I find it curious and, to be blunt, immensely sad that many Christians – even some of those who have journeyed across the ecclesia and way out far beyond the congregation – express their faith in the same unquestioned and unquestioning cliches and platitudes of their earliest days as a Christian. Surely the theological journey of interaction with the Spirit, the Creation, the Book and the People is as much a dynamic, unpredictable, developing adventure as any other part of Christian living – or it certainly ought to be!

    I am completely (and happily) ambivalent about whether I am regarded or regard myself as evangelical or not – though, on balance, I would rather be regarded as ‘not’ than it be assumed I sign up to a particular church party or creed (including the EA one!) Much more important (to me) is the sense of being free to explore and review my beliefs in the light of life in the Spirit and fellowship with others (and the Creation and the Book, as above). When you factor in the two millennia of constant imperial theological remixes and the slavish conformation that creates (often through conFIRMation!), the need to break out of the confines and challenge the presuppositions seems to me axiomatic if the desire is to be an authentic disciple of Jesus . It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. If you pardon the metaphor, these days I feel like a dog that has been released from a long leash and can now choose to go sniffing round, theologically speaking, but find I always choose to return to the ‘Master’!

    Further, the conversation with the ecclesia and the sensibilities particular to that kind of inter-view represents only one direction of debate. The other direction is away from ecclesia (as we know it) to face and take part in the ongoing dialectic with the God-fearer and unbeliever. I would say one of the most profound and exciting evidence I experience of the rightness of a kenarchic approach to God is from people who know not even a syllable of the ‘language of the Kingdom’, but seem straight away to ‘get it’. Of course, that is what God is like, they say, now you’ve explained it, it’s obvious – why didn’t I see it before?!

    Thanks, Roger!

  3. is there any such thing as a “former” child evangelist. Do we ever really get it out of our system ? I sincerely hope not. !! How will you explain kenarchy to the average 8 year old ? I think it’s a very important concept for teachers and children’s workers to communicate. In my opinion the attitudes that make people feel free to take advantage of each other, push each other around and create domination pecking orders starts in the play ground long before it ever gets to the board room or the pcc.


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