What Holds Us Together?

A while back Joel preached a sermon where he talked about a theory originated by Phyllis Tickle that the Christian Church goes through a great shift or reformation approximately every 500 years. Tickle (and Joel) used the metaphor of the 500-year rummage sale as a way to think about how every once in a while the Church needs to reevaluate the things it is holding on to and what needs to be let go. 

If this theory holds any water, it means we are in the midst of another great shift. Do you feel it?

Author and Mennonite pastor Meghan Larissa Good picks up on these ideas in her recently published book, Divine Gravity: Sparking a Movement to Recover a Better Christian Story. She points out that the last great shift during the time of Martin Luther and the Reformation happened for a number of reasons, including the advent of groundbreaking technological developments, widespread scandals and abuses within the Church, and growing questions about authority.

Sound familiar?

Good writes, “Some will suggest that Christianity has reached its expiration date and is slowly dying out. But others may glimpse within the turmoil the intentional movement of a Spirit who has always excelled at creating out of chaos.” Regardless of where you find yourself on that spectrum, I think we should always be asking ourselves these kinds of questions and being willing to reimagine what our faith can be.

Within these ever-shifting theological sands, however, there eventually comes a time when we ask “What holds us together?” If we are constantly reimagining, repenting, reorienting, and remaining open to new questions, what is it that unites us? What is the “divine gravity” at the center of our communal life of faith? 

You may have seen in recent announcements that I was starting a new short-term small group to read and discuss Good’s book. I only had a small number of people available on the suggested days/times, so I’ve decided to postpone the group for now. The topic feels relevant enough and even though I’m only one chapter in, I think she is asking some very engaging questions, so my hope is to find another time to bring this group together. 

If you are interested in exploring this book and these questions together, please let me know.