Fresh Expressions

Wild Faith

I stumbled upon a conversation that interested me this morning. I do this fairly frequently, wander around the internet but taking time to intentionally recognise the beautiful and true things I find there. I have even described and presented some of them as cyber pilgrimages.

#nithmirror #Insight

The conversation I enjoyed this morning was about wilding though, and wildness in the Church context in particular. You can find the full discussion here and I recommend watching it. What follows is merely a selection of brambles I found ripe and ready in the bushes.

The Church is always in crisis, sometimes it is actually aware of this and these are the moments where there is an awe inspiring opportunity to participate in Gods breathing of life into the body. Like a snake shedding it’s skin to grow, the living faith of the dead can emerge, tender, from the brittle bark of traditionalism. This requires moving from a conservation model of community however.

Do our communities perceive the crisis as being empty pews and crumbling buildings, or an arrogant attitude of providing “The Answer” rather than space for people to find words for the questions they need to ask? The fabric of victoriana is a heavy burden we have inherited, but just as they drew on far older art to give shape to their follies, we too have an inheritance that can lead to global renewal.

The sheep within the fold find comfort in rooting themselves within the walls. However the process of wilding is different to that of regeneration, or renewal. Rather than selecting a model of Church, or time, to renew wilding involves exploration and searching for signs of growth. Rather than pruning or replanting a mighty oak, it involves nurturing many seedlings and finding out what will grow in the soil.

This should be obvious for anyone who has read Jesus story about the wheat and the tares. Wilding in contrast with re-wilding, is a process and a way of being, rather than a programme. Perhaps it requires skills of patience, observation and prophecy in a leader rather than management and direction.

As the health crisis rises again in much of the UK, I feel a nagging urge to adapt, and find new ways to be church even though it is unwise (and often illegal) for more than two housholds to mix at one time. Perhaps it is time to shed our husks and enter the soil to rest. In the hope of course that when the sun returns, with warmer weather, then we will germinate with fresh activity to grow in the spring and become fruitful.

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