If you think this is just some desperate attempt in trying to be cool and come up with yet another buzz word‚ that’s not it!
Here’s my take on this:
For 500 years now‚ since the time of the Reformation of the Middle Ages‚ we’ve had basically three major confessions within what is considered “orthodox” (as in “proper”‚ not as in “Eastern Orthodox”) Christianity. But even the idea of “orthodox” Christianity sounds different depending on which of the representatives of one of these three major Christian confessions does the talking. Let me give you an example – I’m probably a ‘heretic” to some Catholics‚ to some Eastern Orthodox and I’m sure to some Protestants.In fact‚ the factions within in each branch are so numerous‚ it’s impossible for myself or the average person to keep up with them all – historically or in the present day.
Why would I be considered a “heretic” by the high-level clergy? Because I worship an idol? Because I deny the divinity of Christ‚ his virgin birth or his Second Coming? Nope. None of these.
If you look at my beliefs‚ I’m as close to the original confessions of the faith‚ I’d dare anyone to match my “creed card” results 🙂
But you see‚ I might be deemed a heretic mostly because I don’t subscribe to the ecclesiastical or liturgical form of these different bodies. And they have transferred their toxic culture of sectarianism to their constituents and…well‚ here’s how you get all your divisions and schisms.
At the same time‚ there’s a yearning in the hearts of many‚ many believers‚ to see believers come together as one. After all‚ Jesus prayed this special prayer at the end of his earthly life‚ commonly known as his “High-priest prayer”
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message‚ that all of them May be one‚ Father‚ just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world May believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me‚ that they May be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they May be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” John 17:20-23
So why is unity so elusive? Why don’t we get along – people from different confessions‚ denominations and movements? Certainly‚ this is not what Jesus died for‚ right?
As I said already‚ the traditional way clergy have handled differences in adhering to their specific form of liturgy‚ is to declare “anathema” on the dissenters and boom – another denomination is born. May be.
Or‚ May be the dissenters simply are told they’re now lost‚ damned and practically already burning in hell. Some May even be. So they give up and their revolt is squashed.
But for the most part‚ this tension between keeping the Christian tradition while looking for new forms‚ has been very painful and has caused a lot of unnecessary weakening of the Body of Christ. And for the most part‚ the way I see it in history‚ if it wasn’t for those dissenters who kept pushing the envelope and kept refusing to accept the status quo‚ where would we be today? Many times the “status quo” was in fact more like “status demonicus” if there ever was such term. I mean the level of corruption in the Church at times was so bad‚ if it was ever depicted in a movie‚ it would make the makers of a modern R-rated movie blush.
So‚ here’s the problem again – we get too hung up on the form and we forget the essence of Christianity.
The Church has traditionally been so identified with the liturgy‚ so much of what we have thought of as Christianity has been shaped by the liturgical format of one or another tradition or confession‚ to a point of compromising the very essence of what our faith is all about.
Did Jesus come to give us a new liturgical form? He didn’t? He taught both in the temple and in the fields of Israel. He taught at people’s homes‚ healed people by the town’s pool‚ allowed a prostitute to wipe his feet with oil (I hope someone doesn’t get the wild idea to start a new movement based on those few verses!).
So yes‚ that’s us – the human race. God is not in shock of any of that. He knows our propensity to self-importance and arrogance. He’s probably laughing at most of it. Or crying‚ depending on the extremes.
I believe Jesus came to give us “the core” truth of the Kingdom and he is perfectly okay with us to find the forms that work.
In programming language – he came to give us the source code and is now allowing us to build what he has called us to build‚ depending on the many variables – culture‚ geography‚ history‚ economic conditions.
That’s what “open source” Christianity is about – it’s about what works. It’s about holding on to the non-negotiable core truths and teachings of the Kingdom‚ while taking our liberty of constructing whatever He has called us to construct – communities of believers (formerly called “churches”)‚ business enterprises‚ social enterprises‚ cities‚ national cultures‚ civilizations. I don’t care if you’re from one denomination or another‚ one confession or another.
Is your Christianity working? Are you bearing fruit? Or are you dried up by dead religious works and condemnation. Or are you sinking in your own post-modern relativism and you don’t even know it?
Which is it? There has to be loyalty and commitment to historic truth. There has to be creativity and pursuit of the most advanced‚ innovative ways to connect with our communities‚ our world.
This is also what I call the reformation of the Church. It has to lead to the transformation of our world‚ beginning with our families‚ communities and cities. If it doesn’t – go back to the Word. May be you’re a bit too hung up on the form‚ but have missed the core‚ the source of the very life we have from God.
Okay‚ so before we take off into space‚ let me bring you back to earth – this is about an ongoing search of the essence of who Jesus is‚ who the Father is‚ who the Holy Spirit is‚ what God’s Kingdom is all about‚ who are we in Christ and how do succeed in this awesome task of praying and living out his will and his Kingdom – on earth as it is in Heaven.