We all really wanted him to give us an answer to our questions, but he didn't.
Later, Jane commented that as American Christians we are eager to solve problems as soon as possible. But right now, the most important thing we can do is to recognize the depth of the problem that is before us, to really sit with the tension, to rest in the darkness.
God lives within this tension. He clearly sees the problems of the world, and of course he has the power to "solve" these problems if he chooses to do so. But instead, he allows us to experience uncertainty, questions, challenges and tensions. And it is out of the deep darkness, out of the struggles, that great faith is birthed and new visions for the future are obtained. Visions of faith that are not just cute names for a new churches, or new website designs, but new ways of living and believing.
At the last session, Brian encouraged everyone that perhaps one of the best things to do right now is not to search for a solution, but instead to deepen the dream in our hearts and minds. Through prayers, meditations, songs, poems, artwork and conversations, we can explore the depths of our questions and understand the undercover reasons for our discontent. We can better articulate our disappointments with the currents expressions of Christianity that we see around us. We can formulate a more powerful and invigorating dream for the future. Brian referenced the story of Nelson Mandela living in prison, dreaming of a new South Africa that would be free from apartheid.
I think my favorite section of the book "Everything Must Change" is Part 8: "A Revolution of Hope." On pg. 299, Brian writes this:
"But new kinds of faith communities are emerging, and more will emerge - virile, courageous, nurturing communities that center their theology on Jesus' revolutionary message of the kingdom and that center their lives on living out that radical message. These are communities of profound spiritual formation leading to liberating social transformation, and their continuing emergence is one of the most important developments in our time."I believe that our Emergent Cohort is one of these "new kids of faith communities," not just another church. And I know that I want to follow in the revolutionary way of Jesus Christ, and not just be another Christian. I want to dream, to write, to listen, to love and to fight. I want to love the Lord with all of my heart, soul and mind.
But first, I'm going to deepen the dream by waiting and exploring the tension....