I was at a conference entitled 'Church in the Secular Age' and it had its moments. Clearly we are now on the margins and that is no bad thing. The further away we are from the centre the greater the chance of innovation and creativity. Indeed the further away we are from central church structures too the better it is for us to innovate.
The other things we need for innovation is a greater dynamic of meeting others. The more experiences we have of those that challenge us and annoy us then the more creative the ground for our renewal and transformation.
These were two (not original0 points that spoke loudest today. Which confirmed what a lot of fresh expressions and new ideas in the church are doing is really just adapting us for the world as it is now rather than rethink who we are which leads us to innovate so we have more meaning and a greater mission.
One of the insights was that we are very proud in the Church of Scotland that we have ordained women to ministry and eldership for over 50 years. But the truth is that the world was way ahead of us. Indeed the church really isn't able to address such issues, including ones such as same sex relationships, and other contemporary issues unless the world does. we always tend to follow society. Which is an interesting insight about the relationship between church and world.
But what the main thought for me was that we aren't yet able to let go the structures of the church and turn what is a noun into a verb and BE the church. We haven't yet got many, if any, models of church being an agent that changes our local communities into places of justice and welcome and faith.
If you are interested in any of this then come to Think Again each Tuesday in lent at 7.30 in the chapel. We'll have guests.