Unity of the Church and Mission

Bosch has an interesting section in his chapter on “The Missionary Paradigm of the Eastern Church”, where he discusses the relation between the church and mission in the Eastern Orthodox tradition. In understanding missional paradigms, it’s important to understand the “why” behind the “what”. This becomes very important during the medieval paradigm. The Orthodox paradigm may seem rather inert compared to present day enterprises, but I think they deserve credit for stressing the oneness of the church so much in their understanding of mission. Sometimes it’s easy (dizzying really) to look at all the missional endeavors, justifications, and causes today and forget that there is a unified, organic, concrete whole that functions as the container of God’s blessing and the expression of His grace. When that corporate vessel is endangered, maybe it’s time to reevaluate what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.

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Psalm 24: the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, and the Coming King

This has been a tumultuous year.

The events of December 18, 2010 set off the Arab Spring nearly on the eve of the new year. The distrust, disgust, and dissatisfaction with the current economic, political, and social conditions quickly spread throughout much of the Middle East and North Africa.

Tunisia and Egypt both ousted their long-standing presidents and overthrew the governments (Ben Ali for 24 years and Mubarak for 30 years). Libya erupted in civil war resulting in the fall of its long-standing regime under Gaddafi for 42 years.

Of course Uncle Sam has been reeling with his own financial problems and political dissidence. People are unemployed, foreclosed upon, living with little or no health insurance, and in major debt. They are the 99%.

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The Central Thought of Psalms in Four Words

Of all the books of the Bible, none other tops the Hot 100 chart more consistently than Psalms.

The Psalms are inspiring, poignant, prophetic, and personal. They span history, prophecy, and theology in one swoop. They reveal both the height of divine majesty and the depth of human depravity. They’re used for prayer, praise, meditation, and devotion.

But what are they all about?

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The Architectural Roots of Humanism (1)

Lying quiet in the shadow of the Hellenistic flourish a few centuries before Christ, when Rome appropriated the architecture of the Greek and Etruscan colonies, it was selective in its borrowings and adapted geometry to a new use: the active experience of space through the novelty of the arch.Then there was the dome, and all of the sudden Imperial Rome was heralding its grandeur through large scale, massive, state funded architecture.

Architecturally, the Renaissance was a looking back upon and a scrutinizing of Classical antiquity, with the realization that they had gotten something right.

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When “Going to Church” was Coming Home

Act 2:46 – And day by day, continuing steadfastly with one accord in the temple and breaking bread from house to house, they partook of their food with exultation and simplicity of heart

This is a picture of the earliest discovered (231 AD) Christian home that was used for a meeting place. It was discovered in Syria and is called the Dura-Europos house church. The meeting area is on the left and the baptistery is on the right, toward the back.

I found this interesting quote from Spiro Kostof’s A History of Architecture:

“Indicative of a repressed and plebeian movement, the places of worship were exceedingly modest. Centers for the community were set up in remodeled, outwardly inconspicuous houses… To the first generations of believers the church was where the Christians were. The word ecclesia, “church,” signified the community of Christ that had no need for prescribed buildings to proclaim its faith and reaffirm its bonds. The people were the architecture. In the century or so before Constantine the random gathering places of this primitive Christianity slowly began to be formalized, and with the sudden breakthrough of the imperial conversion, the necessity of a monumental built order to project prestige and authority came to be recognized.”