Saturday, June 07, 2008

Out of Sync

For years now I've been using PDAs as my second brain (some would say first brain!) A month or so ago I got another upgrade only to find out that it was perhaps a downgrade. The trouble is that it won't sync properly with my desktop computer at work. This is a nightmare for me as I'm not only always on the move adding stuff in myself, there are also 3 admin staff back at the office all with edit access too. If my desk-brain doesn't match my mobile-brain things go wrong.
Yesterday I met some great people in East London, John and Deanna Hayes, with their colleague and co-conspirator Darren Prince. They're at the heart of a global movement called InnerChange - a network with a lot of similarities to the the network I'm involved with which is called Eden. One thing struck me deeply about these guys (apart from the fact they seemed to prefer sitting on the floor to sitting on the sofa) - after decades of incarnational ministry in some of the world's poorest neighbourhoods they looked and spoke not as jaded or weary but as overflowing with hope and spiritual vitality.
And here's where we go back to the PDA and the desktop. You see, it's so easy to fall into a dualism. Ministry is one dimension of our life. Subsistence is another totally different dimension. Ministry involves the things we do for others, the things we sense to be within the sphere of our 'calling', it carries a certain attitude and outlook. Subsistence begins with the baseline of our own human needs but then ripples out to include our busyness and our relaxation, our aspirations and our anxieties. Many of us try to 'sync' these different spaces in our lives and we may do so with varying levels of success. When both sides are in harmony things feel good , there's a completeness. When the two clash there's the accompanying emotional struggle.
The thing was, when I met the InnerChange guys yesterday I simply got the sense that they don't have this dualism going on at all. They have simply found a way, perhaps by accident, perhaps by design, to live a fully integrated life in which daily subsistence weaves with devoted ministry.
John gave me a copy of his new book Sub-merge: Living Deep in a Shallow World- I'm about halfway through already, it's a really cracking read. The presence of the word merge is in the title is a big clue that these guys have really discovered something special in this area of living an integrated missional lifestyle. Needless to say I'm looking forward to seeing them again.

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1 comment:

Paul said...

Sub Merge is perhaps the best book on Incarnational ministry that I have yet read. The integratedness of the Inner Change folk must be partly to do with their commitment to spiritiual disciplines and a rhythm of life. Marjory Foyle in Honourably Wounded posits that protestant mission agencies need to learn from the rhythms of life of Catholic Mission Orders in order to foster sustainable ministry...Hence Scott Bessenecker and the New Friars, and the riches that new monasticism can glean for us in incarnational ministry here in the UK.

For me, the integratedness of life must be rooted in a good theology of the Trinity, combined with actually stepping out into the deep and a commitment to experiencing the love of the Trinity in contemplation. Check out Raniero Cantalamessa's recent work on the Trinity - charismatic catholic, Franciscan, and preacher to the papal Household. Mindblowing stuff.

Some form of rapprochement between evangelicals and catholics is inevitabel in post-Christendom - we share too much in common re: theology and ethics. i think the link will come from the charismatic movements in both groups combined with a renewed commitment to the poor. New Monastcism is already exploring this.

Orthodox Catholics dont have a problem with any part of the EA statement of faith - its why they can use the Alpha course. They just want to add bits about the Church etc.

BTW did you know that Ratzinger himself has suggested that Purgatory is not a place but an experience of the risen Christ on judgement day? Now thats rapprochement...check out my blog for the references