And so, to finish this weeks ‘V’ themed posts, I turn to volume! There are two lots of volume that are a struggle to juggle in the course of ministry. Firstly, the amount of stuff that always wants done in contrast to what we should really be focussed on. Secondly, there is the volume at which that stuff shouts at you until its satisified in contrast to turning down the volume of ‘stuff’ until we can get to the place of hearing the still small voice of God.
I’m still a noisy charismatic/evangelical at heart…much of my faith development is wordy: in books, the bible, talks, seminars and noise. But as I’ve said before, I’ve been so appreciative to God for the gift of silence, of clearing the clutter, simplifying and the spiritual disciplines of contemplative Christianity. I’m appreciating much more the various streams of the Christian tradition to the extent that I struggle to identify with one in particular, but actually with many. Are we surprised? Is it not the case that God works across his whole church in spite of us at times?
From Salvationists, I’ve heard the gospel for the poor, the fight for social justice and the vast nature of rescuing and purifying power of God.
From Methodists, the call to preach the gospel and band men and women together for discipleship.
From the Evangelicals, a commitment to the Word of God and an appreciation of God’s heart on paper as an account of his dealings with people in history and today.
From (Ana)Baptists, the power of the peace witness, multi-voiced church, the functioning of the body of Christ in discerning the will of God, and the missional response to post-Christendom.
From Charismatics, the heart of worship and the willingness of the Spirit to empower for ministry.
From the Orthodox Church, the amazing mystery of God, recognising there is so much we don’t know and the ongoing journey of discovery.
From the Celtic monastic tradition, a passion for God in the every-day, a simple daily prayer office of keeping appointment with God, a rule of life which speaks of availability and vulnerability before God and the world.
From the Missional Church, a creative burst of freedom to arrange church around the cause of Christ and the mission he calls us to.
From the Fresh Expression movement, so many creative and innovative connecting points with the world.
From the Roman Catholic church, that great doctrine of incarnation, being alongside people, getting stuck in, commitment no matter what, and the beautiful wisdom of people like Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, Mother Theresa, Richard Rohr and many more.
Each of these streams, and more, seem to have various volume controls in our Christian experience if we remain close to anything but our own tradition, our own environment. If we get to busy with the clamour of our own systems and stop to hear the whole counsel of what God wants to give, we’re taking part in great adventures in missing the point. There is so much richness in Christian Spirituality.
Hasten the day when becoming a follower of Jesus means all those things and more as we learn the path of obedience and pledge allegiancee to him.