“Worthy of the Calling” (An Addendum)

As I wrote today’s “In the Office” reflection, I was thinking about a passage from a book I read recently. The book is The Great Spiritual Migration by Brian McLaren, and it offers some challenging and intriguing perspectives on the calling of God’s people in this volatile age. I thought about including McLaren’s thoughts in my earlier post – but decided it would be a little too long. So – for those who’d like a little something extra to ponder – here’s a sample:

In my travels, people repeatedly ask me what I think the church of the future will look like. I typically have two answers. First, I tell them I think this is a dangerous question. You can ask it in such a way as to mean “something is going to happen and I need to adjust to it.” That approach, I say, is profoundly disempowering. It diminishes you from being a protagonist in your own story to being an observer and a responder. It’s far better to ask, “What could and should happen with God’s help, and how can we pray and work together to help that possibility become a reality?

Then I tell them how I would answer that question. What I believe can and should happen is that tens of thousands of congregations will become what I call “schools” or “studios” of love. That’s the desired future to which I am passionately committed.

What I care about is whether they are teaching people to live a life of love, from the heart, for God, for all people (no exceptions), and for all creation.

These churches would aim to take people at every age and ability level and help them become the most loving version of themselves possible. They would help people face the challenges of life—challenges that could make them bitter, self-absorbed, callous, or hateful—with openness, courage, and generosity. They would help people recognize when they’re straying from the way of love and help them get back on the path.

If our churches make this migration, if they make the way of love their highest aim, they will experience what Paul prayed for in his Epistle to the Ephesians: their members will be “strengthened in [their] inner being with power through [God’s] Spirit, [so] that Christ may dwell in [their] hearts through faith, as [they] are being rooted and grounded in love” (Ephesians 3:16)

The Great Spiritual Migration, Brian McLaren
(Convergent Books, 2016)

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