reposting a re-formatted version of this lecture on "Nones" and all I gave last year in Dallas. Section 1 about The Revolution. Section 2 about how The Revolution was made. Section 3 about examples of Revolutionary Communities. Section 4 about the specific role of Nones and Spiritual But Not Religious and the Revolutionary Risk required of us. Section 5 about living into the Revolutionary Why question, and deeper and fuller into our historical covenants. This section gets to what I would more strongly emphasize now: We have to answer the question of Whose We Are, before we can figure out why we exist and what mission that then requires us to be on which calls our various communities into existence in the first place, but I think that will have to be another story.
One Mission, Many Communities: What The Post Congregational World Requires of Us by Rev. Ron Robinson
I. The Revolution
It is said that we often have only a few topics in our hearts and on our minds that we find ways to preach about over and over again. I thought of that in coming here today, because I had been thinking about the very first sermon I ever preached. I was seventeen. It was 1971. The setting was my United Methodist church in Turley, Oklahoma on the northern edge of Tulsa, then as now far from any cultural center or place of power, though it was a thriving blue collar community then right in the midst of the ethnic and economic changes that would create it as what it is today, an abandoned place of the American Dream Empire. My text was from a kind of contemporary Hebrew prophet; it was from the book Revolution For the Hell of It by the Yippie prankster Abbie Hoffman.
So, if they aren’t coming to church, the new missional revolutionary church says, go to them. And to make that easier, quit thinking of the church as a thing, as a what, as an It, and remember it is a Who. In this way the postmodern church is returning again to the sense of itself as a force, a movement, an organism, as it was in the early premodern era, and not so much as a fixed identifiable object such as the modern era prized. For Church, it bears repeating, is at heart not a 501c3 religious organization; it can and has existed, in ancient and emerging times, without bylaws, boards, budgets, and buildings, and clergy. Church does not have to be thought of as “a” church, that one “goes to” on the corner of this and that, and is even named a certain thing, but church can be lived out organically as a way people, two or more at a time, especially in covenant, participate as expressions of “the church.”Imagine. Church anywhere, anytime. Especially if intentionally sparked.
to feel unique, which is a reaction of scarcity, and can unite us not in spite of our
different spiritual wellsprings, as much as it can provide a reason why we need our
different spiritual wellsprings, why we need to share the full gifts of our different
spiritual sources, and why we then need to go deeper within them. But it is in the
outpouring of our selves for the sake of others, even, even, when we are empty and
feeling abandoned too, that we will find our common ground among us, and with
others, especially those least like us in the places waiting for us, even us.