the end of religion
I hit the UofC yesterday to hang with John and spend some time listening to Bruxy Cavey, pastor of The Meeting House, talk about his new book, The End of Religion. His spiel was good. Nothing mind blowing, but good stuff. Where he really shone, however, was not in his lecture, but in the dialogue, especially when he was talking to people from outside of orthodox Christianity. He did a great job of listening, responding, explaining, and boldly disagreeing, without ever making anyone feel belittled or disregarded.
If I have a complaint, it’s that he seemed to oversimplify the relationship between grace and Torah, merely treating Torah as rules, and grace as principles. He talked as if Jesus’ claim to have fulfilled Torah was only about Him getting to the heart/purpose/principle behind the commands. Jesus certainly did that, but to pretend that there weren’t Jews who knew perfectly well that this was the case is a bit naive. They did, after all, repeat the shema everyday. I think he would have had a greater impact if he’d told the story as Paul does in Romans: Abraham as God’s solution to the Fall, Torah as a means to form Israel so as to fulfill the Abrahamic covenant, and Jesus as the fulfillment of that covenant, and thus of Israel’s and Torah’s purpose. But hey, I’m just a wee humble blogger who’s never published anything that didn’t require me to hit a publish button myself,
The best thing he said, and I paraphrase, was that we are a peculiar people. We gather every week to remember that it is not a weekly gathering that defines us. We read the scriptures and they tell us that simply reading and studying the scriptures don’t makes us who we are. We sing songs of worship, which refresh us with the knowledge that singing songs of worship isn’t what this thing is all about. He also, in Peter Rollins’ style, pointed out the great irony in the church being the institution that has preserved and transmitted the very scriptures that insist an institutional church never have our ultimate allegiance.
This gets at the heart of what it means to be a missional church. It means constant vigilance in order to keep Jesus and His Kingdom at the centre of who we are and what we do.