*This blog was intended for here but put on Samurai by mistake.
I have been putting a lot of time into the study of spiritual formation and our Baptist heritage. I have been doing this in response to Dr. Rick Davis’ call for a ministerial guild.
I have come to the conclusion that in our current culture, the task of spiritual formation is the most important work and the hardest work we engage in. As has been said in an earlier blog, the only way a Baptist church can function as our faith heritage believes a church should operate, is to develop a theologically literate community. However, in a culture that worship the dollars as deity, the value of becoming a practicing priest doesn’t have that much of an appeal.
I have become a hard (and often harsh) critic of our Baptist conventions. They have become more work programs (and not very effective work programs) for individuals who either forgot their calling or were never called to minster in the first place. If it were not for the responsibility I feel toward the generations coming after us, it would be easy to wash one’s hands and walk away.
No, for the church in the West to recover we will need to find a way to link with one another through the work of spiritual formation more than through our historic denominational connections. It will be the priesthood (more specifically the vocationally called within the priesthood of the believers) that will carry the light in these dark days.
In the middle ages when the Christian faith face the challenge of a corrupt church and a hostile world, communities developed to help the faith remain focus and to preserve the spiritual knowledge passed down from the apostles who had been taught by Jesus. These communities not only preserved the faith, they helped to thrive.
I am working with a few others who believe like I do that we are entering a time of radical change in the church. The Western church is in a nose dive and the entertainment driven, market focused churches will not have the strength or the will to face what the church is going to face. By using technology and ancient practices that have proven timeless in developing disciples perhaps a new connection, a new community of faith can be developed.