Over most of the summer I relaxed with the family and laughed a lot.I read a little bit, but to be honest not too much.
I caught up with many that have read The Shack. I found this an interesting book which caused me to think more about relationship and how God the Trinity exists and operates in relationship, and particularly how the relationship of perichoresis of the Trinity affects how I operate in relationship with others.
This became the subject of some discussion between myself and Sarah, and later on our second holiday with Chris and Gary as well. A topic we spoke a bit about was relationship and leadership, particularly in relation to the church.
There were some parts where relationship is discussed in terms of not being about power or winning and losing, but about love and respect. ‘Relationships are never about power, and one way to avoid the will to power is to choose to limit oneself – to serve…. we don’t need power over one another because we are always looking to serve .. once you have a hierarchy you need rules to protect and administer it and you end up with some kind of chain of command …. you rarely see or experience relationship apart from power. Hierarchy imposes laws and rules and you end up missing the wonder of relationship that we intended for you.’
As I said … we chatted. Surely you need leadership for church to work, after all who will make decisions. But … if relationship is all about serving then a hierarchy of leadership is not needed. I’d love to see this in operation in the community gathering – but it is so alien to us that it will be difficult to work in such a way. I thnik I agree with the book – I cans ee how our need for leadership and systems can cause us to miss out on relationship. Proper, genuine relationship needs all to limit themselves and seek to serve each other – I wonder that if we can achieve this can we really gain greater understanding of and something from God that is seriously missing from our lives and our churches.
A church where all serve all with no need for anyone to adopt a power chain of command … that’s the sort of church I want to belong to. Actually – I wonder whether we can even use the term church, which all the negative word association that has for many, to describe such a community.
There are some interesting reviews around for The Shack – it has caused a stir here and there.
There is one here from the Evangelical Alliance and another one from the Ship of Fools. Personally, I didn’t love it or hate it. Nothing particularly annoyed me, but then nothing particularly wowed me either. It was a good summer read! I read it because I wanted to be able to join with what others are saying. It has certainly made me think about some stuff and I enjoy anything that can possibly enlarge my image and understanding of God. Maybe The Shack did, I’m not sure yet.