Part of my research focuses on exploring the sense-making process of walking with the Spirit in community (specifically, how this works in the suburbs). Let me walk through the events and conversations of the last week in an effort to make some provisional sense from it for my own life, for my research, and for the life of the community of which I am a part.
Two Sundays ago I preached on the Third Way of Love. The path between a rock and a hard place, I proposed, is the path of Christ’s love. It is the kind of love that died on the cross to open up a third way between the two extremes. I used our church’s Holy Conversations as an example of being caught between a rock and a hard place. The Holy Conversations is a nine-month discernment process in which our Vision Board is deciding whether or not we will perform same-sex marriages in our church.
The three congregations represented in the RT are unique, but they are also similar in that they are members of the ELCA. Let us now turn our attention to the ELCA and explore how the ELCA context both contributes to and hinders the communicative space created in the DITB project and projected for the future of the missional church. One of the greatest dangers that the church faces in the twenty-first century is the increasing polarization between various factions along various ideological lines and the violence that often accompanies the disagreements between them. I have already noted, in the previous section, that the pedagogical shift toward communicative action is necessary for a missional imagination for spiritual formation in the local congregation that will find a third way between these dichotomies. I will further argue in the next section that the move toward a postfoundational theology will help the church hold the tension between these extremes and find a third way that leads to the peace of God in the world. Here, I will argue that the ELCA is well positioned to embrace the paradoxical tension held in the communicative space between polar extremes.
Toward a Missional Spirituality in the Suburbs