Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Church as Puzzle

Examining each piece of the puzzle,
we are finding ourselves undoing an image of beauty,
but the image became familiar
and with familiarity a false sense of normality,
and we failed to see the lines that separate the pieces.

The lines exist.
The lines exist because of the puzzle’s rhythm,
the deconstruction, examination, construction, contemplation
of the puzzlers’ practice,
like the winter, spring, summer, and fall of Creation’s experience.

Where are the puzzlers’ now?
Some are in the winter of deconstruction, others in spring’s examination,
moving toward the summer of construction and the fruitful season of
contemplation. Yet, some are emerging in their own seasons,
and the puzzle is waiting, simply, for the new image that it will
reveal to the world.

I’ve had the book, “An Emergent Manifesto of Hope” in my backpack for the past two weeks. I finally found the time to read it in my Methodist History class; I know, I know, I should be listening, but I figure that napping would be more of a distraction than reading. Either way, in the first chapter, Mark Scandrette discusses the growing pains of Emergent. Of the emergent church. His discussion caused me to think about the church as a jigsaw puzzle, with all of its pieces locked together, and the emergent movement, whichever form it takes, wherever it takes it(?), as persons within the church dismantling the pieces and examining them in new ways. At some point, though, some of us sit in the midst of the pieces, mourning the picture that was once the church. For me, mourning because I am losing (have lost?) that false sense of normality which created some sense of security. I don’t find myself fully in winter, and as seasons are cyclical and not linear, maybe I’m in the backside of the fall of contemplation. Either way, I wanted to highlight the lines that exist within puzzles because every time I look at a puzzle, I rarely notice them. Yet, they’re there because puzzles are meant to be taken apart and put back together. Today, the Church is much like a puzzle to me, and I am holding my own piece, both contemplating and mourning, yet looking forward to examination and construction. Fortunately, I’m not sitting on the floor, alone, in the midst of the thousands of pieces that make up the church. There are those who have been at this a long time, those who are just now taking their own piece(s) out of the whole, and those who have more together for the new image than any of us; these sit with me, with us, and together we are faithfully trying to create an image for the world that reveals the good news.

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