One of the courses that I have been teaching this fall is on ecclesiology (the church). It has been wonderful to interact with students from a diverse array of backgrounds and denominations. I have loved facilitating the conversation and orchestrating their interactions over the readings.
It has also been interesting for me to do this during a period when I am not in pastoral ministry for the first time in 18 years! I have been visiting different churches as I am teaching this class and that has been an eye opening experience in some ways.
I was researching something else and I stumbled on an author, Len Sweet, who played an important part in getting me to Portland the first time. I had lost track of his work since I was focused on more academic stuff the past 7 years. It turns out that he is even more into Jesus than he used to be! He is really Jesus-centric.
If you want to read an interesting interview with him, check this out [link].
Anyway, I want to share one quick idea with you:
Sweet has this idea called ‘Theography’ – like Jesus is a story (biography) of God. This idea is interesting on its own. Jesus as theography is an intriguing concept.
What I am more interested in, however, is taking this concept and expanding it for the purpose of ecclesiology.
If Jesus is a theography – does that make the church a Christography?
Are we telling the story of Christ by how we are in the world?
Church as Christography is a concept that I want to explore in the new year. What does it mean to participate in the narrative of God? How do our communities continue the unfolding story of God’s love in Christ? Is the Spirit of Christ the animating presence in our churches? Is the life of the Spirit how God is telling a story with us?
This concept just holds so much possibility. What are the implications for our framing metaphors of ‘the body of Christ’, the bride, the temple of the Holy Spirit, the people of God, etc. ? Does it help us get away from a substance-essence debate? Does it undo the limitations of foundational understandings in a fluid culture?
Let me know if you have any thoughts. Do you like the idea of the church are the ongoing story of Christ?