Making Room: New Series, New Initiative
This weekend we officially kick off the Making Room initiative. Hopefully you've heard some about it already. This week we will aim to fill in the gaps for you. We're excited to officially engage in something that goes all the way back to the work of the Master Plan team starting in 2018.
Along with the initiative, we're starting a new sermon series from 2 Corinthians 8-9. You won't want to miss the kickoff this weekend.
- 10/23 – (1) A Generous Church (2 Corinthians 8.1-7)
- 10/30 – (2) Gospel-Centered Giving (2 Corinthians 8.8-12)
- 11/06 – (3) Meeting Needs (2 Corinthians 8.13-24)
- 11/13 – (4) Freedom and Joy (2 Corinthians 9.1-11)
- 11/20 – (5) Giving as Thanksgiving (2 Corinthians 9.11-15)
Keller on Deconstruction and Reconstruction
This week Tim Keller released a helpful article called Reconstructing Faith: Christianity in a New World.
For the past several years, many people who have been raised in the evangelical church have been rethinking their previously-unquestioned beliefs. In this highly publicized phenomenon, many have left the faith altogether, while others have migrated to other branches of the Christian church. Some have been the victims of sexual abuse or of corrupt abuses of power within the church. But the great majority have been turned off by the hypocrisy of Christians, by clergy scandals, by harsh and legalistic teaching, and by the inappropriate marriage of Christianity with a political party or traditional culture.
This trend has been called ‘faith deconstruction.’
Tearing down without a willingness to put something in its place (and subject it to the same scrutiny) isn't spiritually helpful, nor intellectually consistent. But Dr. Keller also points that there is a kind of 'deconstruction' that can be really helpful to Christians.
Thinking along these lines, we can say that Christians can indeed sometimes go through periods of “deconstruction” and yet emerge stronger. We can go through times in which discarding or altering some of our ideas results in an overall strengthening of our Christian commitment.
Over the years we've seen New City become home to many attempting to 'deconstruct' some unhealthy things from their background and faith upbringing, while retaining a commitment to biblical orthodoxy.
If this describes you, let me suggest a few 'helps' in this process.
1.) Engage with faithful Christians in other times and places. Take a trip to another part of the world, and as you do, intentionally try and interact with Christians. Go to church, meet some believers. A New City mission trip would be a great way to do this.
Another way to get at something similar, is to read Christian books by people from different eras. Encountering faithful Christians from other times and places can help you see what is essential to the Christian faith (and therefore what you must keep), and what may be superfluous (that which you need not cling to tightly).
It's not that Christians in other times and places don't have blind spots. Of course they do. But their blind spots are mostly likely different than the blind spots you are surrounded by. C.S. Lewis makes this point in his excellent introduction to Athanasius' On the Incarnation.
2.) Root yourself in important ideas that transcend one culture or moment in time. This was part of Ray Cannata's and my motivation in writing a book on The Apostles' Creed (shameless plug). It's a great thing that our denominational theological statemnts come from another time and place. Take a look at this beautifully illustrated edition of the Westminster Shorter Catechism (great for kids and adults rooting their faith).
3.) Honestly, though, you can't do better than availing yourself of the ordinary means of grace: Bible reading, prayer, and the sacraments. These are the gifts God has given us to sustain and grow our faith. Make a discipline of engaging with them. And talk about it with others. Don't go on this journey alone.
Getting Ready for Sunday 10/23/2022
New series means new music. Songs we'll sing this week include: In Your Name, My Worth is Not in What I Own, and That Where I Am You May Be Also. You can always listen to the New City hymnal in this playlist.
New City Kids and Club 56 will have some fun activities related to the Making Room series (including a fun giveaway and challenge). We'll see a vision video during the service laying out the Making Room vision. And as always, we will sit under God's Word and come to his Table. See you Sunday!