Jonathan Brink posted this on his blog recently. While the context is addressing an issue that is pertinent to Jonathan and those who have knowledge of his previous associations, this part stood out to me:
When Barth was asked, after all that he had written about the gospel, to summarize it as succinctly as possible, he responded with the familiar, simple words to the song “Jesus Loves Me.” We teach our children these words—“Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so, little ones to him belong, they are weak, but he is strong”—are we to tell kids that when they get to be a certain age this is no longer the case? Are we to tell them they belong to Jesus if. . .? Is belonging with an if really belonging at all?
It made me think that one of the deepest theological issues of our time is a fundamental shift back to belonging, beginning with the idea of the reconciliation of all things. . . . What if we began with the idea that God actually has reconciled the world.
I wonder if our fear of actually living into the idea of belonging is not that it is true. I would argue that we already do begin with this idea, we just dont’ admit it. Our fear resides in what we think would happen if people accepted it as true. Would it make much of our institutional structures and activities obsolete? Would it transform culture in a way that we’ve dreamed of but can’t get to because we can’t seem to get out of the way?
In our emphasis on correct believing have we forgotten this truth? What if we allowed people to belong without first of all demanding belief? Would this lead to a more effective, missional presence than our current structures?
What do you think?