Have enjoyed reading Mark Heath's post over at Word and Spirit on Bruce Milne's dream of unity and diversity within the local church.
Here are Milne's closing thoughts as expressed in his book Dynamic Diversity:
I have a dream – a dream of a congregation where people of all colours and from every ethnic identity find welcome, warmth, dignity and a sense of belonging; I have a dream of a church where men and women worship the triune God, and serve together as equally valuable in the sight of God, and equal in their capacity to honour him. I have a dream of a Christian community where children, youth, middle-aged and seniors, boomers, busters, generation-Xers and millennials learn to respect and love and discover their profound need for each other; where people from all wealth and power indexes can live and relate and laugh together.
I have a dream of a family where singles and marrieds, and marrieds with families, and single parents and divorcees are all affirmed in their worth before God and his people; a family where poor and rich, sophisticated and unsophisticated, the physically and mentally strong and the physically and mentally challenged have learned to walk together in love, and to appreciate and affirm each other.
I have a dream of a people of God where differences of personality and huge diversities of spiritual stories and spiritual journeys, or the lack of them, are no barrier to acceptance.
I have a dream of all that many-splendoured, multi-textured humanity uniting under the conscious, blessed rule of the exalted Lord Jesus Christ through his living, liberating, energizing Word, joining in wondering communion in their worship, along with saints and angels – I have a dream.
And I have a dream of that same exuberant, multi-colour family, swept along by the Holy Spirit, streaming forth from the worship place into the community around them – to throw their arms around it, and hug it to their hearts; offering to all who have need the practical ministries of love – to the poor and the homeless, single parents and street kids, HIV / Aids sufferers and the addicted; and sharing too the joyous good news of Jesus and his great salvation – with the lost and lonely, the affluent and the power-brokers, the cynics and the seekers, the young and the aged, the followers of other faith traditions and the followers of none, local residents and those from every corner of the globe; lifting high the world’s only Saviour, and doing so in a way that his holy, all-embracing transforming love is reflected and authenticated in the dynamic diversity of their life together ... I have a dream.
I am encouraged by the centrality of love in Milne's dream - a priority that we cannot fail to see in the apostolic writings and one that can be lost if we only emphasise "purpose" and "vision".
What do you think?