Friday, August 9, 2013

Belonging and Not Belonging: The Creative Margins - Paul Fromont

"I am the marginal man between two forces, and possibly I will be crushed.  But that is where God has placed me, and I have accepted the vocation." - Desmond Tutu

Many followers of Jesus today find themselves, relative to the established church, grappling with the paradox of both needing to belong but of also realizing that in the end it's impossible for them to fully belong.

They inhabit the "margins" of what's been and what is, while all the while deconstructing and reconstructing with an eye to what might be needful up ahead.  They explore, as theologian Terry Veling writes, "relieved of taken-for-granted-convictions" and the need to unquestioningly perpetuate establish models, values and practices.

Not a few people talk of their experience of being "in-between" in terms of trauma, in terms of their feeling incredibly lonely, misunderstood, unlistened to and uncomfortable.  They feel, in talking of change and new possibilities, as though they're speaking a foreign language, one that very few others understand.

Thankfully though, many also choose to stay in the flowing of transitioning modernity within the life of the church, and instead see these "in-between-spaces" as giving birth to an exciting new range of relationships, new networks, new conversations, new worship context and ways of responding to God.

People inhabiting the margins will creatively stretch outward from the edges.  They will preserve the old without resisting the new.  They will be characterized by an opening outwards, an unfolding of creative and meaningful new praxis and forms.

They will have a firm grasp of their core beliefs and values, and will operate out of a strongly theological framework.  Their work will be less about perpetuating trendiness and more about integrity, faithfulness, authenticity and relational depth.

The full article is available here