Reforming, not Reformed

Ok, I promise. No more griping about the design of Velvet Elvis. I've got some real comments about it now.

I know this didn't come across in my other post (y'know, the one where I complained the whole time), but I really do like Rob's Bell's ideas. They resonate with me a lot.

In fact, right in the introduction of the book (although he calls it a "welcome" rather than an introduction; but I'm not complaining--really!) he says something that's been floating in around in my head for the past year or so. Here's what he says:

...Luther's contemporaries used a very specific word for this endless, absolutely necessary process of change and growth. They didn't use the word reformed; they used the word reforming. This distinction is crucial. They knew that they and others hadn't gotten it perfect forever. They knew that the things they said and did and wrote and decided would need to be revisited. Rethought. Reworked. [Rob's italics]
Right on, Rob!!

As a Presbyterian, my denomination prides itself in being Christians "in the Reformed tradition." In doing church "in the Reformed tradition." In worshiping "in the Reformed tradition."

But why are we stuck in this tradition that is now 500 years old? Yes, there absolutely are things to be valued in this tradition. But, as Bell says, the Reformers were in process--the process of reforming.

Like the Reformers, I don't like to say about myself that I'm Reformed, but that I'm Reforming. Please hear me on this. This doesn't mean that I think we ought to change the essentials of our faith--and I don't think that's what the Reformers meant, either. But we continue to reform ourselves and we continue to reform the church. And as we reform ourselves and the church we become more and more conformed to the image of Christ.

And hopefully this reforming self and this reforming church will more and more be able to connect with our culture and help people connect with God.


David Quel said...

Too many churches are bent on tradition and cannot reform. They refuse to believe that they can change and still keep the main thing, the main thing. We can change the way we worhsip, educate, and do missions as long as our center is always the saving grace of Jesus Christ. We we not reach the everchanging world that is lost if we chose to stay in hiding ourselves!

Dave Quel MDiv student and Youth Leader

Markus Watson said...

Dave Quel!! I didn't know you were reading this thing! I need to shoot you an e-mail...

Kyle said...

That's a good point, man. Cheers.

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