Saturday, September 11, 2010

Toward the Center

I just finished reading Jesus Brand Spirituality: He Wants His Religion Back by Ken Wilson, a Vineyard pastor in Michigan. On pages 32 and 33 he has some charts, what he calls "the Four Quadrants of Christianity," that I found very helpful, enlightening and thought provoking.

He defines four broad categories of Christian spirituality: Liturgical, Social Justice, Evangelical and Renewalist (i.e. Charismatic).  In each group there are people who pull back into the corners, as far from the other types as possible, emphasizing their distinctives and their differences from the others, and what they see as the errors of those in the other quadrants. But Ken Wilson says that:
"The thrust of history, and, I believe, the dynamic of the Spirit, is not toward the corners but toward the interior borders and, ultimately, toward the center. The center is the heart of the matter, the matter being God as understood and experienced and revealed by Jesus.

As pilgrims scattered throughout this landscape take one step closer to knowing, one step closer to the center, new connections are taking place between people; new information is being exchanged; new expressions of faith are emerging.

The center is not a lowest-common-denominator spirituality. It is a recombinant spirituality that is yearning, growing, moving toward a new synthesis or, more likely, several versions of a new synthesis, converging toward a center that has always been there but is rarely occupied."

Wilson says that Jesus is found in the center, and those in each group who are closest to Him are also closest to each other.  Sounds like something C.S. Lewis once said.

I want to live in the center, drawing from the wisdom of all, and staying close to the Jesus who draws us all together.  Anybody what to join me there?

(Charts copied from the Jesus Brand Spirituality web site).