Sunday, 17 April 2016

Protestant Reflections

John 6:66-68
Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. So Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life.
Along with a colleague, I've just spent a few days at a conference in Wittenberg: Re-imagining Protestantisms.
Before I left Scotland, someone asked:"Why Protestantisms?" Why plural?
Being here, among such a diverse group of people has revealed some of why Protestantisms is an accurate term. There is no one picture that describes Protestantism in Europe , far be it in the rest of the world.
Most of the conference speakers and participants are involved, at some level, in Pioneering, Renewal or Fresh Expressions of church - diverse, multi-hued and multi faceted responses to our culture today. All of these initiatives are directions of travel that encourage us to redefine the basic tenets of faith, to rediscover what is important about our faith, what it is we want to share with others and to constantly remind ourselves of Why the gospel is good news today.
Here, in the city where Luther nailed his 95 theses, from where Reformation spread across the world, I've been struck by the pastoral impetus of his protest - a protest against people being exploited by religious authorities and I'm pondering the causes that might unite us in protest today. Of course there are many possibilities but,once again, it is likely that we will be informed, not by the institutions but by those on the margins.
Stefan Paas reminded us that renewal does not come without struggle and pain. 
Are we up for that kind of reformation in the church today?

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