Saturday, October 16, 2004

ecclesia - called out of

reading the nouwen daily meditation today i realized something pretty profound (for me). here's the quote and then i'll see if i can verbalize what struck me:

Called out of Slavery

The Church is the people of God. The Latin word for "church," ecclesia, comes from the Greek ek, which means "out," and kaleo, which means "to call." The Church is the people of God called out of slavery to freedom, sin to salvation, despair to hope, darkness to light, an existence centered on death to an existence focused on life.

When we think of Church we have to think of a body of people, travelling together. We have to envision women, men, and children of all ages, races, and societies supporting one another on their long and often tiresome journeys to their final home.

in my relgious training i don't think that i would have associated 'called out' with being called out of slavery, sin, despair and darkness - i'm almost positive i've always been taught that we have been 'called out' of the world. (stephanie, si, matt - any thoughts??)

this is foundational theory that would affect EVERYTHING about how a church, and therefore a denomination views it's place in culture, community and the world. looking back i am most shocked by the way that we isolated and insulated ourselves, even from other churches and christians. that set apart (sanctified) idea removed us from the world around us in such as way that rendered us ineffective in everything from our evangelism to our social justice (which there was never any of - could be why??).

nouwen's perspective that the church is called out of slavery just hit me as something i have never thought of before, but it's so foundational that if this is larger than the brethren and affects the evangelical church as a whole the repercussions are massive, aren't they? could that theology be based on the wrong supposition and therfore is fulfilling itself in practices that are contrary to god's intention for the church.

i have no original language training, so i am unable to tear apart these passages without help - so HELP - any theologians out there who have read or can help process this i would be really grateful. this may be something others have known forever, but looking back at my eccelesiology class i seem to remember the concept being planted in my head was that the church is 'called out' from the world. any thoughts??

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