Musings from Lucy’s sabbatical: what makes up a Messy identity?

Published 13th March 2015 by lucy moore

While I was on my sabbatical or time out at the start of the year, I was musing on what makes up Messy Church’s identity.
We spent last week as a team bouncing the ideas around and it feels ok to share a few thoughts a little more widely, starting with this one. I wonder what you think.
One of the ‘gifts’ we’ve been given to treasure in Messy Church is this: our Messiness. Many of the modern books I’ve read are about organising and ‘boxing’ people into strong strategies in church. This has a very positive side, in that it’s purposeful, masculine, measurable. It isn’t us, though we can learn from it. We work with and for people who aren’t 100% committed, who don’t have Christianity nailed down, whose lives are a mixture of ‘now and not yet’, with churches who are a million miles from the clarity of such superb masterplans, with people whose priorities at this stage of life are family / children rather than church. Our strength is our contentedness with this messiness, this edginess, we have an acceptance that people fail, that we are in the parable of the Sower, the Wheat and the Weeds, the Mustard Seed. The Pharisees couldn’t celebrate the man in John 6 was made well by Jesus because they were too concerned with rules. We are the Wild Weed (see Messy Church Theology if this baffles you!)
At this point in the development of Messy Church, we can enjoy the ‘now and not yet’ of individuals, of churches and of our team. We should expect things to be messy and we should rejoice when they are.
Messiness is also about dynamic liminality – of never settling but always shifting from one state to the other – from action to reflection, from ministry to retreat, from the ‘ordinary plod’ to the one off special event. One energises, validates and informs the other.

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