Weekly Blog - Paul Lancaster - Let’s Go Wild Part 2
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Posted on: 5th July 2022

Lets go wild (2)

In my last blog I mentioned Steve Aisthorpe’s book “Rewilding the Church”, in which he refers to “rewilding” in the natural world and applies it as a metaphor to the church. I would like to look at another aspect of this known as “daylighting”. This has nothing to do with robbery!

The term “daylighting” has been used to describe the process of re-opening rivers to the sky, peeling back manmade coverings, often due to heavy industry, as cities and towns have developed. There are many examples, but perhaps the nearest one to Leeds is Porter Brook in Sheffield.  Porter Brook had largely become an underground river until recently and now where there was a  crumbling car park  “daylighting” has occurred, the river has been exposed and it has become ‘a green amphitheatre, sloping down to the banks of the river, where wild trout spawn in spring’. Quite a transformation!

 Psalm 46 v 4 says “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells…”

Many expressions of Church have been fed by life giving streams over two millennia and denominations and edifices embodying this have formed from these. Unfortunately rigid attitudes causing blockages and a theological silo mentality have restricted the ongoing flow of the river of the Holy Spirit.

Richard Foster in Living Water uncovers six broad and deep underlying traditions, sources of life, streams that flow and have shaped Church during different eras and still do. There is the CONTEMPLATIVE stream highlighting reflection and prayer; the HOLINESS stream, emphasising the importance of the formation of Christian character; the EVANGELICAL stream emphasising the importance of the place of the scriptures; the CHARISMATIC stream focusing on the Spirit-empowered life: the SOCIAL  JUSTICE stream highlighting the vocation of Christians, to be a transforming influence in every sphere of life and the INCARNATIONAL stream encouraging us to  experience the invisible God in the visible world.

During this current era denominational edifices are crumbling and there is little interest in theological hobby horses and brand loyalty, so it may be a time for “daylighting” to uncover and remove the blockages and discover the streams that are flowing into the fullness of the river of God.

Perhaps we have been shaped by a particular tradition and not given much attention to the others. It’s time to remove religious labels, prejudices and stereotyping mind sets and immerse ourselves in the life giving streams leading  into the fullness of the river that ‘makes glad the city of God’ and flows into our own city- Leeds! More daylighting please!  May this river bring great gladness to all!

Paul Lancaster (Hope for the Nations)

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