Vision: How we want to live out our faith

More than anything else, we want to be a church that points people to God and shapes people’s lives in a way that emulates Jesus’ life and ministry.  The best way to do that in this modern and hectic world is to be a flaneur.

A flaneur is someone who takes pleasure in being around people while remaining somewhat anonymous. In the words of French writer Charles Baudelaire who coined the phrase, a flaneur is someone who observes not only their surroundings, but also the people around them so often that they’re able to easily notice subtle changes that everyone else may miss.  But at the same time, a flaneur is someone who cherishes people and relationships over things and tasks.

Admittedly being a flaneur is difficult, because even though we’re a small village, we’re so busy we end up shopping at Tesco in Dingwall or quickly stopping at the Culbokie Store on our way home from work. As a result of that, as well as advances in communications, rather than having face-to-face conversations, more often than not our relationships are lived out through messages and texts traded via a mobile phone. Which is why we often feel disconnected despite knowing almost everyone in Culbokie.

And that’s exactly the opposite of how Jesus lived his life and did ministry. Like most people, Jesus’ life and ministry were lived at roughly three miles an hour*, or the average speed of someone that’s walking. It was a life lived out in village squares and markets, as well as village synagogues. More importantly, it was lived out at a pace that enabled Jesus to have conversations and to process what people were saying and thinking, as well as what they were doing. As a result, Jesus knew the things that were impacting people’s lives and faith, and how that affected their relationship with God.

All of that’s particularly important for us as a congregation, because that’s how authentic parish life and ministry take place. It’s also the only way to ensure that we actually make time for each other so we can spend time sharing what’s happening in our lives as well as any of the doubts, fears, and questions we have. Even more importantly, those conversations are the window that gives us a glimpse of each other’s faith and enables us share the Gospel in a down-to-earth context that draws people closer to Christ and helps them grasp what God is doing in their lives.

(*A phrase from “Three Mile an Hour God” by Japanese theologian Kosuke Koyama in 1980, and recently expanded on by Rev. Matt Canlis, the former minister of Methlick Parish Church.)

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