Kansas is Going, Going, Gone...
And it isn't coming back!
Here is the second one, from the Matrix, when Cypher says to Neo, "Buckle your seat belt Dorothy, cuz Kansas is going bye bye."
Kansas has long ago gone bye-bye. And in this case, Kansas is Christendom.
Christendom is the condition that exists when Christianity has a privileged and powerful position in the culture. It is when Christianity is in the air, it is the values, the ethos, the norms, the way, what is natural and comfortable.
For many centuries, Christendom was the way of life in Europe and then in North America. The only real question is - what version of Christendom. Would it be the Roman Catholic version or a Protestant variety? In Europe, the issue was often determined by those who lead in the various regions and countries.
In North America, which received vast numbers of immigrants who intermingled in the areas where they settled, denominations sprang up in every town square and village green. They occupied the main streets of culture. They migrated out to the suburbs when people spilled out past the boundaries of the city.
Seminaries trained their clergy to be pastors of congregations (kind of a chaplain who presided over the transitions and seasons of life) and to be preachers of the specific theological doctrine affirmed by the denomination. (Really, convincing the congregation and visitors, that's its way was the best way to understand the Christian faith.) This was the pastor-teacher who often had a secure and respected position within Christendom.
In the emerging order and the not so brave new world, the religious leaders of communities MUST BE missiologists. That is, those who interpret the culture, who discern the times and who know how to speak, not just to the church dwellers who know the language of Zion, but to the much larger numbers of people for whom the Bible is an ancient and archaic book and to whom the ins and outs of Christianity are strange indeed.
The pastor as missiologist knows the truth of Hebrews 11. We are sojourners, stranger in a country we don't understand. And we who want to sing songs of lament (Psalm 137), instead, God has called us to the work of Jeremiah 29.
This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce Marry and have sons and daughters, find wives for yoru sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughers. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, becaues if it prospers, you too will prosper. Jeremiah 29:4-9
This is the work of emerging leadership which we spent our week discussing. This is the new vocational calling of Christian leaders. Missiological entrepreneurs who know how to architect new communities of missional friends of Christ.
This is what we spent our week pondering over, praying baout and preparing to go forth as a new kind of leader.
Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International