The last post, I suppose, set the background to the questions that follow. The first question that presents itself, following on Andy Crouch’s comments about Jesus culture-shaping through the resurrection being a function of his trust in and dependence on, God, is:
Can we be a school that is defined by trust in God for its future and its flourishing?
If we could, what would that look like?
What might it mean in the day to day to place our trust in God as father and leader of our school?
Some intial responses might include:
- A willingness to rely on his secure calling on us – to take the vision seriously and find ways in which to live that out as Christians (for those who self-identify as such)
- A willingness to be open with God, corporately, and with each other in prayer.
- Taking who we are as a chaplaincy to a much deeper level, one in which our personal relationships to Jesus is the key to what we do and say in helping us to grow in faith together.
- Tell and re-tell the story of our school – the lows as well as the highs – and relate all of these to our fashioning under the hand of God as we trust him. The quote from Wendell Berry in this previous post is an example of what I mean here, remembering that good work is necessary and has been a feature of our school whether we have had the successes or not to demonstrate for it.
- In retelling this story, we demonstrate a willingness to include ALL those who have travelled with us. And we do this, whether they departed in glory or dishonour, in love or with mixed feelings. This is the purpose of those interminable pages of Numbers and 1 Chronicles where the people of Israel had read to them the memories of those who had made the nation what it was. Somehow we need to build a culture in our school where all who have attended or worked here – plus all the relatives and family members connected to us, are honoured as part of the story.
- As part of the previous response, we find a way to honour all those who work with us willingly but who do not have a personal commitment to follow the way of Jesus Christ – and a trust that this will be good for them, for us, and in God’s eyes.
In telling the story of the people of Israel as culture makers in the years between their foundation and the arrival of Jesus, Andy Crouch makes the telling point that God placed them physically, as a country, at the crossroads of nations and empires, ready to be marched across, fought over, seduced, besieged, collaborated with and exiled, by any number of foreign powers. This was their problem but also their opportunity. Had Israel been in central Alaska, nobody would have bothered them (except bears and BP), but neither would they have had the slightest impact – with all the glorious culture-making of their laws, their acceptance of strangers and aliens, their far greater respect for women than surrounding cultures – on the much wealthier, technologically-more advanced and culturally superior societies that lay around them.
When I read this in Crouch’s book, something resonated with me about how people felt in 2011 at Christ the Sower when I arrived. There was a definite sense of our being the poor relation, of being a school that children left from rather than came to (this was more sensed than real, though we did have quite a lot of space!), of being looked down on by surrounding schools and academies. It made me grateful for the way that God had helped us to establish the work of his hands at Christ the Sower, but also made me realise that there is a missional sense that we must be true to. We have a school that is purposed by God for a particular role, and we need to, in the midst of a culture that is increasingly obsessed with money, sex and power, answer this question (and its derivatives):
Can we find a way to be generous, holy (in all the ways we need to be) and sacrificial, in order to reflect God’s glory to the culture around us?
What would that look like?
And is this what God means by drawing us more and more into the life of family and community in Grange Farm, Crown Hill and Medbourne/Oakhill?
Lastly, how would that appear to schools around us that we want to support and care for and learn from?