Re-invisioning ekklesia

Parker Palmer decades ago described the true church as a

company of strangers

He announced this in a culture, to this day, that views the church more as an assembly of like-minded individuals.
In re-envisioning what it means to be the church Karen Bloomquist, keynote speaker at this year’s Luther Hostel at Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, challenged leaders to embrace the inherent diversity of the church as

the gospel happening in the world

The point of departure for church leaders is not what happens in the church but what happens out there in the world God so loved. The church today is called to be there at the margins with those who are different from ‘us’. And then be transformed by those who are different from us.
The church is not a refuge from the world. We don’t retreat into the church to withdraw from the world. Conversely, the church goes out to engage the world. The original Greek term for the church, ekklesia, means

a people called out

The church’s true purpose gets lived out in the world not apart from it. When we value our differences and the diversity in the world and in the church, we become not a melting pot of sameness but a holy company of strangers.

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