My life has been shaped by a search to understand what it means to be a part of God’s movement in our world. That journey was shaped as I was formed in the inner city of Liverpool with its depressed economy, its close knit sense of belonging and the experience of being in the hands of unknown authorities who seemed to determine our common fate. After immigrating to Canada in the turbulent 60s, God redirected my life in university toward the church. As a young pastor I learned that it was fairly easy to grow churches but that this growth was what someone called the “circulation of the saints”. Early on, I realized that my generation and all those to come had already left the church behind as any kind of meaningful response to the increasing unravelling of Western societies since the late 1970s. For more than thirty years I served as a pastor, teacher, writer and consultant in missional formation and church leadership seeking to address this question of being the church in the midst of a massive unravelling.
Those experiences convinced me that in this unravelling of modern Western societies and the churches formed out of this West, God’s Spirit is fermenting a movement of God’s people than can no longer be contained within narratives of renewal, reform or the fixing existing systems. Ours is a time of refounding. This refounding is about the words of Antonio Machado – caminante no hay camino. Se hace camino al andar (Traveler, there is no path. You create the path as you walk).
We no longer live in a time when we can know the pathways but, like Abram and Sara, we’re invited to discern how the Spirit is forming God’s people for the sake of the world. This is the journey I now find myself on. This blog is one of several ways I want to make a path together with a growing number of fellow pilgrims. It is about what I have been learning and experiencing, about the implications for being God’s people, about a journey of joining with others in discerning what God is already doing out ahead of us in our neighbourhoods and communities.
After many years of traveling around the world I am laying that down to dwell in the part of Vancouver, Canada where I live in an extended household with my wife Jane and others. I love hiking in the mountains, biking, cooking, drinking great coffee in the Pacific North West and hanging out with our grandchildren.