I hope you have found "7 Shifts We Need To Make" interesting and helpful. You've read what I think - now I want to hear from you. This post is a recap of the shifts, and an invitation for you to respond in two ways - by writing in the comments section or emailing me directly at james.amadon@circlewood.online.

As you read through this recap (with links to the posts), consider sharing based on the following two prompts:

  1. What shift grabs you the most? What would you add to the conversation about this shift?
  2. What isn't clear? Or, what would you like to explore in more depth or detail?

I'll take your thoughts and questions and create a "Members Mailbag" post.

Introduction: 7 Shifts We Need to Make

We began with an argument that we are in a moment of reform that requires a comprehensive shift in our theology and faith practices.

While most reforms are limited to particular times, people and places, every now and then a moment arrives which calls every person of faith, in every place and denomination, to explore comprehensive, radical reform of fundamental beliefs and practices.

Shift #1: A New Cosmology: From Static Backdrop to Dynamic Creation.

This is a call to shift from an understanding of creation as something that happened once in the past or as simply the backdrop to God’s work to save humankind. I encouraged us to think of three aspects of God’s creative work:

  1. Originating creation – the acts of God that created an interconnected, interdependent creation.
  2. Continuing creation – God's ongoing activity and presence in the world.
  3. Completing creation – God's work of bringing creation to completion, an ongoing work begun in Jesus.

Shift #2: A Bigger Story – From Human-Centered to All Creation

Here we looked at how God’s work of redemption and renewal is not just for humans, but touches four dimensions of creation – personal, social, ecological and cosmic.

These are the concentric rings of the gospel which, at its most fundamental, is a story of God’s work in Christ to “reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”(Col. 1:20). This is the good news that I (and you) have been called to share, “the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven” (Col. 1:23).”

Shift #3: A More Humane Humanity – From Independent Masters to Interdependent Servants

This shift invites us to see ourselves as a part of creation, not apart from it.

We have assumed a place in this world that was not ours to take. We have deluded ourselves into thinking we are independent creatures, lords of creation, masters of fate, shapers of worlds. Yet we are increasingly anxious and unsettled as we go about unraveling the cords of creation that make our life possible and connect us to this world.

Shift #4: Place-Based Discipleship – From Generic Jesus-Following to Bio-regional Discipleship

This shift asks us to shift our discipleship to a more place-based, localized expression of faith. I invited readers to understand their place in terms of their bioregion, ecoregion, and niche, and invited us to ask the following question:

What does it mean to follow Jesus in this place?

Shift #5: An Ecological Mission: From Saving Souls/Society to Cultivating Life in the New Creation

This shift looked at the ways in which followers of Jesus understand their mission.

For the personal evangelist, it is a world of forgiven people reconciled with God through Jesus. For the social reformer, it is a beloved community reconciled with one another. Both of these, as we have seen, are part of God’s work in the world but not the whole. Ecological disciples see that the reconciling mission of God includes all of creation. We are animated by a vision that sees all things restored and renewed.

Shift #6: An Interconnected Church: From Splintered Sects to Creative Collaborators

This post suggested that our current ecological crisis offers us an opportuity to unite followers of Jesus and their churches – we suggested 5 common commitments that could move us in this direction.

  1. The love of God. This is the love that is the essence of God’s being, flowing from God, through Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to us and to all creation. It is the love that we offer back to God through worship, prayer, and care for what God has made. It is the foundation of unity, for it holds all things together.
  2. Our call to be earthkeepers. This is our unique human calling, made clear and possible in Jesus. It rests on us all, and should shape all of our lesser vocations.
  3. Our concern for what we have wrought. This is the acknowledgement that all of us, to greater and lesser extents, have not lived up to this vocation and need help finding our way back.
  4. Our pursuit of new forms of faithful living. This is our chance to come together in creative collaboration focused on God’s glory and creation’s good.
  5. Our vision of a flourishing future. This is our animating picture of the world as it should and will be, brimming with divine energy, purpose, and life, a “new heavens and a new earth.”

Shift #7: A Different Destination: From an Earthless Heaven to a Heavenly Earth

Our final shift looked at how our understanding of purpose - where our lives, and creation as a whole are headed - directly shapes how we live in the present. We deconstructed the popular understanding of heaven as a way to recover something more biblical, helpful, and energizing.

Heaven is, in the most basic sense, not a place but a presence. Heaven is wherever God is. We have assumed that God permanently resides somewhere other than earth, and that God’s goal, with our cooperation, is to get us there. The biblical story, however, tells us that the exact opposite is true – God’s goal is to bring heaven – God’s full divine presence – to earth.

Your Turn

Here are the two prompts again:

  1. What shift grabs you the most? What would you add to the conversation about this shift?
  2. What isn't clear? Or, what would you like to explore in more depth or detail?

I look forward to reading your thoughts in the comments, or by emailing me at james.amadon@circlewood.online.

With you on the Way,


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