IVP - Online Pulpit - Letter 4: A Particular People in a Particular Place

April 24, 2012

Letter 4: A Particular People in a Particular Place

In our final letter, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove finds our culture pulling us apart. Digital connections make it more and more simple to separate and yet stay together, albeit virtually. In his letter he calls the church of North America to stability. He hopes that a strong commitment to those who are right around us will reveal to us a more complete gospel.

The letter, I’m afraid, is a dying art in our culture. It has long been faster and easier to call a friend than to write them. To the extent that our communication is simply about the transfer of information, the text message is now preferable. This new form frees us from the cumbersome conventions of grammar and greetings and questions like “How are you doing?” which can only slow us down.

And, truth is, however much we complain about being too busy, most of us don’t really want to slow down. I have a Facebook page, and on that page there is a notice that I prefer to communicate via letter. Still, I write twenty electronic messages for every real letter. After all, I can stay in touch with a lot more people that way.

But this desire to stay in touch with more and more people is in tension, I’m afraid, with my vocation to be part of a community that witnesses to God’s quite personal form of communication. That is to say, while hyperconnectivity around interesting ideas might well serve to sell more books, I am increasingly doubtful that our preferred modes of communication have the capacity to convey the good and true Word which was made flesh in Jesus Christ.

When God wanted to proclaim good news to all the peoples of the earth, he struck up a conversation with a guy named Abraham and told a joke that made Sarah laugh before it made her pregnant. If we are to be about the proclamation of that news in our own time, a medium as personal and conversational as the letter might be the only way.

Read Jonathan’s entire letter here.

Learn more about Letters to a Future Church here.

lettersOP.jpgWith open letters from Andy Crouch, Ron Sider, Shane Claiborne and more, Letters to a Future Church paints a portrait of the world as we have it and the mission we have in it. You may find your calling in this book; you may even find your own voice.

Posted by Nate Baker-Lutz at April 24, 2012 9:52 AM Bookmark and Share

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