"The active expression of 'venturesome love' the real measure of Christian discipleship and of being a church" – Karl Rahner.

I participated in a stimulating and encouraging ‘fourth quarter’ cohort traning day at Longford yesterday (thank you to Edrick Corban-Banks for the great hospitality of his church) with Margaret Savage and Bishop Chris Jones, who both facilitated this time in a very able way. This is in response to Bishop Richard Condie’s Synod address.

We were asked to do some pre-reading to reflect on Community Engagement, and I was particularly struck by an excerpt from Ann Morisey’s book “Beyond the Good Samaritan” especially this:

“Given our distinctive historical and geographical context, churches need to give their members more help with the task of being a disciple. Typically, emphasis gets placed on forming disciples who pray more frequently and read their Bibles more thoroughly. We may even be called into joining a weekly fellowship group. Commitment to activities such as these along with regular financial giving are, the church seems to suggest, the key ingredients of discipleship. But such activities eem remarkably puny for those who claim to be followers of the Son of God who took Himself to Jerusalem and to the cross”.

This was the passage that particularly struck me:

“Karl Rahner, after spending his life reflecting on the classic theological formularies of the Roman Catholic Church, concluded that the church which followed Christ had to be bound together by more than its daily ritualistic practices and theological packages, which formed its institutional identity. He identified the active expression of ‘venturesome love’ as the real; measure of Christian discipleship and of being a church. This insight gives a useful measuring rod against which to judge the significance of community ministry (Noel Bowditch preferred this term) in calling out dfiscipleship from Christians and others”.

Paul said to the Corinthians (2 Cor 5:14) that the love of Christ ‘constrains us’ or as JB Phillips paraphrased it “The very spring of our actions is the love of Christ”.