Review of Andrew Root's 'Faith Formation in a Secular Age" (Part 9)
This is the last chapter. We've looked at the trees in the forest. The next post will try to give a picture of the forest with a synoptic summary and sketch of the whole of Root's argument.
Conclusion: practical steps to consider as the household of ministry
“As the household of ministry, the church is the place where we experience the real presence of Jesus as minister . . . the church is a gathering place to receive the ministry of Jesus through the embrace of others.” (4959)
“The church’s job is not to fight for space in Secular 2 but to be the outpost of ministry in the world. The only thing the church offers the world is ministry! And this only thing, as we’ve seen, is everything.” (4966)
Core Dispositions of church:
“The church is first a community of gratitude; receiving the ministry of divine action and experiencing the very being of God through the unveiling of God’s ministerial being, we can only respond with gratitude. The only appropriate response to being ministered to is gratitude.” (4973)
“Because justification means receiving the real presence of the living and ministering Christ, it leads to gratitude.” (4973)
“We can never start by giving ministry without first receiving ministry, because ministry is bound in the being of God’s self.” (4982)
“The practice of gratitude is a disposition that pushes against the gravitational pull of Secular 3 because it is the receiving (and giving through receiving) of ministry.” (4989)
As we receive ministry and express gratitude for it, we discover our giftedness. The latter is not necessarily a talent but the discovery that our lives can impact others.
The church is not a community of the talented but a community of those gifted to be ministers. “Talent makes an individual a celebrity, but giftedness sends her out into the world as minister.” (5021)
“Rather, the church spots gifts through the context of our worship of gratitude as a way of communicating the depth of the union each of us has with Christ. It is a union that through Jesus is as deep as that of a mother with her child.” (5021)
“Because giftedness is born from the dynamic of ministry (of receiving and giving ministry) and not from the talent of prodigy, the household of ministry is, finally, a place of rest.” (5028)
We share other’s live to invite them to rest.
Justice is not just working to right wrongs. When reduced to this it is stuck in Secular 3. When transcendence becomes implausible the church turns to this kind of justice wholly within the immanent frame.
Of course, the church pursues justice based not on ideology but on actual relationships.