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Journal

Destabilization

Mark Junkans

Raul Ponce sent me this email.  Thought it was worth sharing.
A friend of mine, Tim Halls, has begun work on a PhD. He wants to tackle the interplay between Hispanic and Muslim immigrants in the U.S. as Muslims take up residence alongside existing Hispanic communities. It looks like fascinating research and when he publishes the book I will be sure to post a review here! 
We talked a few days ago and as Tim enthused over the subject and his research he shared an insight with me that reminded me of the Luke 5 passage quoted above. Tim said something like, "God has brought us destabilization and we must embrace it." 
The influx of immigrants, the changes in our society caused by instant communication, the new levels of transparency provoked by broadly accessible community networks like Facebook and the web...they have shaken up our world in ways that none of us could have anticipated. We who knew our way around the neighborhood have been "deterritorialized" (theologians like to invent words)-someone moved all the boundaries.
Tim observed that newness comes through destabilization. Jesus was aware of that. The gospel Jesus preached was one of those significant destabilizing influences and some people found his words very threatening to the established order (later, Paul would even be accused of "upsetting the world" [Acts 17:6]). Yet Jesus did not apologize for the disturbance, rather he forewarned his listeners: this message won't fit in your system...something new is coming. 
Tim commented to me that "restabilization" will always follow destabilization-and it must-we can't live in the instability but it's where God changes us. Once we have embraced the change and made the decision to let go of the known, something fresh and appropriate to the new situation will emerge.
Our culture has experienced massive shifts and our society has absorbed some devastating blows. We are not who we were 50 years or even 30 years ago. As the people of God we have a very serious obligation to go to the Scriptures and to prayer and seek God's guidance on how we continue to be the church in this new environment. It is a good time to review Church History.
Some structures or programs that we have thought were necessary may be discarded while other very important new ministries and new ideas about organization will emerge. The risk is that we would prefer to stick with 'the old wine' rather than adapt to the new and thereby miss what God is doing in our midst. This is not a time for the faint-hearted...or the biblically ignorant

A friend of mine, Tim Halls, has begun work on a PhD. He wants to tackle the interplay between Hispanic and Muslim immigrants in the U.S. as Muslims take up residence alongside existing Hispanic communities. It looks like fascinating research and when he publishes the book I will be sure to post a review here! 
We talked a few days ago and as Tim enthused over the subject and his research he shared an insight with me that reminded me of the Luke 5 passage quoted above. Tim said something like, "God has brought us destabilization and we must embrace it." 
The influx of immigrants, the changes in our society caused by instant communication, the new levels of transparency provoked by broadly accessible community networks like Facebook and the web...they have shaken up our world in ways that none of us could have anticipated. We who knew our way around the neighborhood have been "deterritorialized" (theologians like to invent words)-someone moved all the boundaries.
Tim observed that newness comes through destabilization. Jesus was aware of that. The gospel Jesus preached was one of those significant destabilizing influences and some people found his words very threatening to the established order (later, Paul would even be accused of "upsetting the world" [Acts 17:6]). Yet Jesus did not apologize for the disturbance, rather he forewarned his listeners: this message won't fit in your system...something new is coming. 
Tim commented to me that "restabilization" will always follow destabilization-and it must-we can't live in the instability but it's where God changes us. Once we have embraced the change and made the decision to let go of the known, something fresh and appropriate to the new situation will emerge.
Our culture has experienced massive shifts and our society has absorbed some devastating blows. We are not who we were 50 years or even 30 years ago. As the people of God we have a very serious obligation to go to the Scriptures and to prayer and seek God's guidance on how we continue to be the church in this new environment. It is a good time to review Church History.
Some structures or programs that we have thought were necessary may be discarded while other very important new ministries and new ideas about organization will emerge. The risk is that we would prefer to stick with 'the old wine' rather than adapt to the new and thereby miss what God is doing in our midst. This is not a time for the faint-hearted...or the biblically ignorant.