Chris Erdman writes: Brian McLaren, Al Roxburgh, and I led the Ministry Forum at Fresno Pacific University last week (Brian and Al on Thursday, Al and I Thursday night and Friday). Brian and Al said a number of provocative things. Most provocative for me was Alan’s call for a moratorium on talking about the church. He argued that we are talking too much about the church—and it’s a conversation not unlike that of three friends who re-united after several decades only to find that one of them finds a way to turn every conversation into a conversation about herself. So long as we keep asking church questions, Al maintains we may avoid the more challenging questions about the gospel, the Powers at work around us, real gospel involvement in the concrete realities of the immediate world around us. I heard him saying that we too often treat the gospel as a product of the church (something we control and broker) rather than the church being a product of the gospel (derived, formed, sustained, “controlled” by the gospel rather than the other way around)
Someday soon, I might like to propose my own moratorium on the adjective "local" to describe the church when "church" is also preceded by "this" or "our". Everyone knows that all of us have some sort of gripe with the historical development of the concept of the universal church (though that needs some work too, in my opinion). However, I don't think anyone will wonder if you are talking about the universal church when you say "this church"; therefore there is no need to say "this local church"-- but that is another rant for another time.