by Nigel Dixon
member of NZCN All of Life Faith discussion group
I guess my concern, as I write these words, is to express the essential core of what it means to be Christian in our context. So, in choosing these words, I am seeking words that can define us as a community as well as being missional (there being an integrity between how we live together and how we face/embrace the world).
Living the story
We are called to live in the story that begins with creation and concludes with the completion of the new creation – in the story of God. This narrative invites us to take part in God’s unfolding purposes and longings for human life and the care of creation. This story centres on Jesus who incarnated God, who Died and rose again and reigns as King and calls us to live in this kingdom reality and kingdom dream. We invite every person to be participators in this new covenant and new creation.
Living as community
Karl Barth once said; ‘there is no such thing as an individual christian’ yet our culture, however, has radcially individualized the way we see our lives and the way we live together. Central to Jesus’ mission (indeed the whole Bible) is the formation of a community that would live in the life of God – for the sake of the world. This community, the church, to called to live incarnationally (forgiving, serving,…), relationally (committed friendships, healthy marriages…), missionally, the message they know and believe.
Every person is God breathed and God called . Our human journey, in part, is a journey of discovering who we are, how we are wired, and how to serve God best in the world. The church, therefore, ought to be deeply committed to helping people discover who they are and supporting them as they navigate their way in the world. This involves valuing the world of work – that the church is developing leaders and giftedness to bless, and to have influence, in the world.
The church is a community that lives for the sake of the vulnerable, the disadvantaged, the outsider. Loving our neighbour, whether they are in Christian community or outside it, is the essence of Christlikeness. Jesus always practiced a radical inclusion of the outsider – this involves seeing people, accepting people and acting with compassion; hospitality, generosity and creativity for the sake of the other.
Nigel Dixon a member of NZCN’s All of Life Faith discussion group. He is a life coach, husband, father, and bible teacher. He completed a post-graduate theological study through Regent College in Vancouver. He loves exploring scripture and culture and the challenge that being Christian poses in a post-Christian world. Nigel is employed part-time by Emmaus to organise the curriculum and lecture. He is the author of Villages Without Walls.