Ecumenism is not all about Local Ecumenical Partnerships and the Faith and Order debate. Indeed this is why I wanted to start this blog - to explore some of the wider issues and possibilities - I believe ecumenism has a lot of potential to surprise in all sorts of ways if only we can shift the log jam of debate about church structures. The exploring of each others traditions, the deepening of understanding of our and other traditions can open up many new possibilities. Let's identify the real issues as we search for meaning in the modern (post-modern?) world.
Possible features - this list is an attempt to indicate what I hope to cover. The aim is to explore possibilities rather than criticise what's happening; to widen the scope of ecumenical conversations, rather than continue the existing ones.
1. To share stories - this is important but I'm not sure how this will happen on a blog. It would be good to find out why readers are still with their own tradition (or moving on) and how they got there in the first place. This is a reflection of recent developments in ecumenical work as some of the new Pentecostal churches have started to show interest in ecumenism.
2. Websites, books - where are issues being addresed that open up new horizons?
3. Ecumenism means the reconciliation of the whole cosmos in God - isn't it time we took this seriously?
4. If it's not Faith and Order - what are the issues we should be addressing?
5. Re-framing full visible unity - it's not going to go away - how can it adapt to our changing context? And are there really no credible alternatives?
6. Exploration of the role of consensus, participation, finding the spirit of the meeting - practical ways to engage people in real conversations. John 1:1 'It all started with a conversation' - my translation.
7. Deep listening - there's a lot going on in this area, so why are the churches so bad at it?
8. Complexity theory and ecumnenism.
9. Starting with the local - why have the fresh expressions become so disincarnate (or have they)? The flight from the technicalities of property and finances - why do we make our spirituality so unreal?