This curious web address is taken from the title of a book I wrote several years ago having to do with the essence and meaning of the church. I had been engaged in a conversation with a young graduate student, who had pressed me on my opinion about the whole church issue. Among other adjectives I tossed out, was the description of the church as “enchanted” which called forth a somewhat cynical response. But, I explained to him, the New Testament teaches that the “church is the dwelling place of God by the Holy Spirit,” and that entitles it to the definition of being enchanted. A prolonged conversion followed, which became the book: ENCHANTED COMMUNITY: JOURNEY INTO THE MYSTERY OF THE CHURCH (Wipf and Stock, 2006). That conversation continued and became a second volume on the meaning and purpose of the church, entitled: REFOUNDING THE CHURCH FROM THE UNDERSIDE (Wipf and Stock, 2011). A third volume out this same ongoing conversation with a group of younger adult friends has produced THE CHURCH AND THE RELENTLESS DARKNESS, which engages the whole subject of the church’s proclivity to revert to a less than Christian expression of community, i.e., spiritual conflict. It’s publication is pending.
My own credentials are varied. I was a pastor within the Presbyterian Church for 40+ years, during which time I was our denominations staff person in the field of evangelism for four years. I cut my teeth in university communities where I was continually subjected to the delightful questioning by my student participants, and was forced into a more dialogical approach to my whole role as a teaching shepherd within the church, especially in times of social crisis through which I was living. I have been engaged in ecumenical think tanks of various sorts, such as the American Society of Missiology, the Gospel and Our Culture Network (Newbigin), and others. The blogs on this site will flow out of that life-long, and continuing engagement with the enigma of Christ’s church.
My purpose in these blogs will be to provoke discussion about the church as sit moves out of the Christendom era into a decidedly post-Christian era, into a period described as: liminal. Hopefully I can facilitate the plug-ins that will encourage response and dialogue.
– Robert Thornton Henderson –