Now comes the tricky part of laying out what the church will be about and how we will go about doing that. A few key values have been outlined:

Generous Orthodoxy
“Generosity without orthodoxy is nothing, but orthodoxy without generosity is worse than nothing.” (Hans Frei)

At the Dwelling Place, we affirm the unique role of scripture (the Spirit speaking authoritatively through the Biblical text) and the historic Christian faith as expressed in the ancient creeds (the historical framework of the essential truths of the Christian faith in the tradition of apostolic teachings). We see these as distinct borders that provide an open area to explore the depths of God. Orthodox doctrine is best done in practice within a community of faith, who together reflect and wrestle with the truth as they engage in mission to the truth. It is a way of seeing and living life that forms us as a people to be the revolution that we long for. But we also realize the need for ongoing conversation as we explore the mysteries of the faith, for we are not yet finished. So, in the meantime, we keep seeking, asking, listening, and learning in openness to the Spirit who is guiding the Church into the fullness of Truth.

Deep Ecclesiology
“I want to prepare like an evangelical; preach like a Pentecostal; pray like a mystic; do the spiritual disciplines like a Desert Father; art like a Catholic; and social justice like a liberal.” (Mark Driscoll)

Following the “hermeneutic of love,” we believe the best insight comes from a trusting, loving respectful stance as we question and critique. We are committed to respecting and honoring the Church in all of its shapes and sizes. Every model of church has strengths and weaknesses, along with drawbacks and possibilities. The rampant effects of sin and all the obstacles that come with it are big enough that no single form of church can deal with them all, so we seek to embody the strengths in many traditions and historic streams of Christian faith and view them all as a mutual fund where we collect and share and value everyone’s treasures.

Childlike Faith
“I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Jesus – Matthew 18:3)

Wonder. Curiosity. Abandon. Playfulness. Listening. Passion. Celebration. Imagination. Spontaneity. Openness. Creativity. Children hold so little regard for status, title, or position and have so little of the things that consume the lives of adults, and yet they are filled with such joy. They are fully alive, and every waking moment is a chance to explore life. We desire to be a people who fid the ordinary as intriguing as the extraordinary. We believe that our magnificent God is always available and present, and that He is at work in every moment in every square inch of th cosmos. Our lives right here right now are gifts, and they are unspeakably good, so we long to give ourselves in wild abandon to the One who gave them to us. As we embrace astonishment as a spiritual discipline, we are learning to recover the capacity for wonder. Everything we do is meant to prepare us to see that every action can be completed with an orientation toward God. Grace is everywhere!

Continual Creation
“The story of God begins with creation–with the spectacular, extravagant creativity of God. Before anything existed, the Creator God was; out of nothing, God created everything. Our Creator has graciously gifted us, as divine image-bearers, with creativity. Though we are not able, like God, to create something from nothing, we are able to imagine and bring into being a lavish array of new possibilities for ourselves and God’s world.” (Tom Sine)

When we speak of creation, we must think of a ongoing process, or as old theologians talked about: original creation, continual creation, and new creation. We believe as image-bearers that we have a mission to partner with God in this creative zone called the Kingdom of God. So beauty, art, and creativity are highly valued and seen as aligning with God to fulfill His creative processes in the world. Just as each one of us is a masterpiece in progress and creation is continuing in us, so we desire to keep generating new creative possibilities. We long to be students awakened to the process of learning to create in the way of the Master Artist, Jesus, who saw lilies, children, mustard sees, plowing, vineyards, and housework as indicators of a wider truth. Indeed, life is beautiful, and for this reason, we long to experience God in a myriad of ways.

Messy Spirituality
“He who thinks that he is finished, is finished. How true. Those who think that they have arrived, have lost their way. Those who think that they have reached their goal, have missed it. Those who think they are saints, are demons.” (Henri Nouwen)

Spirituality seems to be about the life of faith–what drives, motivates, and animates the life of believers and pulls them forward to deepen and perfect what has only begun in the present. It is the outworking of what a person does with what they believe. Christian spirituality is specifically concerned with a living encounter with the person of Christ, and then a living out of that interactive relationship in every moment of life. We believe that knowing God, not just knowing about Him, brings about the transformation of our existence and allows us to experience life in the full. The Dwelling Place exists to help spiritually form people into lovers of God and others, who then join in God’s redeeming love for all creation. We see everything we do as spiritual formation, helping each other to do God’s will on earth as it is done in heaven. But we also believe that spiritual growth is a messy process and that our flawed lives are the studio where God begins His great renovation. Spiritual formation is not a neat and tidy formula where we grasp perfection, but seems to be an uneven, incomplete, unfinished relationship with Christ that is always under construction. The Son of Man entered the ruins of our human existence and still found glory as He began the rebuilding process. We believe that He is still remaking us today as He calls us from where we are to become more than we ever imagined.

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Nothing’s set in stone yet, this is only our starting point. This is a matter of continuing conversation as we think through these values, think about which ones we may need to add, and try to visualize what these values will look like practically.

What do you think?