Chapter 7
New way of being

Chapter Summary

Philippians is a letter to a healthy, functioning church capable of handling conflict and division in a way that enhanced evangelism. Paul identifies the key to be humility. He calls the Philippians to imitate Christ who gave up everything to live as a slave and die on the cross and who was brought to life as Lord of all. This new way of being is both individual and communal and a starting point is hospitality. Churches are comfortable offering hospitality, but imitating Jesus means leaving our comfort zone and being a guest. It is as guest that we discover the world of our companions. The act of eating is essential to us as we share the Eucharist, but we need to ensure that our church communities step out into the world. We often seek to offer hospitality and invite people into our safe space. It is when we become vulnerable and step into their safe space that we are able to hear those we often ignore. In receiving hospitality we show respect and treat people as Jesus did, and according to Zac Nyringe and Roland Allen, it is authentic mission. Listening processes that seek to ‘heal the wounds of history’ are difficult and painful and require facilitation. A great facilitator will pay attention to all kinds of power dynamics and enable honest conversation. Along with eating and speaking we need to worship together. When there is division between churches we need to resist the temptation to retreat into our safe space and risk feeling uncomfortable together in worship. We need to read the scriptures together. Reading the Bible with someone you disagree with can be eye opening as you may encounter new ways of seeing the same reality; however, care must be taken that the opinion of one person does not overwhelm the other and so processes such as lectio are commended. The aim is that Christ is Lord and one side does not seek to win over another, but all learn from the scriptures.

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