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Yesterday I was reflecting on the famous artist Van Gogh and how one cannot really know him just by looking at his pictures. One must enter into his world, his life, soul and mind, to appreciate his art. If I saw his original 'Chair' in the local flea-market I would hardly give it a second glance and say the neighbour’s 12-year old son would make a better effort at drawing a chair! Maybe the frame around it might be worth a few pence. Yet those who truly ‘know’ Van Gogh are prepared to pay millions for that picture, hang it in an art gallery and put an armed guard around it!!

I suppose it is the same with Jesus Christ. If all I know of him is what I see in a crib or read in books – even the New Testament – it is of no real significance without entering into his ‘world’ and developing a real relationship with the man. What he wants is followers not fans. This requires serious reflection and effort. What would it mean to be a radical disciple of Jesus today?


this got me thinking about ecclesiastical structure

the church in the east was urban - Paul worked in the cities and house churches formed from committed groups meeting together

the church in the west grew from conversion of tribes and with the breakdown of the Roman empire was the only organizing principle and source of law

so if we were to start from scratch in the 21st century, what would be our organizing principle?

the impulse for like minds to gather together has always remained - the religious orders - the Catholic Worker movement - in the 60s the formation of house churches again

from my friends who have left but not really left, i know there are groups meeting that celebrate the eucharist with priests who have officially left

there are also groups meeting with women priests
in the USA there are a growing number of women legitimately ordained by a bishop in apostolic succession

do these splinter groups have something in common?
what are they saying about following Jesus?

the eucharist is central to living in union with Jesus - "do this in memory of me"
what flows, or should flow, from the celebration of the eucharist?
can one be a radical follower without the eucharist?

certain protestant groups would say yes
certainly the Quakers have always tried to be radical followers
individuals of all beliefs have been radical in their approach to the problems of the world

what is needed in the 21st century?
The Prophet isn't an easy man, but I don't suppose he ever claimed to be.

I guess as _seaivy_ says, the Quaker approach is radical- I still struggle with the concept of 'the light within'. That said, we take the view that communion is the meeting of people not the taking bread and/or wine- when he said 'do this', we believe he referred to the coming together as much as the shared meal.