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Exploration, A Field Manual For A Faithful, Renewing Community

Why Exploration, the field manual?

Many people have left the church, or never entered it at all, because they think it is irrelevant. Some people have stayed in the church, not knowing why, because they think it is irrelevant. Those two groups are the people for whom I wrote this manual. Others may also benefit. Sometimes this judgement, of irrelevance, arises because of the way we use words and the way the use of words changes right out from under us.

This manual offers a tool for understanding those changes. I call the tool “re-picturing”.  The manual shows the roots of the tool on the pages of scripture and how that tool can help us connect the words we and others use with the experiences we have had, people, ancient and modern. I intend this manual for use with a small group, meeting regularly, for the purpose of reading the text together and responding to the question, “What does that call to mind?” The introduction offers specific guidance on how to use the book.

The text begins with a look at the word “chair”, and the objects over the centuries to which we refer to using the word “chair”. The text infers a correlation principle, a concept of chair-ness. Then, because we cannot sit on our idea of a chair, the text asks us to imagine what “chair” might look like tomorrow, faithful to the essence of chair-ness, yet ever new. This illustrates the tool the text calls “re-picturing”. The text deals briefly with liturgy as a teaching tool.

Next it offers a brief summary, highlighting specific episodes and characters, of the narrative from Moses to Herod. These details are later used as examples, specific instances, pictures in the mind, as the study group follows the text to use this tool, “re-picturing”, to explore selected expressions from theology — messiah, demon, Immanuel, sin, grace, the divine experienced as father, the divine experienced as Christ, the divine experienced as holy spirit. The text looks at various aspects of mission, drawing on both scriptural and secular sources and examples.

Finally the text uses “repicturing” to look at the word “church” and how it might be re-imagined, faithful to the historic roots, and yet new for the new data we have.

I found that using the process described develops a sense of community, and of spiritual growth.

~ Dick Shore

Offered for free by the author, please click here to download the Manual.

About the Author
Dr Richard Shore earned a PhD from Duke, and an MBA from U. Toledo. He held a variety of academic, and industrial positions. He also impersonated John Muir, the naturalist, to the delight of thousands. And, since the 1970’s he has been synthesizing important understandings of sociology, theology, and economics to help lay people see ways to be faithful while so much is changing, including even the way we use words, thus to systematically re-invent ourselves.

Review & Commentary