earlier this year i got to meet steve summers who teaches theology in guildford. his phd thesis explored friendship and its implications for the church in postmodernity. it's been published by an academic publisher so is very expensive but i borrowed a copy from him and got the cms library to get one if you want to borrow it. as well as a look at the history and theology of friendship steve suggests two simple ideas - that church could be conceived of as a community of friends and communion as a a meal with friends. disarmingly simple eh?! but i have found these quite compelling ideas.
through lent grace have been having a series of meals in peoples homes, reading through a book and discussing a chapter each week and sharing bread and wine in the context of a meal to remember christ. it's been really quite brilliant. tonight is the last one in the series. the one i led several weeks ago i based around this idea and say a bit more about it here. i have been meaning to blog about it for a while but today seemed fitting as the church traditionally remembers jesus last supper with friends on this day (though not sure why it's called the last supper as he did have at least another one in emmaus!?).
i am starting a series 4 of worship tricks and this will be the first.
if you want to read a review of the book there was one in practical theology journal here. here's a quote
It is the role he claims for the church, though, that makes this book so worthwhile. Summers presents the possibility of a hospitable church as a means of healing a wounded society through friendship which offers a profoundly counter-cultural opportunity as a social good. He examines hospitality by engaging with Derrida as a conversation partner, liking Derrida’s openness and refusal to reach resolution, which Summers believes to accord with the open Kingdom of God which is never to be apprehended, and which is found in the dynamic of Eucharistic table fellowship, in which the God who welcomes all, shares and is shared