Prophetic Communities

From the ‘Joy in Enough’ Retreat, at Noddfa, November 2014 led by Mary Grey

Saturday morning:  Community as Prophet 

What kind of communities will sustain relationships based on different values? Is the only answer to this, prophetic communities that encourage the kenotic praxis of marginality? The notion of marginality, of dwelling on borders and boundaries is key. Marginality as a place of holding onto integrity and as well as a place of de-constructing the power- centres, not a place for building a new one. So the essence of marginality is to be temporary: throughout history marginal communities – truly creating theology in the darkness – have stimulated institutional Churches out of stagnation. Whether the Christian Churches have the humility to practise the kenotic way is a huge issue.

  1. We human beings are responsible for the crisis – so the first thing the prophetic community does is call our culture to account; we are judging communities
  2. Prophets see and imagine differently – they do not just denounce the status quo. But they resist it as the inevitable state of affairs. So, how do we develop our  prophetic imagination and refuse to accept what seems inevitable?
  3. Prophetic communities are resistance communities as we noted last night – resistance is both secret of hope and the secret of joy. What do we resist? An economic system of limitless growth that seeks to preserve a way of life destructive to the earth and ultimately to human wellbeing.
  4. Prophetic communities don’t sink their hope merely in obvious, technological solutions–  like carbon trading, carbon offsetting – but in becoming transformed communities, in changing our desires, our patterns of consumption and lifestyles.  In looking for deeper solutions.
  5. Recognise that one of these deeper causes is the split between science and religion to the detriment of both. Religion tending to speak in abstractions and to be individualistic/ privatised. Failing to address the whole of life. A deep wound to our cultural soul with this split.
  6. Science has been allowed to develop with limited ethical concerns and values, instrumentally. It has let the genie out of the bottle without calculation of the consequences – eg atom bomb, nuclear weapons. Prophetic communities reconnect science to liberation ethics that  focuses on the what the endless growth paradigm means for the poorest and most vulnerable life-forms, the life of the planet itself.
  7. Prophetic communities are lamenting, mourning communities – lamenting what is forever lost…
  8. Prophetic communities cultivate deeper connections with each other, the human and non-human and with communities that are increasingly the victims of climate change. Prophetic communities rebuild and sustain broken connections. Broken connections between human/non-human; but also between rich and poor nations, especially where the brunt, the real suffering of  climate change is being experienced. Prophetic communities are where there is space to listen to the stories and to develop a compassionate response.
  9. Prophetic communities rediscover Christian story as Earth story as cosmic story – What kind of theology sustains prophetic communities? Belief in God’s  providence, the mystery of God’s continuing care. Reclaim the Wisdom traditions…where we acknowledge that we have scarcely begun to understand the wisdom embedded in creation for  millions of years before we came on the scene.
  10. Recognise Christ’s Cross planted ever anew where life is vulnerable.


Prophecy is:

seeing differently,  vision, widened  and creative

imagination; hearing and listening..

re-membering the shared story..

lamenting, making space for sorrow…..


Being steadfast;

Developing a practice of communing that embraces otherness and difference; and faces the unknown;

Becoming reconciling community;

Being steadfast;

Developing a practice of communing that embraces otherness and difference; and faces the unknown;

Becoming reconciling community;

embodying all this in community..

thanks to Mary Grey for allowing the publication of her notes



Author: poppy | Date: 13 November, 2014 | Category: Talks | Comments: 0

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