With the recent launch of 'Ancient Faith: Future Mission' on fresh expressions in the catholic tradition, Nick Baines (ht Church Mouse) has been responding to a Telegraph report on the book, where one CofE cleric called experments in new forms of worship 'shallow and pointless.'
I love shallow and pointless.
When we introducing our children to water for the first time, shallow was better than deep. It was safer, and they felt more at ease there. Our eldest is just starting to get used to deeper water now, but would never have managed it without starting in the shallow stuff and discovering it wasn't something to be afraid of. And being children, our kids engagement with water is mostly pointless - it doesn't have a goal, they just enjoy it. One of the great statements of faith, the Westminster Confession, states that "the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him for ever."
We're just about to try out our first 'Messy Church' (one of the best used 'fresh expressions' models) - sitting in a cafe discussing it last week, the lady on the next table spotted the fliers and said 'ooh, that sounds interesting'. It's the connotation of fun and play which attracts people, without the label of 'church' putting them off.
A pool which has a shallow and a deep end has more room and gives more people a way in. Some can dive straight into the deep end, others wade in tentatively from the shallows. Questions about where you are in the pool are secondary to the fact that we're all in it together.