Why is this site entitled ‘the diaconal church’ ? Because the task of ‘the diaconal church’ is to try and offer an example of what a society transformed by the gifts of what I call ‘the kingdom community’ might be like. Why do societies need to be transformed? Because, unless that happens, our world will continue to struggle to find any way of surviving and flourishing in the face of fragmentation and conflict. We don’t have to listen to the news for very long to realise what a mess we are making of things.
In recent years, we have perhaps become a little more aware that our survival depends of humankind becoming a global community. But the kind of globalization which currently rules the roost is decreed by the gods of economics, no commandments of which have the human potential to see us through. Nor does serving the gods of an insular nationalism, now raising its ugly head as many people react to a market-dominated form of globalization which is badly failing them, offer us any better hope of becoming one world. We urgently need a new communal vision and the power to make that vision a reality.
This site is about how that vision might be fashioned and made real. It is a hope founded on an amazing vision which took shape ‘on earth’ – through a person who taught about it, witnessed to it and died for it. He called it ‘the kingdom of God’. We call it ‘the kingdom community‘ – because it is also a vision about people for people and with people.
Down the years the church, with its many faults, has tried to discern and make known what the gifts of that kingdom – life, liberation, love and learning – are all about. The church is not the kingdom community. The church is the servant of the kingdom community. And because ‘servant’ in Greek is translated by the world ‘diaconal’ – we call it ‘the diaconal church’.
So we look to the diaconal church to give us some insights into what community at its most purposeful, creative and powerful is all about. The diaconal church is not yet here. Its emergence is hindered by an institutional church which remains moulded by the culture of Christendom. But slowly and agonisingly the diaconal church is being born. Glimpses of what it looks life are all around us – for those with eyes to see and ears to hear. On this site we try to discern some of those signs.
The task which faces all of us – whether we carry the label ‘Christian’ or not – is to work together to discern where the gifts of the kingdom are already at work – and to use those situations as our inspiration. Empowered by what we have seen, our job is to build our fragmented and fractious world into a global community of communities. One in which every society is being transformed by the gifts of the kingdom community – the ultimate community of life, liberation, love and learning.