via • the way renovo • restoration and renewal
viaRenovo expresses God’s way in the world. His purpose is to restore and renew what is broken.
I remember sitting in class the first semester of my seminary education feeling pretty amazed at what I was hearing. I think it was “The Life and Teachings of Jesus” taught by Dr. Dan Doriani. What struck me was how a New Testaments book like Matthew was written as a whole and how one story followed another which led to a parable, all apparently structured in such a way to communicate profound truths. Now you would think that someone who had been involved in campus ministry with The Navigators for 10 years would have already figured this out but I guess either the it had not been sufficiently explained to me or I hadn’t been listening.
For me the Bible was a collection of stories which had been gathered into one place and, at best, had been put in chronological order. I believed these stories were important but I hadn’t given much thought to the literary structure of the writings. Discovering literary context was, for me, like someone who had only seen in black and white suddenly finding a world of color. For a guy like me, who needs to understand how A leads to B this was nothing short of remarkable. Imagine the pleasure I then had in learning that the whole of Scripture told a Grand Story with a beginning, middle, end a epilogue.
Over the next four years the chapters of the story took on more significance and power in shaping my view of the world. Creation, Fall, Redemption and Consummation have entered into my everyday thinking and have given me a framework for understanding God’s way in the world.
In short, it goes like this, God created everything good and placed us in it with a desire for relationship with us. Also given choice we responded by choosing relationships with things rather than with God. This led to a fall from the place of dignity and intimacy with God. Yet God does not give up. He goes about restoring both His people and his creation. The restoration (redemption, renewal, re-creation) takes place through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ with grace being the active change agent in all he does. And now we work alongside Him in this restoration, fully trusting in the work that has already been done on the cross while, simultaneously awaiting the consummation of this work spoken of when the world is made new (Revelation 21-22).
Tolkein put it this way, “Everything sad is coming untrue.”
The understanding of God’s way in the world has profound implications. Personally it means there is hope for my wife and me as we look forward to having another chance to raise our son Conner who died at birth. That, in itself is one reason this rings true for me, but culturally this brings clarity and purpose to the world around us.
If, as some interpret it, the Christian worldview means an escape from the world because “all is lost” and God is only in the business of saving souls on a sinking ship, then I have very little interest in the world around me or what those outside the church think, speak or create. But, on the other hand, if God’s way is restoring the created order and redeeming what has been lost, then I’m all ears.
That’s way viaRenovo means to me. This phrase means “the way of restoration” and to me that is a beautiful way of expressing how God approaches the world.
He sees — no, he makes — a way through the darkness and His light penetrates every alley, crooked street and broken heart. “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”1
This does not mean just “souls”. Jesus’ restoration is for all things and all places, and as his grace collides with all things it brings renewal to our2 homes, workplaces, theaters, and schools and penetrating social structures, institutions, marriages and individual human heart.
viaRenovo seeks to join with God in bringing about this restoration in three ways; Conversation, Confrontation and Connection.
Conversation – Restoration always takes place within the realm of relationship.
viaRenovo will provide fodder for conversation, whether it be film reviews, discussion of current events or asking hard questions, the point will be interaction and conversation with others who are striving to see God’s renewing way in their lives. My hope is that you will contribute as much to this site as I do.
Confrontation – Redemption always involves the confronting of previously held beliefs.
Increasingly, I’m believing that at the heart of repentance is a paradigm shift. Primarily we need a shift from a moralistic, performance-orietned religion to through a confrontaion with a radical, grace-based view of our walk with God. I believe that was the aim of much of Jesus’ teaching—getting people to see with new eyes and live lives out of a new heart which was being daily transformed by grace.
Connection – Renewal is aided by connection with new ideas and resources.
If we are to live lives of grace we need to be regularly connected to others who see and respond to God’s way in the world. This is a place to post resources, introduce others to new ideas, art and literature.
So, please join us, offer your voice to the conversation, submit to confrontation, connect others to resources and together let’s discover God’s viaRenovo.
1 John 3:17 – English Standard Version
2 Romans 8:18-12
3 Genesis 3:15