Television and cinema reboots have been all the rage lately. Girl Meets World follows the family of Cory and Topanga years down the road. A rumored revamping of Stargate promises to leave behind the legacies of the SG-1, Atlantis, and Universe franchises, something that continues to rankle avid fans of the television series (and if those words mean nothing to you, use the Google to find out).
I'm particularly impressed by the Star Trek reboot for a number of reasons. It stays faithful to the old storyline by leaving it intact through the use of a common science fiction device known as the multiverse. This actually borrows from the mutliple universe hypothesis within the field of physics. In short, multiple universes exist, and the former Star Trek franchise (Shatner, Picard, et al) exists within a different universe than the new franchise (Chris Pine). Yet, these universes remain inextricably linked as a part of all reality that is within the overarching multiverse, and so homages to the original series exist within the new franchise (no spoilers, but Khan).
Are you confused yet? Or just distracted by my nerdery? That's fine, either way.
But here's why I find that fascinating for the church. I think we need to constantly envision ourselves as within the multiverse. As the church faces postmodernity, we should consider the reality that the world we live in is ridiculously different than the ages once faced by Christians in the past. But, it is not totally disconnected from that world either. We live in a world different from but inherently related to the world of history. Perhaps the church requires not complete newness, nor complete tradition, but rather, a reboot. Something new that faces the world in which we leave, but something that honors the world from whence we came.
For church planters and redevelopers, this means that we can't simply repeat our past behaviors, regardless of their success. Yet, we cannot abandon them either. We remain inextricably bound, not by a multiverse, but by our God, who created us, redeemed us in Christ Jesus, and give us new life in the Holy Spirit. As the church, we gather with the worlds past, and the worlds of the future, as we minister in the present, all in the hope that God reconciles all things through Christ Jesus.
In this reboot, things will not remain the same. They should not. But our life as the church will remain bound up with the church of the past as we work alongside Christ, not casting out the past, but working to incarnate the love of God in our present circumstances, which is a fitful homage to our forebears, and an active life in Christ.
Simultaneously a sinner and a saint.