The second Chapter of Elton Trueblood’s book is entitled, “The habit of adventure”. It starts with this quote,
“Without adventure civilization is in full decay – Alfred Whitehead”
In this chapter, Trueblood builds on his thought that a movement needs a redemptive society(you can read the first post here). In previous years Emmanuel Katongole has called this society “wild spaces”. He asks why is the church a domesticated space? And why are so many people leaving the church? (remember he wrote this in 1948).
“There is no denying that many of the best people are outside the churches precisely because they are the best people. The fact that they’ve been disgusted is something in their favour, at least it shows that their standards are encouragingly high.”
The reasons Trueblood offer for the domestication are,
- insipidity – Lacking flavor
- little imagination
- dull, lifeless services
He laments, “We are in a time of crises when we need a dynamic fellowship to turn the world upside down; what we are offered is a stereotype” (p43).
The word Trueblood chooses to break from the stereotype is adventure,
“It (the church) is in full decay because it lacks the element of adventure. It is not the adventurous fellowship which can redeem society.It is something else.” (43) and “In the spirit of adventure, and by the use of disciplined imagination, we might be able to encourage a new growth, within the existent churches. We might be able to inaugurate a redemptive movement that could take our dry bones and make them live.” (45)
The images he use to describe this redemptive adventurous movement are, imagination, dreaming, modest experiments, boldness, courage, radical, real membership. But above else,
“Whatever else may be the character of the redemptive society which the crisis of our time demands, it is at least clear that the society must make the habit of adventure central to its life”.(49)
This adventurous imaginative experiment is not the formation of a new denomination but a fermenting within the current church. It is a movement or order crossing boundaries.
“The essential experiment we need to make in our day is an experiment in radical Christianity. The redemptive society we need is an order within the Church Universal, devoted to the recovery and fulfillment of radical Christianity.”