Okay, so to return to the story of Thin Places. First I have to locate it historically. Thin Places began back around 2002 as an offshoot of Community of Hope, a ministry amongst New Age seekers at Mind Body Spirit Festivals that I’d been part of since 1997 or thereabouts. I could write a whole bunch of posts about this too, but for today I’m simply going to refer you to the book, Jesus and the Gods of the New Age, which covers this in a whole lot more detail.
Thin Places began as a conviction that we needed to take things further than just outreach events, that we were being called to more deeply integrate worship and witness as a contextual Christian community. So I gathered together a bunch of people, some of them converts from the New Age movement like myself, some of them just Christians with an interest, and started experimenting with alternative worship.
By this stage Neo-Paganism had began to edge out New Age as the cutting edge of alternative spirituality so we began to ask ourselves, what would a more ecologically sensitive and symbolically aware Christianity look like? We started experimenting with alternative worship in homes and nature. We aligned our gatherings with the seasons, eight each year, and enjoyed ourselves immensely. Some of us became more integrated with the Neo-Pagan community and became involved in alternative gatherings such as the Winter Magic Festival.
There were however weaknesses to this approach too, which became more apparent as time went on. First of all, the nomadic element. Not everyone was as willing to travel, which led to irregularity in the group numbers. Second of all, reflective liturgy didn’t work as well for us once kids came on the scene. Thirdly, it was still weak on the discipleship side. Fourthly, and most importantly, I realised that in some ways we’d over contextualised, though in others not enough. Eventually these factors led us to move on, and Thin Places is no more, but I’ll have to continue this later.