According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson
We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord
Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Great Emergence of Christianity

There has been a lot of discussion lately as to whether we are in a time that is a game changer described as the very early stages of postmodernism and its seeming correspondent form of Christianity known as Emergent Christianity. As said earlier, I'm not sure whether Emergent Christianity is real or not, whether it is a movement or not, or whether its is a separate branch of Christianity or not (hopefully not!).

But if I were to choose I would think of it as an ecumenical postmodernistic Christian movement composed of a wide variety of believers from many different walks of life and doctrine, theology and practice, who are investigating postmodernistic expressions (as well as responses) to their Christian faith, whether orthodox or not. The idea of a Great Emergence is an attempt by its author Phyllis Tickle to explain her understanding of the historical import of this introductory era that we seemed to have entered into - its creative expressions and recapture of the Christian faith, as well as the  frustrations of non-emergent believers resistant to change and movement within their traditional faith expressions, structures, beliefs and practices.

For myself, I come from the conservative side of orthodox Christianity that is looking for faith's life and breath again against all the quantified statements that have formed themselves into rigid theological structures within our modernistic era. Not that they aren't good, solid, acceptable expressions of God, his Word and our faith communities, but that they seemed to have lost the life of God, his Word and the essence of communal living. Some of this I attribute to the constant reparsing and redefining of the Christian tradition until it has become trapped in a dark tunnel unable to see the life and hope and beauty that God has intended for us. At other times because we fear change as unhealthy or unproductive and wish to prove and discern new movements before accepting their questionable foundations and philosophies.

Which is all well and good but my charge to my conservative friends is twofold - don't so over criticize what could be a legitimate God-sent movement so as to kill the thing itself and in the killing kill your own faith's hope for salvation and life. And secondly, if there is some remnant of fact or heartfelt experience that is attractive within this Emergent movement than get on board and allow faith to grow again. Do not try to capture it and re-work it backwards into a dying expression of faith. But through listening and discerning Emergent Christianity's heartbeat let it wash back over all the past into something cleansing, renewing, revitalizing and refreshings.

For without active orthodox acceptance and support this movement can become stillborn and left to less traditional proponents of Christianity which may then take generations to recapture and express again. But don't come to emergent Christianity seeking to only put on its new dress, new clothes and new shoes! For this movement requires a radical change of thinking, of re-orientation. It requires a change of heart and a change of spirit that is found underneath the new clothes and shoes.  And once that is done postmodernistic Christianity will be a thing of beauty unlike its older, modernistic self dressed in its dark grays and death-filled colours.

Overall, I am thankful to my past which contained enough kernels of faith and truth that it could be rebirthed into the freedom of investigating a larger, less restrictive paradigm to the Christian faith. But it took awhile to hear again God's word and Spirit partly because I was to blame and partly because what I was listening to was inconsistent and ill-defined - rough as it were in its early stages of expression. It took a long while to hear this new paradigm's heartbeat and for its message to be sorted out and better understood and streamlined by its proponents. But its message is one that the Belfast Irishman, Peter Rollins, (cf. the last four videos below) has summed up quite neatly and shows in postmodernistic fashion what real faith can mean again by allowing Christianity's traditional creedal and religious statements to live and breath and find expression like they once had had.

And with that said, let me say that this is the very reason why this web blog has been developed - to help elucidate the best of what Emergent Christianity could be, as it interacts with both the older and newer traditional beliefs and practices of Christianity. So then, let me place a charge of responsibility to every believer that each of us be involved with enhancing this conversation of our Lord and Savior to the best version of itself that we can express this side of humanity. This is my prayer, my hope, my desire for today's postmodern church in its communal witness, ministry, worship and spirit-filled life.

- skinhead

The Great Emergence, October 2008

In 2008, Phyllis Tickle and Peter Rollins discuss
the spirit and theology of the emerging church
movement and what is happening abroad.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

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