According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for
this world to recreate, reclaim, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - 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

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

R.E. Slater - A Prayer (a poem)


Meet me along the primrose'd paths...



A Prayer
by R.E. Slater

Meet me along the primrose'd paths
And there abide till days long passed
Be Thou my heart and will's own muse
Forgiven amongst the morning dews.

Stay'd by prayer tho' night enclose
Entwine'd by grace we united arose
O'er misty lands of earthy delights
Or outer isles of nethering dawns.

Where ’ere is sung Thy abiding love
Bowed upon thorny hillock brakes -
“O Lord, Thou art our need and thrall”
“In giving Thyself hast Thou given all.”

May we do no less each Paschal day
Giving all to Thee our help and stay.

R.E. Slater
March 28, 2012








The Prayer





Jonathan and Charlotte





The Prayer

I pray you’ll be our eyes
And watch us where we go
And help us to be wise
In times when we don’t know

Let this be our prayer
As we go our way
Lead us to a place
Guide us with your grace
To a place where we’ll be safe
La luce che to dai

I pray we’ll find your light
Nel cuore restero
And hold it in our hearts
A ricordarchi che
When stars go out each night
L’eterna stella sei
Nella mia preghiera
Let this be our prayer
Quanta fede c’e
When shadows fill our day
Lead us to a place
Guide us with your grace

Give us faith so we’ll be safe.
Sognamo un mondo senza piu violenza

Un mondo di giustizia e di speranza
Ognuno dia la mano al suo vicino
Simbolo di pace e di fraternita

La forza che ci dai
We ask that life be kind
E’il desiderio che
And watch us from above
Ognuno trovi amore
We hope each soul will find
Intorno e dentro a se
Another soul to love

Let this be our prayer
Let this be our prayer
Just like every child
Just like every child

Needs to find a place,
Guide us with your grace
Give us faith so we’ll be safe
E la fede che
Hai acceso in noi
Sento che ci salvera





Charlotte Church - The Prayer (with Josh Groban)







Homeless Boy Steals The Talent Show


Sung-bong Choi from Korea
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZ46Ot4_lLo&feature=related





Related (to background music in video above):
Composer Ennio Morricone
The Mission: Love, Penance, Forgiveness, Restoration




Prayer
by Robert Louis Stevenson

I ASK good things that I detest,
With speeches fair;
Heed not, I pray Thee, Lord, my breast,
But hear my prayer.

I say ill things I would not say -
Things unaware:
Regard my breast, Lord, in Thy day,
And not my prayer.

My heart is evil in Thy sight:
My good thoughts flee:
O Lord, I cannot wish aright -
Wish Thou for me.

O bend my words and acts to Thee,
However ill,
That I, whate'er I say or be,
May serve Thee still.

O let my thoughts abide in Thee
Lest I should fall:
Show me Thyself in all I see,
Thou Lord of all.




Our Prayer of Thanks
by Carl Sandburg

For the gladness here where the sun is shining at
evening on the weeds at the river,
Our prayer of thanks.

For the laughter of children who tumble barefooted and
bareheaded in the summer grass,
Our prayer of thanks.

For the sunset and the stars, the women and the white
arms that hold us,
Our prayer of thanks.

God,
If you are deaf and blind, if this is all lost to you,
God, if the dead in their coffins amid the silver handles
on the edge of town, or the reckless dead of war
days thrown unknown in pits, if these dead are
forever deaf and blind and lost,
Our prayer of thanks.

God,
The game is all your way, the secrets and the signals and
the system; and so for the break of the game and
the first play and the last.
Our prayer of thanks.




Prayer XXIII
by Khalil Gibran

Then a priestess said, "Speak to us of Prayer."

And he answered, saying:

You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might pray also in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance.

For what is prayer but the expansion of yourself into the living ether?

And if it is for your comfort to pour your darkness into space, it is also for your delight to pour forth the dawning of your heart.

And if you cannot but weep when your soul summons you to prayer, she should spur you again and yet again, though weeping, until you shall come laughing.

When you pray you rise to meet in the air those who are praying at that very hour, and whom save in prayer you may not meet.

Therefore let your visit to that temple invisible be for naught but ecstasy and sweet communion.

For if you should enter the temple for no other purpose than asking you shall not receive.

And if you should enter into it to humble yourself you shall not be lifted:

Or even if you should enter into it to beg for the good of others you shall not be heard.

It is enough that you enter the temple invisible.

I cannot teach you how to pray in words.

God listens not to your words save when He Himself utters them through your lips.

And I cannot teach you the prayer of the seas and the forests and the mountains.

But you who are born of the mountains and the forests and the seas can find their prayer in your heart,

And if you but listen in the stillness of the night you shall hear them saying in silence,

"Our God, who art our winged self, it is thy will in us that willeth.

It is thy desire in us that desireth.

It is thy urge in us that would turn our nights, which are thine, into days which are thine also.

We cannot ask thee for aught, for thou knowest our needs before they are born in us:

Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all."
  


Along the primose'd paths...





  A Prayer

by R.E. Slater

Meet me along the primrose'd paths
And there abide till days long passed
Be Thou my heart and will's own muse
Forgiven amongst the morning dews.
Stay'd by prayer tho' night enclose
Entwine'd by grace we united arose
O'er misty lands of earthy delights
Or outer isles of nethering dawns.
Where ’ere is sung Thy abiding love
Bowed upon thorny hillock brakes -
“O Lord, Thou art our need and thrall”
“In giving Thyself hast Thou given all.”
May we do no less each Paschal day
Giving all to Thee our help and stay.


R.E. Slater
March 28, 2012








Monday, March 26, 2012

What Wikipedia Has to Say About the Emerging/Emergent Church. Part 2/2


Observations About Emergent Christianity

As far as I know there is no official Emergent association of churches or denominations. However, there are Emergent groups and organizations pursuing diverse objectives of whatever kind. Generally the Emergent Church is a movement which Christian fellowships and churches identify with, or who wish to work together, around a Christ-centered project or idea.

Generally the terms Emerging or Emergent within this blog site are used indistinguishably with one another as referring to a general movement of churches away from a specific brand of fundamental or conservative evangelical Christianity and towards a more progressive evangelical Christianity. However, in this article here, I have kept the distinction per Wikipedia's preference. Thus, when Wikipedia declares that there are Emerging or Emergent churches it will be understood that these terms may have multiple definitions for which I have given it the shorthand abbreviation of E/EC.

Generally, to be an Emerging Christian indicates an individual's choice to entertain, or inspect, the assertions of Emergent beliefs and practices. In another sense, an Emerging Christian is one who seeks to bring those faith characteristics into his or her life as a decided behavior, practice and ideology. And in a third sense, and by way of extension, it can be said that all Emergent Christians are in the continual state of Emerging, since the life of Jesus is an ever-evolving practice and distillation of one's faith. This is how I understand the difference - and the similarity - between the terms and why I have said that to be an Emerging Christian is no different than being an Emergent Christian. The terms are more-or-less inspecific and indistinguishable between the two even though an earlier decade of Christians have attempted a form of distinction.

Too, as a Christian movement, individuals, fellowships, churches, and even denominations may direct their efforts towards some one aspect of Emergent practice, or towards two or more aspects of Emergent practice. Nor must all E/EC characteristics be held to be Emergent but ideally most, if not all, of those aspects should be in some stage of evolvement. So that again the term emerging could be used to describe a group appropriating some but not all of those characteristics of the E/EC movement as described in the Wikipedia reference.

Overall, Emergent Christianity would be more properly described if it were said that this movement is more-or-less an expression of an attitude towards the Christian life - an attitude that distinguishes itself from (i) selective pet dogmas, (ii) regional/cultural church distinctives, (iii) or even subjectively placed interpretations upon the bible, faith, and God. An attitude that has both positive and negative characteristics to it as follows:

Positively, Emergent Christianity is a broadening of the Christian faith as postmodern, global, Christian movement that embraces many other forms of Christian faiths and Christianized religions  declaring Jesus as Lord and Savior as the central tenet of the Christian faith. It can be said that  Emergent Christianity is more tolerant and less judgmental of the body of Christ. More accepting of a variety of faith expressions and worship styles within itself; and generally more centralized around person and work of Jesus (rather than, for example, the Bible, or a dogmatic tenant, tradition, or past historical church movement).

Negatively, it seems that Emergent Christianity may have arisen historically first as a reaction to an orthodox Christianity that had become skewed by pet dogmas, preferred regional/cultural church distinctives, or subjective interpretations placed upon the bible, faith, and God. Thus, Emergent Christianity could properly be described as a re-orientation of orthodox Christianity back to the fundamentals of its faith without the plethora of criterion and formulas placed upon orthodoxy by well-meaning Christian groups advancing their restrictive beliefs on how to follow Jesus through a culture of dogmatic imposition and statement.

Consequently, Emergent Christianity is simply an orthodox Christianity that is being updated and re-jigged for postmodern, global expression to the many people-groups of the world. It is no more than, nor no less than, this. And consequently, it is specifically important to re-emphasize a better understanding of fundamental Christian doctrines and theologies that can reflect this attitude, or understanding. Thus, this website/blog has placed a high importance on properly interpreting and implementing the Word of God in our lives, our worship, and our apprehension of the divine, through an expansive, and progressive, hermeneutic that would examine every systematic and theological statement for contemporary theological relevance pertaining to Emergent practices and beliefs.

R.E. Slater
March 23, 2012
edited December 2, 2014



c o n t i n u e d   f r o m -

What Wikipedia Has to Say About the
Emerging/Emergent Church
Part 1/2

http://relevancy22.blogspot.com/2012/03/what-wikipedia-has-to-say-about.html


* * * * * * * * * * * *


The Emerging Church
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emerging_church

Last updated: March 20, 2012

The emerging church, sometimes wrongly equated with the emergent movement or emergent conversation, (see "Definitions and terminology" and "Similar labels" below for clarification) is a Christian movement of the late 20th and early 21st century that crosses a number of theological boundaries: participants can be described as Protestant, post-Protestant, Catholic, evangelical[1] post-evangelical, liberal, post-liberal, conservative, post-conservative, anabaptist, adventist,[2] reformed, charismatic, neocharismatic, and post-charismatic. Proponents, however, believe the movement transcends such "modernist" labels of "conservative" and "liberal," calling the movement a "conversation" to emphasize its developing and decentralized nature, its vast range of standpoints, and its commitment to dialogue. Participants seek to live their faith in what they believe to be a "postmodern" society. What those involved in the conversation mostly agree on is their disillusionment with the organized and institutional church and their support for the deconstruction of modern Christian worship, modern evangelism, and the nature of modern Christian community.


Definitions and terminology

The emerging church favors the use of simple story and narrative. Members of the movement often place a high value on good works or social activism, including missional living.[3] While some Evangelicals emphasize eternal salvation, many in the emerging church emphasize the here and now.[4] Key themes of the emerging church are couched in the language of reform, Praxis-oriented lifestyles, Post-evangelical thought, and incorporation or acknowledgment of political and Postmodern elements. [5] Many of the movement's participants use terminology that originates from postmodern literary theory, social network theory, narrative theology, and other related fields.[citation needed][original research?] Some have noted a difference between the terms "emerging" and "Emergent." While emerging is a wider, informal, church-based, global movement, Emergent refers to an official organization, the Emergent Village, associated with Brian McLaren, and has also been called the "Emergent stream." [6]

Emerging churches can be found throughout the globe, predominantly in North America, Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Africa. Some attend local independent churches or house churches[7][8][9] while others worship in traditional Christian denominations.
Stuart Murray states:
Emerging churches are so disparate there are exceptions to any generalisations. Most are too new and too fluid to clarify, let alone assess their significance. There is no consensus yet about what language to use: 'new ways of being church'; 'emerging church'; 'fresh expressions of church'; 'future church'; 'church next'; or 'the coming church'. The terminology used here contrasts 'inherited' and 'emerging' churches.[10][11]
Ian Mobsby observes:
The use of the phrase 'emerging church' appears to have been used by Larson & Osborne in 1970 in the context of reframing the meaning 'church' in the latter part of the twentieth century.[12] This book, contains a short vision of the 'emerging church' which has a profoundly contemporary feel in the early twenty-first century ... Larson & Osborne note the following themes: Rediscovering contextual and experimental mission in the western church. Forms of church that are not restrained by institutional expectations. Open to change and God wanting to do a new thing. Use of the key word ..."and". Whereas the heady polarities of our day seek to divide us into an either-or camp, the mark of the emerging Church will be its emphasis on both-and. For generations we have divided ourselves into camps: Protestants and Catholics, high church and low, clergy and laity, social activists and personal piety, liberals and conservatives, sacred and secular, instructional and underground. It will bring together the most helpful of the old and best of the new, blending the dynamic of a personal Gospel with the compassion of social concern. It will find its ministry being expressed by a whole people, wherein the distinction between clergy and laity will be that of function, not of status or hierarchical division. In the emerging Church, due emphasis will be placed on both theological rootage and contemporary experience, on celebration in worship and involvement in social concerns, on faith and feeling, reason and prayer, conversion and continuity, the personal and the conceptual.[13]
Similar labels

Although some emergent thinkers such as Brian McLaren and other Christian scholars such as D. A. Carson use "emerging" and "emergent" as synonyms, a large number of participants in the emerging church movement maintain a distinction between them. The term emergent church was coined in 1981 by Catholic political theologian, Johann Baptist Metz for use in a different context.[14] "Emergent" is sometimes more closely associated with Emergent Village. Those participants in the movement who assert this distinction believe "emergents" and "emergent village" to be a part of the emerging church movement but prefer to use the term "emerging church" to refer to the movement as a whole while using the term "emergent" in a more limited way, referring to Brian McLaren and emergent village.

Many of those within the emerging church movement who do not closely identify with "emergent village" tend to avoid that organization's interest in radical theological reformulation and focus more on new ways of "doing church" and expressing their spirituality. Mark Driscoll and Scot McKnight have now voiced concerns over Brian McLaren and the "emergent thread."[15] Other evangelical leaders such as Shane Claiborne have also come out to distance himself from the emerging church movement, its labels and the "emergent brand."[16]
Some observers consider the "emergent stream" to be one major part within the larger emerging church movement. This may be attributed to the stronger voice of the 'emergent' stream found in the US which contrasts the more subtle and diverse development of the movement in the UK, Australia and New Zealand over a longer period of time. In the US, some Roman Catholics have also begun to describe themselves as being part of the emergent conversation.[1] As a result of the above factors, the use of correct vocabulary to describe a given participant in this movement can occasionally be awkward, confusing, or controversial. Key voices in the movement have been identified with Emergent Village, thus the rise of the nomenclature "emergent" to describe participants in the movement.
Marcus Borg defines the term "emerging paradigm" in his 2003 book The Heart of Christianity. He writes
The emerging paradigm has been visible for well over a hundred years. In the last twenty to thirty years, it has become a major grassroots movement among both laity and clergy in "mainline" or "old mainline" Protestant denominations.
Borg provides a compact summary of this "emerging paradigm" as
a way of seeing the Bible (and the Christian tradition as a whole) as historical, metaphorical, and sacramental, [and] a way of seeing the Christian life as relational and transformational.[17]
History

There has been a strong bias in the US to ignore a history to the emerging church that preceded the US Emergent organization. This began with Mike Riddell and Mark Pierson in New Zealand from 1989, and with a number of practitioners in the UK including Jonny Baker, Ian Mobsby, Kevin, Ana and Brian Draper, and Sue Wallace amongst others, from around 1992.[18] The influence of the Nine O'Clock Service has been ignored also, owing to its notoriety, yet much that was practised there was influential on early proponents of alternative worship.[19] The US organization emerged in the late 1990s.

What is common to the identity of many of these emerging church projects that began in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, is that they developed with very little central planning on behalf of the established denominations.[20] They occurred as the initiative of particular groups wanting to start new contextual church experiments, and are therefore very 'bottom up'. Murray says that these churches began in a spontaneous way, with informal relationships formed between otherwise independent groups[21] and that many became churches as a development from their initial more modest beginnings.[22][23]

Values and characteristics

Trinitarian based values

Gibbs and Bolger[24] interviewed a number of people involved in leading emerging churches and from this research have identified some core values in the emerging church, including desires to imitate the life of Jesus; transform secular society; emphasise communal living; welcome outsiders; be generous and creative; and lead without control. Ian Mobsby suggests Trinitarian Ecclesiology is the basis of these shared international values:[25][26]

Ian Mobsby also suggests that the Emerging Church is centred on a combination of models of Church and of Contextual Theology that draw on this Trinitarian base: the Mystical Communion and Sacramental models of Church,[27] and the Synthetic and Transcendent models of Contextual Theology.[28][29]

According to Ian Mobsby, the Emerging Church has reacted to the missional needs of postmodern culture and re-acquired a Trinitarian basis to its understanding of Church as Worship, Mission and Community. He argues this movement is over and against some forms of conservative evangelicalism and other reformed ecclesiologies since the enlightenment that have neglected the Trinity, which has caused problems with certainty, judgementalism and fundamentalism and the increasing gap between the Church and contemporary culture.[30]

Post-Christendom mission and evangelism

According to Stuart Murray, Christendom is the creation and maintenance of a Christian nation by ensuring a close relationship of power between the Christian Church and its host culture.[31] Today, churches may still attempt to use this power in mission and evangelism.[32] The emerging church considers this to be unhelpful. Murray summarizes Christendom values as: a commitment to hierarchy and the status quo; the loss of lay involvement; institutional values rather than community focus; church at the centre of society rather than the margins; the use of political power to bring in the Kingdom; religious compulsion; punitive rather than restorative justice; marginalisation of women, the poor, and dissident movements; inattentiveness to the criticisms of those outraged by the historic association of Christianity with patriarchy, warfare, injustice and patronage; partiality for respectability and top-down mission; attractional evangelism; assuming the Christian story is known; and a preoccupation with the rich and powerful.[32]

The emerging church seeks a post-Christendom approach to being church and mission through: renouncing imperialistic approaches to language and cultural imposition; making 'truth claims' with humility and respect; overcoming the public/private dichotomy; moving church from the center to the margins; moving from a place of privilege in society to one voice amongst many; a transition from control to witness, maintenance to mission and institution to movement.[citation needed]

In the face of criticism, some in the emerging church respond that this it is important to attempt a "both and" approach to redemptive and incarnational theologies. Some Evangelicals and Fundamentalists are perceived as "overly redemptive" and therefore in danger of condemning people by communicating the Good News in aggressive and angry ways.[33] A more loving and affirming approach is proposed in the context of post-modernity where distrust may occur in response to power claims. It is suggested that this can form the basis of a constructive engagement with 21st century post-industrial western cultures. According to Ian Mobsby, the suggestion that the emerging church is mainly focused on deconstruction and the rejection of current forms of church should itself be rejected.[34]

Postmodern worldview and hermeneutics

The emerging church is a response to the perceived influence of modernism in Western Christianity. As some sociologists commented on a cultural shift that they believed to correspond to postmodern ways of perceiving reality in the late 20th century, some Christians began to advocate changes within the church in response. These Christians saw the contemporary church as being culturally bound to modernism. They changed their practices to relate to the new cultural situation. Emerging Christians began to challenge the modern church on issues such as: institutional structures, systematic theology, propositional teaching methods, a perceived preoccupation with buildings, an attractional understanding of mission, professional clergy, and a perceived preoccupation with the political process and unhelpful jargon ("Christian-ese").[35]

As a result, some in the emerging church believe it is necessary to deconstruct modern Christian dogma. One way this happens is by engaging in dialogue, rather than proclaiming a predigested message, believing that this leads people to Jesus through the Holy Spirit on their own terms. Many in the movement embrace the missiology that drives the movement in an effort to be like Christ and make disciples by being a good example. The emerging church movement contains a great diversity in beliefs and practices, although some have adopted a preoccupation with sacred rituals, good works, and political and social activism. Much of the Emerging Church movement has also adopted the approach to evangelism which stressed peer-to-peer dialogue rather than dogmatic proclamation and proselytizing.[36]

A plurality of Scriptural interpretations is acknowledged in the emerging church movement. Participants in the movement exhibit a particular concern for the effect of the modern reader's cultural context on the act of interpretation echoing the ideas of postmodern thinkers such as Jacques Derrida and Stanley Fish. Therefore a narrative approach to Scripture, and history are emphasized in some emerging churches over exegetical and dogmatic approaches (such as that found in systematic theology and systematic exegesis), which are often viewed as reductionist. Others embrace a multiplicity of approaches.

A Generous orthodoxy

Some emerging church leaders see interfaith dialogue a means to share their narratives as they learn from the narratives of others.[37] Some Emerging Church Christians believe there are radically diverse perspectives within Christianity that are valuable for humanity to progress toward truth and a better resulting relationship with God, and that these different perspectives deserve Christian charity rather than condemnation.[38]

A Centered set mindset

The movement appropriates set theory as a means of understanding a basic change in the way the Christian church thinks about itself as a group. Set theory is a concept in mathematics that allows an understanding of what numbers belong to a group, or set. A bounded set would describe a group with clear "in" and "out" definitions of membership. The Christian church has largely organized itself as a bounded set, those who share the same beliefs and values are in the set and those who disagree are outside.[39]

The centered set does not limit membership to pre-conceived boundaries. Instead a centered set is conditioned on a centered point. Membership is contingent on those who are moving toward that point. Elements moving toward a particular point are part of the set, but elements moving away from that point are not. As a centered-set Christian membership would be dependent on moving toward the central point of Jesus. A Christian is then defined by their focus and movement toward Christ rather than a limited set of shared beliefs and values.[39]

John Wimber utilized the centered set understanding of membership in his Vineyard Churches. The centered set theory of Christian Churches came largely from missional anthropologist Paul Hiebert. The centered set understanding of membership allows for a clear vision of the focal point, the ability to move toward that point without being tied down to smaller diversions, a sense of total egalitarianism with respect for differing opinions, and an authority moved from individual members to the existing center.[40]

Authenticity and conversation

The movement favors the sharing of experiences via testimonies, prayer, group recitation, sharing meals and other communal practices, which they believe are more personal and sincere than propositional presentations of the Gospel. Teachers in the Emerging Church tend to view the Bible and its stories through a lens which they believe finds significance and meaning for their community's social and personal stories rather than for the purpose of finding cross-cultural, propositional absolutes regarding salvation and conduct.[41]

The emerging church claims they are creating a safe environment for those with opinions ordinarily rejected within modern conservative evangelicalism and fundamentalism. Non-critical, interfaith dialog is preferred over dogmatically-driven evangelism in the movement.[42] Story and narrative replaces the dogmatic:
The relationship between words and images has changed in contemporary culture. In a post-foundational world, it is the power of the image that takes us to the text. The bible is no longer a principal source of morality, functioning as a rulebook. The gradualism of postmodernity has transformed the text into a guide, a source of spirituality, in which the power of the story as a moral reference point has superseded the didactic. Thus the meaning of the Good Samaritan is more important than the Ten Commandments - even assuming that the latter could be remembered in any detail by anyone. Into this milieau the image speaks with power.[43]
Those in the movement do not engage in aggressive apologetics or confrontational evangelism in the traditional sense, preferring to encourage the freedom to discover truth through conversation and relationships with the Christian community.[44]

Missional living

Participants in this movement assert that the incarnation of Christ informs their theology. They believe that as God entered the world in human form, adherents enter (individually and communally) into the context around them and aim to transform that culture through local involvement. This holistic involvement may take many forms, including social activism, hospitality and acts of kindness. This beneficent involvement in culture is part of what is called missional living.[45] Missional living leads to a focus on temporal and social issues, in contrast with a perceived evangelical overemphasis on salvation. Drawing on research and models of contextual theology, Mobsby asserts that the emerging church is using different models of contextual theology than conservative evangelicals, who tend to use a "translation" model of contextual theology[46] (which has been criticized for being colonialist and condescending toward other cultures); the emerging church tends to use a "synthetic" or "transcendent" model of contextual theology.[47] The emerging church has charged many conservative evangelical churches with withdrawal from involvement in contextual mission and seeking the contextualization of the gospel.[48]
Christian communities must learn to deal with the problems and possibilities posed by life in the "outside" world. But of more importance, any attempt on the part of the church to withdraw from the world would be in effect a denial of its mission.[49]
Many emerging churches have put a strong emphasis on contextualization and, therefore, contextual theology. Contextual theology has been defined as "A way of doing theology in which one takes into account: the spirit and message of the gospel; the tradition of the Christian people; the culture in which one is theologising; and social change in that culture."[50] Emerging churches, drawing on this synthetic (or transcendent) model of contextual theology, seek to have a high view towards the Bible, the Christian people, culture, humanity and justice. It is this "both...and" approach that distinguishes contextual theology.[51][52]

Emerging communities participate in social action, community involvement, global justice and sacrificial hospitality in an effort to know and share God's grace. At a conference entitled "The Emerging Church Forum" in 2006, John Franke said “The Church of Jesus Christ is not the goal of the Gospel, just the instrument of the extension of God’s mission.” “The Church has been slow to recognize that missions isn’t (sic) a program the Church administers, it is the very core of the Church’s reason for being.”[53] This focus on missional living and practicing radical hospitality has led many emerging churches to deepen what they are doing by developing a rhythm of life, and a vision of missional loving engagement with the world.[54]
A mixture of emerging Churches, Fresh Expressions of Church and mission initiatives arising out of the charismatic traditions, have begun describing themselves as new monastic communities. They again draw on a combination of the Mystical Communion Model and Sacramental Models, with a core concern to engage with the question of how we should live. The most successful of these have experimented with a combination of churches centred on place and network, with intentional communities, cafes and centres to practice hospitality. Many also have a rhythm, or rule of life to express what it means to be Christian in a postmodern context.[55]
Communitarian or egalitarian ecclesiology

Proponents of the movement communicate and interact through fluid and open networks because the movement is decentralized with little institutional coordination. Because of the participation values named earlier, being community through participation affects the governance of most Emerging Churches. Participants avoid power relationships, attempting to gather in ways specific to their local context. In this way some in the movement share with the house church movements a willingness to challenge traditional church structures/organizations though they also respect the different expressions of traditional Christian denominations.[56]

International research suggests that some Emerging Churches are utilizing a Trinitarian basis to being church through what Avery Dulles calls 'The Mystical Communion Model of Church'.[57]

  • Not an institution but a fraternity (or sorority).
  • Church as interpersonal community.
  • Church as a fellowship of persons - a fellowship of people with God and with one another in Christ.
  • Connects strongly with the mystical 'body of Christ' as a communion of the spiritual life of faith, hope and charity.
  • Resonates with Aquinas' notion of the Church as the principle of unity that dwells in Christ and in us, binding us together and in him.
  • All the external means of grace, (sacraments, scripture, laws etc.) are secondary and subordinate; their role is simply to dispose people for an interior union with God effected by grace.[58]

Dulles sees the strength in this approach being acceptable to both Protestant and Catholic:
In stressing the continual mercy of God and the continual need of the Church for repentance, the model picks up Protestant theology... [and] in Roman Catholicism... when it speaks of the church as both holy and sinful, as needing repentance and reform...[59]
The biblical notion of Koinonia, ... that God has fashioned for himself a people by freely communicating his Spirit and his gifts ... this is congenial to most Protestants and Orthodox ... [and] has an excellent foundation in the Catholic tradition.[60]

Creative and rediscovered spirituality

This can involve everything from expressive, neocharismatic style of worship and the use of contemporary music and films to more ancient liturgical customs and eclectic expressions of spirituality, with the goal of making the church gathering reflect the local community's tastes.

Emerging church practitioners are happy to take elements of worship from a wide variety of historic traditions, including traditions of the Catholic Church, the Anglican churches, the Orthodox churches, and Celtic Christianity. From these and other religious traditions emerging church groups take, adapt and blend various historic church practices including liturgy, prayer beads, icons, spiritual direction, the labyrinth, and lectio divina. The Emerging Church is also sometimes called the "Ancient-Future" church.[61]

One of the key social drives in Western Post-industrialised countries, is the rise in new/old forms of mysticism.[62][63] This rise in spirituality appears to be driven by the effects of consumerism, globalisation and advances in information technology.[64] Therefore, the Emerging Church is operating in a new context of postmodern spirituality, as a new form of mysticism. This capitalizes on the social shift in starting assumptions from the situation that most are regarded as materialist/atheist (the modern position), to the fact that many people now believe in and are searching for something more spiritual (postmodern view). This has been characterised as a major shift from religion to spirituality.[65]

So, in the new world of 'spiritual tourism', the Emerging Church Movement is seeking to missionally assist people to shift from being spiritual tourists to Christian pilgrims. Many are drawing on ancient Christian resources recontextualised into the contemporary such as contemplation and contemplative forms of prayer, symbolic multi-sensory worship, story telling and many others.[66] This again has required a change in focus as the majority of unchurched and dechurched people are seeking 'something that works' rather than something that is 'true'.[67]

Use of new technologies

Emerging-church groups use the Internet as a medium of decentralized communication. Church websites are used as announcement boards for community activity, and they are generally a hub for more participation based new technologies such as blogs, Facebook groups, Twitter accounts, etc. The use of the blog is an especially popular and appropriate means of communication within the Emerging church. Through blogs, members converse about theology, philosophy, art, culture, politics, and social justice, both among their local congregations and across the broader Emerging community. These blogs can be seen to embrace both sacred and secular culture side-by-side as an excellent example of the church's focus on contextual theology.

Morality and justice

Drawing on a more 'Missional Morality' that again turns to the synoptic gospels of Christ, many emerging-church groups draw on an understanding of God seeking to restore all things back into restored relationship. This emphasises God's graceful love approach to discipleship, in following Christ who identified with the socially excluded and ill, in opposition to the Pharisees and Sadducees and their purity rules.[68]

Under this movement, traditional Christians' emphasis on either individual salvation, end-times theology or the prosperity gospel have been challenged.[69][70] Many people in the movement express concern for what they consider to be the practical manifestation of God's kingdom on earth, by which they mean social justice. This concern manifests itself in a variety of ways depending on the local community and in ways they believe transcend "modernist" labels of "conservative" and "liberal." This concern for justice is expressed in such things as feeding the poor, visiting the sick and prisoners, stopping contemporary slavery, critiquing systemic and coercive power structures with "postcolonial hermeneutics," and working for environmental causes.[71]

See also

References
  1. ^ a b Lillian Kwon, (March 14, 2009). "Catholics join Emerging Church conversation". christiantoday.com. http://www.christiantoday.com/article/catholics.join.emerging.church.conversation/22770.htm. Retrieved August 27, 2011.
  2. ^ "From the Margins: Engaging Missional Life in the Seventh-day Adventist Church", Theological News and Notes, Fall 2008, Fuller Theological Seminary.
  3. ^ McLaren, Brian, Finding our Way Again (Nashville, Tenn: Thomas Nelson, 2008). ISBN 978-0-8499-0114-0. dedication.
  4. ^ Webber, Robert, John Burke, Dan Kimball, Doug Pagitt, Karen M. Ward, and Mark Driscoll. Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches: Five Perspectives. (Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan, 2007) p. 102. ISBN 978-0-310-27135-2
  5. ^ Kowalski, D. (2007). "Surrender is not an Option: An Evaluation of Emergent Epistemology." Apologetics Index. Retrieved on: August 28, 2011.
  6. ^ McKnight, S. (February 2007). "Five Streams of the Emerging Church." Christianity Today. 51(2). Retrieved on 2009-07-11.
  7. ^ Kreider, Larry (2001). "1". House Church Networks. House to House Publications. ISBN 1-886973-48-2. http://dcfi.org/House2House/House_Church_chapter_one.htm. [dead link]
  8. ^ Pam Hogeweide (2005 [last update]). "The 'emerging church' comes into view". cnnw.com. Christian News Northwest. http://www.cnnw.com/articles/articles04-05-3.html. Retrieved August 28, 2011.
  9. ^ Stuart Murray, Church After Christendom, (London: Paternoster Press, 2004), 73.
  10. ^ Ian Mobsby, Emerging & Fresh Expressions of Church: How are they authentically Church and Anglican, (London: Moot Community Publishing, 2007), 20.
  11. ^ B Larson, R Osbourne, The emerging church, (London: Word Books, 1970), 9-11.
  12. ^ Ian Mobsby, Emerging & Fresh Expressions of Church, (London: Moot Community Publishing, 2007), 20-21.
  13. ^ Johannes Baptist Metz, The Emergent Church (New York, NY: Crossroad, 1981)
  14. ^ McKnight, Scot (2010-02-26). "Review: Brian McLaren's A New Kind of Christianity". Christianity Today. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/article_print.html?id=86862. Retrieved 2010-04-04.
  15. ^ Falsani, Cathleen. "The Emerging Church Brand: The Good, the Bad, and the Messy - Shane Claiborne | God's Politics Blog | Sojourners". Blog.sojo.net. http://blog.sojo.net/2010/04/13/the-emerging-church-brand-the-good-the-bad-and-the-messy/. Retrieved 2012-02-15.
  16. ^ Borg, Marcus J. (2003). The Heart of Christianity. HarperSanFrancisco. pp. 6, 13. ISBN 0-06-073068-4.
  17. ^ See article written by Steve Collins at http://www.alternativeworship.org/definitions_awec.html
  18. ^ Tony Jones The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2008) 53
  19. ^ Ian Mobsby, Emerging & Fresh Expressions of Church, (London: Moot Community Publishing, 2007), 23-24.
  20. ^ Stuart Murray, Church After Christendom, (as above), 69-70.
  21. ^ Stuary Murray, Church After Christendom, (as above), 74.
  22. ^ Ian Mobsby, Emerging & Fresh Expressions of Church, (London: Moot Community Publishing, 2007), 24.
  23. ^ E Gibbs, R Bolger, Emerging Churches: Creating Christian Communities in Postmodern Cultures, (London: SPCK, 2006), 44-5.
  24. ^ Ian Mobsby, The Becoming of G-d, (Oxford: YTC Press, 2008),65-82.>
  25. ^ Ian Mobsby, Emerging & Fresh Expressions of Church, (London:Moot Community Publishing, 2007).
  26. ^ Ian Mobsby, Emerging & Fresh Expressions of Church, (London: Moot Community Publishing, 2007),54-60
  27. ^ Ian Mobsby, Emerging & Fresh Expressions of Church, (London: Moot Community Publishing), 28-29.
  28. ^ Ian Mobsby, The Becoming of G-d, (Cambridge: YTC Press, 2008), 98-101.
  29. ^ Ian Mobsby, The Becoming of G-d, (Oxford: YTC Press, 2008), 15-18, 32-35, 37-62.
  30. ^ Stuart Murray Post Christendom: Church and Mission in a Strangle Land (Carlisle: Paternoster Press, 2004) 83-88.
  31. ^ a b Stuart Murray Post Christendom: Church and Mission in a Strangle Land (Carlisle: Paternoster Press, 2004) 83-88, 200-202.
  32. ^ "> reflection > ianmobsby". emergingchurch.info. http://emergingchurch.info/reflection/ianmobsby/theology.htm. Retrieved 2012-02-15.
  33. ^ I Mobsby, Emerging & Fresh Expressions of Church, (London: Moot Community Publishing, 2007) .
  34. ^ Perry, Simon. "Emerging Worship". http://www.simonperry.org.uk/#/emerging-worship/4537335309.
  35. ^ Perry, Simon (2003). What is So Holy About Scripture. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock. http://www.simonperry.org.uk/#/publications/4549831951.
  36. ^ Richard Sudworth, Distinctly Welcoming, Oxford: SUP, 2007.
  37. ^ E Gibbs, R Bolger, Emerging Church: Creating Christian Community in Postmodern Cultures, (USA: Baker), http://www.generousgiving.org/page.asp?sec=28&page=300.
  38. ^ a b Paul Hiebert, Anthropological Reflections on Missiological Issues, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books (1994).
  39. ^ Phyllis Tickle, The Great Emergence: How Christianity Is Changing and Why, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books (2008).
  40. ^ Frost, Michael (2007-09-14). "Intriguing Michael Frost video". Michael Frost, Founding Director of Centre for Evangelism & Global Mission at Morling Theological College in Sydney, speaks to authenticity as bringing a "living among them" type of Christianity rather than cross-cultural absolutes regarding salvation and conduct. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YaXbkD1sgs&eurl=http://missiodeiscandia.wordpress.com/category/emerging-church/. Retrieved 2008-04-05.
  41. ^ I Mobsby, The Becoming of G-d, (Oxford: YTC Press, 2008),97-111.
  42. ^ M Percy, The Salt of the Earth: Religious resilience in a Secular Age, (London, Continuum, 2002), 165.
  43. ^ I Mobsby, The Becoming of G-d, (Oxford: YTC Press, 2008), 113-132.
  44. ^ Griffiths, Rev Dr. Steve (2007-01-30). "An Incarnational Missiology for the Emerging Church". Rev Dr. Steve Griffiths speaks about the Emerging Church and how they view and approach missions. http://www.opensourcetheology.net/node/1116. Retrieved 2008-04-05.
  45. ^ SB Bevans, Models of Contextual Theology, New York:Orbis, 2002),3-46.
  46. ^ SB Bevans, Models of Contextual Theology, New York:Orbis, 2002),81-96.
  47. ^ I Mobsby, Emerging & Fresh Expressions of Church, (London: Moot Community Publishing, 2007),28-9.
  48. ^ BA Harvey, Another City, (Harrisburg: Trinity Press International, 1999), 14.
  49. ^ SB Bevans, Contextual Theology, (New York:Orbis, 2002),1.
  50. ^ I Mobsby, The Becoming of G-d, (Oxford: YTC Press, 2008), 67-82.
  51. ^ I Mobsby, Emerging & Fresh Expressions of Church, (London:Moot Community Publishing, 2007), 28-32.
  52. ^ "Notes of John Franke at the Emerging Church Forum". 2006. http://weblog.wyclif.net/index.php/2006/10/28/notes-from-the-emerging-church-forum-john-franke/. Retrieved 2008-04-05.
  53. ^ Ian Mobsby, The Becoming of G-d, (Oxford: YTCPress, 2008), 65-82.
  54. ^ Ian Mobsby, The Becoming of G-d, (Oxford: YTC Press, 2008), 30-1.
  55. ^ and a significant number of emerging church proponents remain in denominationally identified communities. There is also a significant presence within the movement that remains within traditional denominational structures. (Missional) "Emergent Village: Values and Practices". http://www.emergentvillage.org/about-information/values-and-practices. Retrieved 2006-08-09.
  56. ^ A Dulles, Models of Church, (New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Ltd, 1991).
  57. ^ I Mobsby, Emerging & Fresh Expressions of Church, (London: Moot Community Publishing, 2007), 54-5.
  58. ^ A Dulles, Models of Church (New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell, 1991) 46
  59. ^ A Dulles, Models of Church, 50-1.
  60. ^ Webber, Robert, John Burke, Dan Kimball, Doug Pagitt, Karen M. Ward, and Mark Driscoll. Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches: Five Perspectives. (Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan, 2007) Appendix 2
  61. ^ E Davis, Techgnosis, (London:Serpents Tail, 2004).
  62. ^ J Caputo, On Religion, (London:Routledge, 2001).
  63. ^ I Mobsby, Emerging & Fresh Expressions of Church, (London:Moot Community Publishing, 2007), Chapter Two and Three.
  64. ^ Barry Taylor, Entertainment Theology, (Grand Rapids:Baker, 2008), 14-15.
  65. ^ I Mobsby, The Becoming of G-d, (Oxford: YTC Press, 2008), 83-96.
  66. ^ Barry Taylor, Entertainment Theology, (Grand Rapids:Baker, 2008), 96-102.
  67. ^ See http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_9495041
  68. ^ "Brian McLaren in Africa". http://www.brianmclaren.net/archives/imported/reflections-on-amahoroafrica-may.html.
  69. ^ "Brian McLaren everything must change". http://www.amazon.ca/dp/0849901839.
  70. ^ Brian McLaren "Church Emerging: Or Why I Still Use the Word Postmodern But with Mixed Feelings" in An Emergent Manifesto of Hope eds. Doug Pagitt and Tony Jones (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 2007), 141ff. ISBN 0801071569