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
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

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Demands of Postmodernism upon the Emerging Church

Today I've added a couple of new emergent links - the Ooze and the Center for Process and Faith. They both bear the hallmarks of a radical Christianity willing to revisualize the Christian faith and the church around the centrality of the person and presence of Jesus. However, both will depart somewhat profoundly from the church's traditional understanding of Christianity, God and the Bible.
 
Curiously, the Ooze will tend to be the more conservative of the two, whereas the Center for Process and Faith will bring with it a more liberal approach to religion and theology in general as it works towards reconceptualizing the meaning of God between the various religions of the world using Process Theology (or, Process Theism).
 
Process Thought brings a lot of good with it, and certainly it will help in uniting God-conscious believers from around the world in their faiths with one another. However, as stated here time-and-again at Relevancy22 we've elected for the position of Relational Theism (or Relational Thought) and not for its more liberal tendencies while recognizing the benefits of Process Thought in its attempts to unify the world's faithful and that of the church in general.
 
Even so, though faith is a beginning point for many (however it is found or experienced), for faith to be ultimately pivotal and expressive the personage of Jesus must be the culminating experience of salvific faith in God. Certainly God will use every experience and awareness that we have of Him in this world - whether Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, Animist, or whatnot - but it is through His Son Jesus that we find God's ultimate expression of redemption to mankind.
 
Certainly we may have warrant to disagree with the church's portrayal of Jesus - but like us, the church is fallible and tries as it can to revisualize the infinite God of love and forgiveness. For now, it is what it is, as the all-too-common colloquialism goes. Which is where the Ooze comes in to help searching Christians. Here we may find a collection of Jesus followers who wish to express their Christian faith in a thousand different ways. And as you read along you will discover by their journey that their faith in Jesus is anything but institutional.
 
As an older Christian wishing to impart assurance and peace in these times of radical personal displacement and uncertainty, I find the Ooze mimicking the spirit of today's media outlets that is found in TV, film, newspapers and journals. Hence, this website may appeal to a less cautious readership ready to judge any-and-all-things through the harsh spectacles of specious words and hypocritical lifestyles. They have high standards for the Christian faith. And well they should.
 
And though I could sympathize a hundred times with the spirit I observe at the Ooze, I still would wish that we as Jesus follower's develop other habits that are more reconstructive than deconstructive. Statedly, too often we cannot move forward without sometimes burning down the past. But not all the past needs to be burned down (if even a little bit) for the problem oftentimes lies with us, not others!
 
Admittedly, there is enough good to hold onto in the church's history and doctrines that it is unnecessary to go back and recreate a whole new set of Christian experiences. And although this has been done in the past under various sects and religions, and will be done again, one may well then imagine a repeat of errors and misrepresentations of God to arise as well. But Emergent Christianity is not one of these movements. Though it is true that it does seek to reimagine the Christian faith - to revitalize, and repurpose, it - in order to show Jesus' relevancy to today's pluralistic societies and multi-ethnic cultures. But this is a different matter than heresy.

I would also expect that as the strong paradigm shifts of postmodernism and emergent theology ingresses into the church's culture and experiences that many of the church's beliefs and tenets, practices and traditions, will accordingly change in response. Which is a good thing. It shows an active recognition to the presence and purposes of God through His Son Jesus by the Spirit of God. And in a way, the traditions and customs of both the church and of the gospel will likewise change upon reflective posturing when met with the demands of today's postmodern needs and wants, apathy and anger, emptiness and disappointment.

Faith is simple. It is rare. It is profound. Throughout all I believe God will actively guide His church. Whether through the younger, more discriminating, generations interested in reapprising their faith in Jesus. Or through scholarly circles seeking to find God in its pervasive, world-wide experience of the Spiritual Other. Still, God is there. He has come to recreate and renew. Today's postmodernism will be as much a part of God's benevolence as were the ages past - though now we realize that even God Himself, like ourselves, must adapt and change with humanity's growth and evolvement.
 
My confidence in God is strong. And I thank Him for the strong spirits and minds that He has burdened to tell us of Himself however they can. And in whatever ways they can. For its part, Relevancy22 will provide what guidance it can during this intense time of global seismic change. Trusting that it may lend a common-sense voice to the church of God, to its histories and historic institutions, as the church interacts with the paradigm shifts occurring under the prismatic glasses of postmodernism.

At the same time, we must also work towards revisioning what an emergent theology is (and can mean) to the church set within a very difficult postmodern age of nihilism, disbelief, skepticism and denial. To that end, let's then add to the Christian faith the salt of belief, faith, obedience, and optimism, in reconstructive efforts of revisioning our future with the God of the Ages.

R.E. Slater
December 12, 2012 (12-12-12!!)

 
the Ooze
 
 
 
 
the Center for Process and Faith
 
 
 
 
  
 
 

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