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

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Reconstructing An Emergent Theology that is Postmodern, Postsecular, and Orthodox

 
....this will be an evolving post through this week and will not be finalized until this statement herein has been removed... - RES, 1/6/2013
 
 
After 20 months of writing on Emerging Christianity it has become obvious that there are many directions we may attend to - from the expression of pure ideas to that of pure practice, from a variety of forms pertaining to church and worship, to social activism and community engagements, and all parts in-between and beyond. Consequently, I wish to begin revisiting previous observations made on this blogsite in a determinative, directional fashion based upon what has been learned and where we might go from this point forward. I'll begin by forming a list of topics that may be prayed through and investigated. That show Scriptural support using the latest methods of interpretation. And by attempting to express Emerging Theology within a Postmodern (and Postsecular) context that may lead to some form of metaphysical-existential authenticism and socio-cultural participation.
 
It has been said that an emerging/emergent Christian may fall into one of three groups. Whether this is a true statement I do not know but will use it initially to set pace to this discussion. Thus, an emergent may be one who is either:
 
1 - Relevant, that is, who wishes to update postmodern culture around all things Jesus;
 
2 - Reconstructivist, meaning one who wishes to update Christian Evangelicalism into a postmodernistic orientation;
 
3 - Revisionist, suggesting one who wishes to reorient Christian orthodoxy towards postmodernism, while also taking all that is orthodox from within Evangelicalism and pushing it forward, leaving Evangelicalism's modernistic/secular elements behind.
 
From this list I would place myself in movements 1 and 3, but not in 2 having no interest to reform Evangelicalism except to move it back towards its orthodox center, and away from its ideological dogmas, platforms, and statements. Having been birthed in the Modernist stream of secular culture, Evangelicalism has heroically fought for the Christian faith while at the same time become absorbed within its very streams of secularism.

Hence, as good postmodernists, we wish to remove ourselves from all things modernistic and secular. Which means reclaiming Christian orthodoxy and pushing it forward into a postmodern, postsecular Christian expression. Perhaps in this way we might lend help to those involved in the second movement charitably as our brothers and sisters in Christ, and not as opponents. For true Christianity seeks unity and grace, forged by alliance based upon Christ, true biblical scholarship, and not ideological whim or whimsy (which we all seem to fall prey from one time or another).

Thus, we will need to define some terms. Specifically, what does it mean to be postmodern and postsecular? And what might it mean to be an Emerging, if not Emergent, Christian (in my mind these are similar terms, and do not bear separate meanings - one as ideology and the other as a church movement). From this basis we might produce an evolving list of philosophical and theological inquiry, church observance and practice, asking how Emergent Theology may assist in expanding Christian witness and mission. And, I suspect, it will be a broad list, encompassing many ideas and practices, if it is to serve a more pluralistic, global audience uncoupled from regional outlooks and parochial mindsets.

As such, I wish to request helpful replies from our readers that is informed, emergent in perspective, short, to the point, easy to be understood by the reading public, and Christ-oriented in scope and theology. If you wish to participate in this project please provide your email address with a sample paragraph or two of your intended focus of discussion through the comments section. I would like to publish these with editorial largess with your help and contribution. I intend to be selective, prefering demeanor and tone, as much as content.

Otherwise, I fear what little good Emergent Theology may provide may be lost upon the rocky shorelines of progressive ideology (and not orthodoxy) on the one side, and neo-liberalism on the other. As Emergent Christians we look to foundations and cornerstones, not pillars and columns, nor facades and decorations. Once the foundation is set aright all other superstructural elements will fall into place. A foundation that is progressive, and biblical, and that may expand our previous discussions held here in Relevancy22 since inception.

Thank you for your help and contribution.
 
R.E. Slater
January 6, 2013
 
 
A List of Evolving Emerging Theological Topics
 
What Does it mean to be Secular? To be Postsecular? Where is Kant in all of this?
 
What Is Radical Orthodoxy other than what one suspects to be an eclectic version of Emergent Theology aimed at reforming Evangelical ideology, dogmas, and practices? How is Radical Orthodoxy, and Emergent Theology unified in the study of postmodernism. And how are they distinguished from one other?
 
What is Contintental Philosophy? What is Continental Theology? Can either of these be helpful to a postmodern Christian? Or do they more substantially correlate to a postmodern form of Liberal Theology?

How can Emergent Theology utilize Radical (Continental) Theology. How should it not? (Statedly, Radical Theology is not to be confused with the Evangelical form of postmodern Radical (Reformed) Orthodoxy).
 
What is Neo-orthodoxy and in what forms does it survive in today's Christian culture? How does Karl Barth contribute to its survival other than in its historical forms of distinguishing Christian Orthodoxy from Liberal doctrine?

How is Modernistic Dualism rejected in Postmodernism? How is it kept in the Enactment of Creational Free Will?
 
How has Dualism contributed to the ideas of good v. evil, right v. wrong, both helpfully and unhelpfully? How would Monism help to see human beings as essential parts of God's creation, rather than in contextual terms of wickedness and condemnation?

How does Monism, Unitarianism, etc, contribute to the idea of all things being created from the one God Himself? That apart from God can nothing exist? How have these movements departed from Christian orthodoxy?

How does Pantheism, Panentheism, Deism contribute, or not contribute, to an Orthodox Christian understanding? How does Theism, Trinitarianism, Relational Theism contribute to the same?

How is "Ex Nihilo" creationism both helpful and unhelpful both to the scientific/theological understanding of God and creation; as well as to the various branches of Christianity that has since evolved?
 
Where does the Anthropic Principle in all its forms (strong v. weak v. eclectic) contribute to the discussions of evolution, creation, science and the bible?

Should God be viewed as Power or as Love? Is divine power coercive? Is divine love uncoercive (sic, Jurgan Moltmann)? Where does divine intervention, or redemptive sovereignty, enter in to God's attributes?
 
What is Platonism (One Source)? NeoPlatonism (demiurge)? Augustinianism? Thomaism? How does it related to today's modern vs. postmodern discussions? How is Radical Orthodoxy like or unlike this?

How is Determinism related to any of the above? As versus Open Theology's Open Future of Relational involvement with the Divine?
 
...Left Open for further addition, and erudition! :) ...
 

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