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
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

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Informational Resource: "Information is Beautiful"

 
 
 
 
HERE'S A GREAT VISUAL RESOURCE
 
~ samples below, web link above ~

Out of the Archives: Perriman & Mobsby on Emergent Theology

What (again) is an emerging theology?
 
by Andrew Perriman
Posted 5 July, 2006
 
The whole idea of an ‘emerging theology’ is nebulous, which is probably unavoidable and probably a good thing. But every now and again I feel the need to sketch some boundaries, contours, intentions, commitments - if only to help us keep in view the stated purpose of this site, which is to ‘assist the development of a transparent, community-driven theology for the “emerging church”’. There have been good discussions along these lines in the past: ‘Outline of an emerging theology’, ‘What is the relationship between emerging and evangelical theologies?’, ‘The marks of a renewed theology’. This is simply another personal attempt to give some definition to the phrase ‘emerging theology’.
 
So here, very briefly stated, are what I feel to be some of the leading characteristics of an emerging theology. It reflects my biases and blindspots. If people want to suggest additions or corrections, I would be happy to take them into account and republish the list as a more collective statement.
 
1. A theology for a community that is in self-conscious continuity with the biblical people of God and the calling of Abraham to be blessed and be a blessing to the nations of the world.
 
2. A theology done under the lordship of Christ.
 
3. A theology that gives priority to narrative in order both to define its core and to contextualize the content of biblical teaching.
 
4. A theology that seeks to understand the intimate relationship between text and historical narrative.
 
5. A theology that at its heart is a reading of scripture.
 
6. A theology that as a matter of methodological commitment celebrates, reinforces, and exploits community: an emerging theology is strongly relational, conversational, interactive.
 
7. A theology that is strongly aware of, and responsive to, the locality in which these conversations take place.
 
8. A theology that attempts to resist certain distortions of modernism.
 
9. A theology that is broadly  - but not slavishly - postmodern in its epistemology, wary of absolute formulations, tolerant of diversity and plurality, sensitive to the social manipulation of texts.
 
10. A theology that places a high value on intellectual and critical integrity - ‘integrity’ being, I think, the ‘postmodern’ word in that sentence.
 
11. A theology committed to the renewal of its own discourse, understood not only as speech but as the whole spectrum of means (artistic, communal, activist) by which we communicate.
 
12. A theology that fosters an open, inquisitive, probing mindset.
 
13. A theology that endeavours to integrate rather than dissociate modes of thought, analysis, and practice, that draws on the mind of the whole community of faith.
 
14. A generous theology that is inclined to discover meaning and truth outside of itself.
 
15. A theology with an eschatological orientation towards the renewal of creation - humanity within a comprehensive ecology; therefore a public rather than a private theology. 
 


 
* * * * * * * * * * * *
 
 


Ian Mobsby [Moot : London, UK]
 
Is there a distinctive approach to theologising for the emerging church?
 
[October 2005]
 
For too long the emerging church has been viewed by some as a trendy shop front to more traditional forms of church. We too have been guilty of putting the emphasis on being ‘cool’, providing slick services and using the best movie clips and multimedia environments. The danger is that some think that there is little depth or substance to what we are doing. This article aims to introduce some evidence of some of the thinking in fresh and emerging expressions of church coming out of my as yet uncompleted MA research dissertation entitled “Fresh and emerging expressions of church: how are they being church and Anglican?”
 
Whilst the traditional church continues to battle between the conservatives and the liberals, and between the catholics and the evangelicals, the emerging church has been emphasising the need for right engagement in context – or what has been called orthopraxis (right action) rather than orthodoxy (right thinking). It has avoided getting involved in this tennis match over orthodoxy. The emerging church has been focusing on ‘doing’ church in a post modern context, which is all about being and doing church in our liquid modern times, which has created a new context of a culture of the spiritually restless and spiritual searching, or the openness of many to be spiritual tourists. Many emerging churches, have sought to draw on the best of the old and reframe it for our current post-modern context, in what has been called ‘an ancient-future’. But what does this have to do with theology?
 
Well, I am arguing that the emerging church has been creating a significantly new approach to doing contextual theology, which is about living out being Christian and church in a post modern culture. 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.
 
Traditionally, there is a continuum in the Church roughly defined at one end as being ‘conservative evangelical’ and at the other, ‘catholic’ which take very different views of how you do contextual theology, see chart 1 where I want to build a bit of a typology. Yes this will hold over-generalisations, but I think in essence, the following analysis stands.
 
Conservative Evangelical
v
Catholic
Redemptive theology
Incarnational theology
High regard towards God and Scriptures
Low regard towards God & Scriptures
Low regard toward Human Culture
High regard towards Human Culture




 
So to summarise, for sometime now, the Church has been largely divided into two outlooks. Evangelical and Catholic. Evangelicals have stressed personal salvation, and the need for God-centredness and personal piety, but have paid very little regard to social, economic or ecological injustice, or the sense of God’s presence in human culture and the world. This has resulted in a neglect of what is good in human nature, or the sense of God’s involvement in the world. Strong on sin and repentance, low on grace. So when thinking about the significance of Jesus (both man and God), the emphasis is on Jesus as God and his ministry regarding repentance and redemption.
 
At the other end of the continuum, is a Catholic and incarnational theology, which focuses more on the significance of Christ as a human being and the love of God. Focus of this approach is on God’s love and the call for social, ecological and economic justice not just for salvation, but for here and now. This approach therefore neglects the significance of Christ as God, and in having a high regard to the scriptures.
 
These two approaches have been battling it out for sometime, believing that one was right and the other was wrong, which has split the church catholic and protestant for centuries.
 
So what has this got to do with the emerging church? Well to start with, the emerging church tries to hold to the tension of having a high regard towards God and the scriptures AND having a high regard towards culture and being human. In other words, it is trying to hold onto a ‘both and’ scenario, on holding both an incarnational and redemptive theology simultaneously.
 
Why, because it attempts to hold onto the best of all traditions, and live with the tension and inconsistencies of this position. Why – because in the above analysis of the significance of Jesus, we have to live with the tension of Jesus being fully human and fully God. From the beginning, the Church had to live with this synthetic approach or fuzzy thinking, which it seemed to jettison in modernity, only to be refound in postmodernity.
 
So the Emerging Church, does have a distinctively new, or can I say old theological approach to what it does, modelled on a synthetic model of doing contextual theology. This model attempts to listen to culture for basic patterns and structures, analyzing culture in order to discover its basic system of symbols. Out of such a “thick description” will emerge basic themes for the local theology. At the same time, however, these themes need to be in dialogue with the basic themes in gospel and tradition, which has a mutually transforming effect. This form of emerging contextual theology, holds to a sense of “ancient future” faith worked out with a synthetic model of contextual theology.
 
So going back to the chart, the emerging church attempts to position itself at the ‘V’ point on the continuum in its attempt to ‘both and’.
 
So why is this signficiant. Well firstly, because it opens up the possibilities to significant encultured approaches to being a ‘missionary church’. To my own shock, I found a book dating back to the 1970’s that summarised a vision for the ‘Emerging Church’ which resonates with this position and outlook, and therefore I will state it in full.
 
Larson & Osborne themes (1970!)
 
Rediscovering contextual & experimental mission in the western church.
 
1 - Forms of church that are not restrained by institutional expectations. Open to change and God wanting to do a new thing.
 
2 - 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.
 
3 - It will bring together the most helpful of the old and the 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.
 
4 - 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.
 
5 - In this way, the emerging church has a distinctive approach to theology to aid it as it engages in a world and culture, which is complex, multifaceted and fluid. So there is depth and substance to what is going on…..
 
For further info on this subject and the significance of the emerging church, watch out for my research dissertation, which I hope to release in book form next year.
 
Ian Mobsby is an ordained NSM Anglican priest licensed to work with the Moot Community, an Anglican Church of England Fresh Expression of Church Project in Westminster, Central London. Ian is completing a research dissertation for the award of an MA in Pastoral Theology at Cambridge. Moot can be found at www.moot.uk.net and www.mootblog.net
 
 
* * * * * * * * * * * *
 
 
What is 'emerging church'?
 
by Andrew Perriman
Posted 22 November, 2003
 
The phrase ‘emerging church’ will undoubtedly mean different things to different people and I will only offer a tentative definition here, chiefly for the benefit of those to whom it means next to nothing. If you disagree with the points made, by all means add your views below.
 
1. Emerging church is certainly a reaction against the forms of evangelicalism that have flourished in the West over the last fifty years or so – hence the popularity of the term ‘post-evangelical. People have reacted in different ways: there has been a range of experiments in alternative forms of worship; groups have decamped from traditional church premises into public venues such as bars, cafés and leisure centres; and many Christians have simply opted out of organized church altogether (see the review of Alan Jamieson’s book A Churchless Faith).
 
2. This reaction has been driven largely, I think, by dissatisfaction with evangelical church culture at various levels – a dissatisfaction that has often been explained in terms of a perceived shift in the wider culture from modernism to postmodernism: from objectivism to relativism, from certainty to doubt, from singularity to plurality, from Story to stories. Emerging church is an attempt to replot Christian faith on this new cultural and intellectual terrain.
 
3. Emerging church is beginning to acquire the coherence of a ‘movement’, but it probably cannot yet be said to have a strong sense of its own identity and certain tensions are apparent. There has been tension, for example, between an inward and an outward dynamic: for some the motivation has been the desire to find more congenial modes of worship and community, whereas others have been attracted by the missional potential of an escape from the cultural dead-end of evangelicalism. There has been a further tension between new ways of doing and new ways of being: do we just do congregational life differently or should we abandon structured religious life altogether in favour of simply being followers of Jesus in the world?
 
4. Emerging church is characteristically postmodern in its suspicion of the controlling structures of religious life and thought: church hierarchy, dominant cultural forms, doctrinal formulations, and so on. So the life and practice of emerging church are marked by a resistance to these structures, but also by a desire to develop positive alternatives. There has been a good discussion thread on this site, for example, about the nature of ‘emerging authority’.
 
5. Considerable emphasis is placed on relational paradigms as the basis for all forms of Christian activity. In many instances this has encouraged a shift away from ‘concentric’ or ‘solid’ towards decentred or ‘liquid’ expressions of community (see, for example, the review of Pete Ward’s Liquid Church). This has also led, inevitably, to a blurring of boundaries, both between church traditions and between believers and non-believers. Emerging church is more willing to be ‘inclusive’ (the word obviously needs definition), less concerned with defining and safeguarding the boundaries of membership, than ‘modern’ forms of evangelicalism.
 
6. In place of what is perceived as the rather narrow agenda of mainstream evangelicalism, emerging church is looking to develop a more holistic spirituality and to pursue a wider engagement in the public sphere. So, on the one hand, we see a willingness to explore different patterns of Christian life and to draw upon a broader spectrum of religious traditions – Celtic Christianity and Eastern Orthodoxy, for example, have had a strong appeal. On the other, we see a new social activism that is both critical and creative: mission is understood to encompass a much wider set of activities than just evangelism.