The New Christians

Emergent Art Car .jpgThere’s been some pretty good stuff floating around the interwebs recently on emergent/ing church movement.  I wrote about my experience at the Christian Book Expo last week.  Meanwhile, there was an historic meeting of over 900 at the first-ever Catholic-Emergent meet-up in Albuquerque.  Jonathan Brink was the intrepid reporter on-the-ground for Emergent Village:

What then followed really surprised me. We spent almost thirty
minutes in a round table talk. The average age at my table was 50 and
Catholic. It was incredible hearing the voices from those in the
Catholic church on how they saw the Protestant Reformation. Some quotes

1. We’re so worried about abortion that we’re missing the fact that there are wars going on.
2. Our church is being thrown into total chaos over the GLBT issue.
3. Emergence is going from exclusionary to inclusionary.
4. Words of how we feel: hopeful, excited, searching, human, very excited, energized, thankful.
5. We see you Protestants as having been distracted over the last 500 years.
6. (a Catholic) We’re just now discovering we can read the Bible for ourselves.
7. I’m learning to debunk the myths of my own faith.
8. It’s nice to talk about who the central authority is: Jesus.

Mike Todd reflected on the event on the plane ride home:

This emergence Christianity is not another slice of the pie vying
for market share. It’s more like the outer layer of a tree. The
important points here are that the outer layer encircles the whole
tree/pie (sorry–mixing metaphors) and reflects life in the current
weather conditions. We were a gathering of “ring people”.

question we were really grooving to was this: What would happen if we
stopped delegitimizing each other, and instead legitimized, affirmed
and encouraged each other?

Jeromy Johnson chimed in:

But what is happening today in the 21st century is different. Where as
division defined the others (in part), this one will be defined by a
remerging of the “willing” who are found in the camps created by the
previous schisms.

A remerging of the willing. This is how I believe history will define this time.

remerging of those who don’t want to put aside their differences for
unity’s sake, but want unity to be found in recognizing and embracing
the beauty in all of our differences. (Paul’s description of the Body
comes to mind for me here).

A remerging of those who realize
they don’t need to seek permission from the “top” to unite and walk
together in love, but now see that Jesus already gave them permission
to unite and then prayed that they would.

A remerging of those who choose reconciliation, healing, and forgiveness over entrenchment, division, fear, and anger.

remerging of those who choose to toss aside the rules and theologies
that divide, and choose to embrace the healing freedom that really does
exist in Christ.

A remerging of those who choose to let go of
their “inerrant” interpretations and dogmas for the sake of learning
from and alongside the “other”.

A remerging of those who are willing to be killed on the cross of unity, rather than slowly die in the quicksand of division.

A remerging of those who choose to sit at the table and break bread together, and then welcome all others who will come.

A remerging of those who hunger and thirst for God’s kingdom, not our individual kingdoms.

A remerging of the broken.

A remerging of the weak.

A remerging of the willing.

And, in other news, Nadia Bolz-Weber let slip her working definition of the “emerging church.” Before you go onto her blog to savage her definition, let me say that I think that, at this point in time, no one can speak more authoritatively on what is emerging than Nadia.  She’s doing it.

Emerging Church:
communities that emerge out of very particular cultural contexts where
the traditional church is basically irrelevant.  These cultural
contexts are more often than not urban, youngish and post-modern.

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