Sunday, February 18, 2007

establishing the order of st. 'somethin-or-other'

What is the emerging church asking for? It is not asking to be the new superpower expression of being church. Although, I often feel that is the perception within the modern church. It is merely asking to celebrate the diverse ways in which God uses communities to shape God's word and ways. It is asking to be a 'somethin-or-other' religious order that is blessed by the 'mother-ship' church as an alternative expression of what it means to be church. The emerging church honors the connection to the past and the richness that has been passed on as 'grandparents' of faith. The emerging church in no way desires to make a break from the past but rather seeks to profoundly embrace it.

The order of St. Francis, begun in the 1200's, started as the result of a religious establishment that was inadequately able to meet the demands of the day including quickly growing,
overpopulated cities. The order recognized a need for pastoral care and preaching (what I would call an incarnational approach to preaching...the living word) that reached into the populace, walking alongside of them instead of assuming that they would come to them.

The Roman Catholics do a great job of realizing these differing sister communities and allow that diversity to co-exist trusting that God is using them in different ways to bring 'good news', (eu-angelion:gk.) awareness to a variety of people. The missional church of the future, of which the emerging church is one subset, will allow for this variety and actually celebrate and invite it by creating a number of sister community expressions....more diversity/ambiguity existing simultaneously is the answer.

The courage, of course, comes from recognizing where our identity truly is not in our common held beliefs, whatever form they might find themselves...polities, creeds, or liturgies, but rather in our common way of being held by the one that underlies them all. Anxiety arises when we seek to control and multiply ourselves creating others in our own image. It is in God's image we are created, and that image can be as diverse as the number of colors in a prism...the same light refracted/reflected in a variety of ways.


Sarcastic Lutheran said...

well said, thank you.

jWinters said...

Hey Dave,
Big props to Sarcastic Lutheran for pointing me to your site. I'm a Lutheran sem student (Concordia, STL) interested in emerging stuff as well. Hopefully I'll learn quite a bit from you. Puttin' you on my blogroll.

In Christ,


Rick said...

There is a Christian message available to the whole population of people like me who otherwise reject all the trappings of church, who feel that so much of what is 'church' is a historical construct designed for less-than spiritual purposes, and who want a pure message about Jesus the role model. We will come out of the woodwork for this 'post-modern' message that dispenses with the disempowering and instead promotes our personal experience of the divine.

dave said...

thanks everyone! it's good to have some company and some good conversation.