Sunday, June 3, 2007

more than information but "in-forming"

On Friday June 1 from 9:30 to 2:30 I shared in conversation through the invitation of the Episcopal Bishop of Arizona Kirk Smith. I joined 11 other priests in a conversation in and around the emerging church. I thought the discussion went well as we all wondered together what this is about, what God is up to here and what God might be calling us to do. I've got to say, the more and more I'm involved in trying to describe what this thingy is all about the best I can do is to speak about it as a relationship that needs to be engaged in rather than merely and/or only understood. The heart of the emerging conversation is what happens and is happening to those gathered in and through the engagement. Unfortunately we have cornered ourselves to some degree within the life of Western church with an epistomological emphasis that wants to comprehend and compartmentalize everything completely. The 'understanding' for emergents happens by engaging the things of the Holy, ('imago dei=relationships') through conversation, prayer, listening to God and each other, reading and reflection around Scripture and frankly, just living out the way of Jesus...TOGETHER.

I think the challenge comes when we are so results, rather than process, oriented. Living the way of Jesus among different contexts and cultures needs to be given the freedom to organically and incarnationally emerge. The epistomological persuasion of the Western church in some ways has already predetermined what that will look like. This is, for me, why my first principle of the emerging church "holding-being held" is so important. This paradigm shift actually lived out helps us to hold Truth, God, Scripture, etc., much more gently, carefully and even playfully while yielding to the more theologically profound faith of being held by God who is shaping and molding us as his people, in his image, in and through us for the sake of the world.

The bishop asked us at the end of our time together 'what emerged for you today?' It was clear to me that this engagement was an invitation to new relationship with new voices creating space and becoming place where God's people could learn and be hospitable to one another. I am encouraged and hopeful by what God's Spirit is doing down here in the Southwest. There appears to be an openness to trying "new things" even as this emergent thingy isn't as new as we would like to think. Where do go from here? What happens next? Well I hope conversation continues because its not simply the new information generated from new voices around the table that merely makes us SMARTER, its rather the power in relationship this is being 'formed-in' each of us through our listening and sharing. And it is there that the Trinity is made known and comes alive, by how God is forming me through community engagement.


Russ said...

Shoot, Dave. There's nothing to respond to, here. How's Flagstaff?

dave said...

well hey there friend. sorry that you didn't find anything here to respond to, i always like your comments. flag is great, beautiful these days. i'm down in phx again for our synod assembly aka diocesan convention or something like that you episcoplians call it. i'm going to seattle soon, the 15th of june for 12 days. long time to be away but good things. looking forward to it. take care russ.

isipwater said...

Sometimes when we describe our ideas when can end up limiting and confining them. We want to describe so that we can understand, which makes us feel better about ourselves.
How we we become more comfortable with just wondering without having the expectation that we will solve something. It seems so difficult to get away from; I am doing it right now.