Be the change you want to see in the world. [Ghandi]
“Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.” [Isaiah 54:2, NIV]
Well the “New Kind of Christianity” storm is upon us. I am yet to read the book, but right now I am an observer from the edges of the weather system created by Brian McLarens cyclonic lifting of the pressure of our inherited orthodoxy.
Right now, emergents are fighting theological and ideological battles, and so we should. But clear or correct thinking is not an end in itself. We should fix our gaze beyond.
That end, I might offer, is the Life of God. Do our thoughts support and generate It? Are we brought further into right relationship with all things, especially our Creator?
Here are some alternative voicings of the question:
- Once the toxins of the modern era are expunged and start to abate, how will the healthy Body operate?
- Once the revolutionary hubris settles, what will we have built?
- Once we accept the call to the quest, what kind of “state” do we hope to find forming in our wake?
- Once the organism that is emergence christianity matures, what sort of fruit will be offering the world?
I have been motivated in the overtly emergent way for some 4 years, as this blog will attest. My intuitions have been honed along the way, but the original vision, fired up by the likes of Origen, St Francis, Meister Eckhart, Teilhard de Chardin, and Matthew Fox, remains intact.
Brian McLarens maturing voice articulates what I have hoped for, especially in the question of “How then shall we worship?” In Spencer Burke’s short film (see below), McLaren states “If we are willing to … let the bible itself generate a narrative for us I think what that will do is open up immense new territory for us.”
I am challenged to look not to the new state of christianity, but to a new dynamic quality of life and mission released by our reappraisal of our most fundamental assumption: that the purpose of the church is to save souls from hell.
While I still believe in salvation, a notion of “hell” (PLEASE NOTE: quite different from that given us via Augustine), eternal life and the existence of soul, and the centrality of Jesus Christ in the cosmic picture, this is what I propose forms part of what the Narrative might be:
The Church is the Host of Creation and the Evolving Cosmos.
In other words, the outcome of this is not just to generate more ideas, to theologise, or change for changes sake, but to in Jesus words from the gospel of John: “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
Let us bear that fruit. Let us make space for it to grow. Let us love unconditionally and heal the world. Let us approach the future with hope and openness, become the change which our hearts sense.