Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Emergent Conversation

Churches that are characterized by the emerging movement tend to be outwardly focused, place a high value on relationships, have little to no hierarchy, concerned with social issues, are experimental and willing to hold in tension the sacred and profane, and resist modern categories instead looking to engage the indigenous context around them. Many  in this stream prefer the term conversation over movement. They look to embody God's mission in a way that is post-denominational and post-congregational.
One of my favorite quotes about the relationship of the Kingdom of God and the Church at large asserts, "It is not that the Church has a mission as much as God's mission has a church." The emerging movement certainly presses that sort of thinking. While there is much to be learned from the emerging conversation, there are points of tension as well. How do we move forward seeking the Kingdom of God as the people of God while maintaining a connection with our unique heritage in a way that honors the great "Cloud of Witnesses" (Hebrews 12:1) that has come before us? What would the church look if it were post-denominational and post-congregational?
Scripture: Hebrews 1:1-3
 John's Gospel is introduced with the words "In the Beginning" which brings us all the way back to God's acts in Genesis 1. Mark's Gospel opens, "The beginning of the Good News of Jesus Christ" and immediate quotes from the prophets of the Old Testament. Matthew's Gospel continually repeats from the Old Testament. "Many and various ways" God spoke to our ancestors begins Hebrews. God's Kingdom has advanced through the work of God and His people who have faithfully passed on the rule of faith to succeeding generations. What are some of the ways God has spoke to your ancestors? How has that been passed down to you? In light of father's day tomorrow, how have the "father's" in faith modeled Kingdom living for you?
Hebrews 1:2-3 points out what is the climax of history, the center of life in God. What does that say about history?
In what ways does the emerging church stretch your understanding of what it means to be the church?
How are you being part of the great "cloud of witnesses"?

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