Friday, October 06, 2006

What do I mean by Emerging Thought?

What do I mean by Emerging Thought?

I am often asked to define or summarize or to try to explain what the Emerging Church is… I do prefer Emerging Thought, though I do think I am most likely the only one who uses it. To me the idea of Emerging Thought is more focused on the “information” (ideas/ imagination / inspiration/internalized perspiration or whatever one wants to call it), and not the brand of media that the information is carried on. We can easily get sidetracked with “is it” Emergent or emerging, is it emerging church or postmodern… can one be a postmodern thinker and a Christian? All this seems ore focused on being a marketable brand. This is not a criticism just a personal perspective to the many options we can call ourselves. Again, I use emerging thought to cut through all of this… and get to the point.

We are about ideas, some inspired some not… all ideas contain information. So we use words, through talking, writing, music and any other form of communication to transport those ideas or thought s to others. That is called the conversation in “Emerging” circles.

In that most of the thoughts and conversations revolve around our faith. As part of our faith in Christ Jesus, we are called to reach this world with the Gospel. As the scripture teaches, “faith comes by hearing”… so we express our faith in the form of communications…. I like to point out that the root of communication is communion. Communion is besides another word for the Eucharist, simply in the common use,” association; fellowship” or an “interchange or sharing of thoughts or emotions; intimate communication: communion with nature.” That is why communication is so important to “emerging” folk.

Acording to dictionary .com, communication has a about 7 meanings. Most is not all are around the transference of information. I noticed at least two that relate to what I am trying to express here.

“the imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing, or signs.”

The one I most related to though interestingly is under biology… I think it is the most relevant to what is going on in the “emerging circles”… I see it as we are part of the body of Christ, the church, a living organism.

“activity by one organism that changes or has the potential to change the behavior of other organisms.”

Notably we are not out to just change behavior, rather, we are changed to a “new creation” or as the scripture teaches, that out of the two natures, God has made us “new” with one nature… and one family… where the “walls of division” which literally was between Jew and Gentile has come down. What I am trying to say is that as we interact with each other in Christ and communicate through conversation our faith, we are changed first through our relationship with Christ, then in our relationship with each other. In doing this, we hear the voice of God and respond to Him in our relationship with others.

This is one of the expression of our faith… this is how we share in a relevant way to others. It is not about “us and them” or “sacred and secular”, but the reconciliation of us them with us, and the redemption of the secular to the sacred.

Our faith is not built upon division, though many strive for and in that, it is built upon the thought of reconciliation. Of man being redeemed by God, though he is unworthy of redemption, and of man being reconciled together as one in Christ.

I see in the “emerging” people the potential to move beyond denominational barriers. I already see that many evangelicals are now showing interest in N.T. Wright, Bishop of Durham who is an Anglican… something I don’t think would have ever seen happened. Most of my life I was told how far off track those Episcopalians or Anglicans were. I know from personal experience that though many seem content with tearing down or attacking others as they only can see the point they disagree with… and then deem the other unworthy of fellowship. I hope that we can grow beyond that and look for the common ground in our faith in Christ.

Now, I will always speak out against the “religionist”, who add to the works of Christ by adding their own rules and doctrines. I see these men as not of those who are out to edify, but rather wolves that are out to destroy the flock. I love them as we are commanded to… to love our enemies, but I will rebuke and stand against them to correct them in their rebellion against the “ministry of reconciliation”. I will not only speak out against them, but I will pray FOR them in that they come to maturity in their faith.

Emerging is many things to many people. As I attempt to express what it is to me, I will emphasize that this is what it means to me… This is what I am getting from being a part of “emerging thought”.


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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks Iggy, as confused as we all are about ourselves, who we are, where we are going and on, a succint and very clear definition is a great help!