A local pastor and friend had a recent post reflecting on post-denominationalism. Well, Hans got me thinking enough to sratch down some fleeting thoughts. Many of my emergent friends that I bounce thoughts back and forth with seem to be stuck in a rut where we have to move to place where denominations don't exist. It is a lofty idea...in my mind a fantasy, more than a future reality.
Here is where I am. We need to nurture a commitment to the multicultural community of Christian churches. And when I say multiculturalism, I mean the reality of the " Church " being a diverse mosiac of distinct cultures.We need to see, to envision ourselves and our "own" understanding of God's future with the eyes of Christians from other cultures ( whether Pentecostal, Baptist, Episcopal, Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, Vineyard, Mennonite... ), listening to the voice of Christians from other cultures, so as to make sure the voice of " our " culture has not dominated and drowned out the voice of Jesus. We talk far more about our petty indifferences...than we do about what unites us. How much do we know about each other?
The resurrected Christ, into which all the multicultural communities which make up the " Church " are united through baptism, is not a spiritual refuge from pluralizing diversity, a pure spiritual space into which only the undifferentiated " sameness ", add your denomination here______ is admitted. Rather, baptism into Jesus creates a people, a church, as the differentiated body of Christ. The cultural, the mosiac differences are brought together, not removed and rejected. The body of Christ, the church lives as a complex interplay of a celebration of multiculturalism. We are really one body in the Spirit, with many discrete, distinct communites, denominations...which should cause us to celebrate, rather than point out one anothers differences.
It is my prayer that the " emergent/ emerging conversation " does not create their own distinct culture...but learns to embrace encourage the multiculturalism of the " whole " church. The reality is the " church " is more important than the little culture to which we belong. It is this incredible God and the new world, the Kingdom, that God is creating, a world from which people from every nation, tribe, with all their cultural baggage, will gather around the triune God. We need to learn to distance ourselves from our own clicky cultures, and give the ultimate allegiance to God's Kingdom and God's promised future.
The universal personality of the " church ", is a personality that is enriched by otherness, a personality which is what it is only because of multiple others, multiculturalism has been reflected, embraced and encouraged. We need to create spaces, and distance from our own church cultures that results from being born of the Spirit into one body...where we can engage, and listen...and where other church cultures can come in.
We need to get beyond " us " and " them " mentality...to a reality of a universal personality and a universal community...the real " church." Other church cultures are not a threat to the pristine purity of our " own " church culture identity...they are actually a potential source of enrichment. We need to become a " Church " that is not isolated and separated into distinct clutures...but one that is filled with the wild , scandalous and courageous love of Jesus, where intersecting and overlapping church cultures can contribute to the dynamic and vital unity of the Kingdom.
In a tidy house on 31st Avenue S. in Minneapolis, a dream more than a thousand years old -- and yet as fresh as the blinking baby being bounced in the kitchen -- is flourishing.
The five adults and two children who live there, and up to 20 others who come and go, call their venture Missio Dei (Latin for "House of God").
What is Missio Dei? Residents all give different, but noncompeting, answers.
It's "a missional order" formed to serve the people of Minneapolis' West Bank, many of them new immigrants who live in poverty, says Amy Van Steenwyk.
It's "an intentional community" devoted to communal living as disciples of Christ, says her husband, Mark.
It's an urgent and holy experiment that calls out to people from all walks of life, says Casey Ochs of Maple Plain, who brings his family of four to Missio Dei every Sunday night for worship and community.
It's home, says new mother Carmen Ellens, cradling baby Mateo in the spotless kitchen.
The list goes on: emergent worship community, house church, post-Protestant worship expression. All of those descriptions have a home under the group's most arresting label: New Monastics.
Read more of the story here, and thanks to Jan Bro @ the sacred threshold for the heads up.
Some people want to see God with their eyes as they see a cow and to love [God] as they love their cow - they love their cow for the milk and cheese and profit it makes them. This is how it is with people who love God for the sake of outward wealth or inward comfort. They do not rightly love God when they love for their own advantage. Indeed, I tell you the truth, any object you have on your mind, however good, will be a barrier between you and the inmost truth. (Meister Eckhart)
For my shield this day I call: A mighty power: The Holy Trinity! Affirming Threeness, Confessing oneness, in the making of all Through love ...
For my shield this day I call: Christ's power in his coming and in his baptizing, Christ's power in his dying On the cross, his rising from the tomb, his ascending; Christ's power in his coming for judgement and ending.
For my shield this day I call:
strong power of the seraphim, with angels obeying, and archangels attending, in the glorious company of the holy and risen ones in the prayers of the fathers in visions prophetic and commands apostolic in the annals if witness ...
For my shield this day I call: Heaven's might, sun's brightness, Moon's whiteness, Fire's glory, Lightening's swiftness, Wind's wildness, Ocean's depth Earth's solidity, Rock's immobility.
This day I call to me: God's strength to direct me, God's power to sustain me, God's wisdom to guide me, God's vision to light me, God's ear to my hearing, God's word to my speaking, God's hand to uphold me, God's pathway before me, God's shield to protect me ...
From evil enticements, from failings of nature, from one man or many, that seek to destroy me, anear or afar ..
Around me I gather these forces to save my soul and my body ...
Against knowledge unlawful that injures the body, that injures the spirit.
Be Christ this day my strong protector against poison and burning against drowning wounding through reward wide plenty
Christ beside me Christ before me Christ behind me Christ within me Christ beneath me Christ above me Christ to the right of me Christ to the left of me
Christ in my lying, my sitting, my rising Christ in heart of all who know me Chirst on tongue of all who meet me; Chirst in eye of all who see me; Christ in ear of all who hear me.
For my shield this day I call a mighty power: The Holy Trinity! Affirming Threeness, Confessing oneness, in the making of all Through love ...
Only the walker who sets out toward ultimate things is a pilgrim. In this lies the terrible difference between tourist and pilgrim. The tourist travels just as far, sometimes with great zeal and courage, gathering up acquisitions (a string of adventures, a wondrous tale or two) and returns the same person as the one who departed. There is something inexpressibly sad in the clutter of belongings the tourist unpacks back at home. The pilgrim is different. The pilgrim resolves that the one who returns will not be the same person as the one who set out.
1. There are a lot more people experimenting with new forms of structured communal Christianity than I had thought. People from all sorts of traditions realize that Christianity is best done together. And that in order for it to work, we need to live out rhythms of prayer and agree to some pretty serious community rules.
2. Mennonites and Catholics have more in common than I previously thought. There was a lot of love being shared between the mennonites and catholics that I met during the week.
3. Civil disobedience is a spiritual discipline that is desperately needed and something I definitely want to embrace.
4. Submission is the heart of worship. If we want to reject the authoritarianism of the clergy/laity distinction, we need to replace it with a robust sort of communal mutual submission.
5. Vows of stability are more necessary in our highly transitional world.
Kevin Rains and Rachele Mee-Chapman are engaging a great conversation asking...what is the role of the (or a) leader in group spiritual formation? I guess I'm wondering what a modern day abbot or abbess looks like... How is it different to how we understand 'pastor'? ie What sets it apart from other titles/modes of leadership?
You know how there are people who talk about a new kind of Christianity, and then there are people who actually are a new kind of Christian? Or how some people write books about postmodern faith and some people live it? (Not that they are always mutually exclusive, but there is kind of a trend there.) Kevin Rains is one of the latter – a top notch practitioner of neo-monasticism and part of the first wave of folks to explore alternative pastoring in the late nineties and early 2000’s. Kevin and his family live with other families, singlets, and pilgrims in an old vicarage and the neighboring re-built convent house. Together, the community acts as caretakers to a crumbling mini-cathedral/artists’ hive; practices the keeping of the hours and the acts of the liturgical year; and runs an auto repair shop. They are well known for humble, re-life discipleship; a warm and open table; and plenty of hookas and beer. In short, Kevin and the gang are my kind of people!
Kevin’s recently taken on a research project as a part of his ongoing quest for higher education. We thought it would be fun to let y’all listen in. You can read our chat here and Kev’s info. exchange with postmodern abbots and abbesses over at his place.