Tuesday, June 01, 2010
The emerging movement remains connected to the core of evangelicalism with missional impulses.
three core practices: the way of Jesus, breaking down the sacred-secular divide, and community living.
Emergent Village and its leaders Brian McLaren, Tony Jones, and Doug Pagitt.
Emerging is a mix of orthodox, missional, evangelical, church-centered, and social justice leaders and lay folk.
think: Dan Kimball at Vintage Faith Church in Santa Cruz, Dave Dunbar at Biblical Seminary in Hatfield, Pennsylvania, Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch and their book The Shaping of Things to Come, and Donald Miller's Blue Like Jazz.
In someways anticipated by Lesslie Newbigin and developed by Tom Sine's The New Conspirators. One can see emerging trends in Willow Creek Community Church and Saddleback Church
Brian McLaren is in the progressive wing. To understand McLaren: two things. First, his books are "works in progress." Second, how the kingdom vision of Jesus impacts global crises and Christian discipleship. He provides a rich source for Christian imagination, vision, and reflection
His two recent books, The Secret Message of Jesus and Everything Must Change, build upon his prior work, Reinventing Your Church, his three-volume set of fiction, and his best-selling Generous Orthodoxy.
His fiction and Generous Orthodoxy questioned prevailing ideas,
Secret Message and Everything Must Change try to construct a positive vision of his priorities and the foundation for future work.
No one better expresses, like a beat poet, the ironic faith of emergents and a strong sense of how the gospel should be lived. McLaren has moved through this irony and come out with a vision
"empire of God," "dream of God," "revolution of God," "mission of God," "party of God," the "network of God," and the "dance of God."
Jesus' thoroughly social vision, "dedicated to all who work for peace among nations, races, classes, religions, ideologies, parties, families, and individuals.
So what is the message of Jesus? peace, reconciliation, love. is global. Jesus really "had a message that truly could change the world."
Jesus' kingdom vision is bigger, everything to do with public matters in general and politics in particular—including economics and aid, personal empowerment and choice, foreign policy and war.
a message about the "empire of God," was available to all right then and there
"revolutionary new sort of revolution"
"the ultimate authority is not Caesar but rather the Creator,"
"find your identity—your citizenship—not in Rome but rather in a spiritual realm."
"through him, God was launching a new world order, a new world, a new creation."
"The radical revolutionary empire of God is here, advancing by reconciliation and peace, expanding by faith, hope, and love—beginning with the poorest, the weakest, the meekest, and the least. It's time to change your thinking. Everything is about to change. It's time for a new way of life. Believe me. Follow me. Believe this good news so you can learn to live by it and be part of the revolution." This revolution, then, is a revolution of peace and hope that, in both the insignificant and the Cross, in both sacrifice and love, reveals and unmasks corporate and cosmic evil.
In this aggressive emphasis on the here and now, we see a devaluation of the traditional view of heaven, and the need for a radical reworking of familiar terms—eternal life, heaven, kingdom, repent, believe, and sin. These terms now take their meaning from the story of God's current redemption of the entire created order...the kingdom of God as Jesus teaches it is a "reconciling movement."
five commitments point the way: rethinking (or repentance), believing, receiving, going public, and practicing a new way of life—a life of denying the use of violence (which is, according to McLaren, the message of the Cross) and of embracing enemy-love.
"a ceaseless rebellion against the tyrannical trinity of money, sex, and power. Its citizens resist … by … generosity toward the poor … prayer … [and] fasting."
McClaren could only see this kingdom vision of Jesus when he came to a "place of cynically doubting much of what I had been told about Jesus." Peter Rollins called it "fidelity of betrayal." or...He had to betray the Jesus and the gospel and the church that nurtured him to become faithful to the Jesus of this kingdom vision.
Everything Must Change is a deconstructive work. The problem is our "framing stories." The stories we tell that make sense of our world.
The conventional framing story are told in such a way that the crises of our present age—are not (usually) addressed. These need to be replaced with kingdom framing story, "deep shift." The conventional framing story is dealing with "spiritual needs" exclusion of physical and social needs. specialized in the afterlife but failed social injustices in this life. It is focused on "me", "my soul" and "my spiritual life" and "my eternal destiny,"
It failed to address the dominant societal and global realities of their lifetime: systemic injustice, systemic poverty, systemic ecological crisis, systemic dysfunctions of many kinds. This story is a colossal mistake. The kingdom vision is much bigger, more earthly, "the sacred ecosystem of God." it's about changing this world, not just escaping it and retreating into our churches
McLaren becomes apocalyptic. He identifies three crises which amount to a "suicide machine". the prosperity system, the security system, and the equity system.
Each has dysfunction: unhindered economic growth, unredemptive violence, and the rich/poor conflict
In the reigning secular framing story—one that Western Christians subconsciously believe in. The people conceive of themselves in godlike fashion, accumulating things in a never-ending competitive struggle in which they are but "masses of atoms."
Instead, pursue virtue, collaboration, peace, and mutual care. Then our lives can have profound meaning.
"How ironic that the cross—the icon of the dominating Roman framing story—became the icon for the liberating framing story of Jesus. And how much more ironic if we who believe in Jesus don't get the irony."
McClaren idea is consistent with René Girard's theory. Which is, by the Cross God identified with the victim and both unmasked and undid evil, systemic violence, and injustice. McLaren says, at the Cross, "God exposed and judged the evil of empire and religion" and "achieves peace not by shedding the blood of rebels but by … shedding his own blood … [The] crucifixion of Christ can in this light be seen as a radical repudiation of the use of violent force."
Emergents believe that penal substitution theories have not led to a kingdom vision