Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Emerging Thoughts

I think those who embrace the postmodern church will experience a great time of reconciliation among different faith traditions. First of all, I love my church, but sometimes my church isn’t a comfortable place for me (perhaps that is my fault). Sometimes the A, B, C, solutions to life’s questions are a little unsatisfying if you are raised with D, C, F solutions and told that A, B and C are wrong (which doesn’t happen a lot for me at my church, but it does happen.)

A few years ago Eric and I had an interesting experience when we toured Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. We took a tour led by a woman who clearly loved Christ and loved the church. We were even “witnessed to”. I never knew Catholic’s witnessed. What impressed me most is how much they got right. Even though I am taught they got at least 95 things wrong. Did you know they built the church building to represent the body of Christ to remind the people that they are the body of Christ? It is in the shape of a cross and the front of the building where the priest stood is off center because as Christ hung on the cross his head hung to one side. Now, I am alarmed at any teaching that puts an intermediary between me and the Holy Spirit, so I have huge disagreements with Catholic theology. But as this woman talked and as she revealed her love for Christ and Catholicism I learned that above my disagreement with her religion I could trust the Holy Spirit inside of her. Eric comes from a charismatic background and I come from a Baptist background. I know the differences in our theology. But the truth that the Holy Spirit is alive and transforming both of us is a bigger truth than the truth that I have the correct theological understanding of speaking in tongues; even though I do.

And with that being said, let me add that another bigger truth is that my relationship to Christ depends upon Him and His grace, not my rightness which tends to manifest itself as self-righteousness.

The emerging church or movement or whatever they are calling themselves these days is seen by many who are happy with their current church and its understanding of God as a rebellious bunch of twenty and thirty something disgruntled former church members more concerned with critiquing Christianity than witnessing to those outside of it. But perhaps God sees it differently. Perhaps the best part of the emergent movement will be a call towards reconciliation. Perhaps the bigger rebellion occurred when we quit thinking reconciliation (something Paul spent a lot his letters addressing) was that important and severed the Body of Christ into so many disparate pieces.

Anyway, taking on more of an emerging mindset has allowed me to see God at work throughout my world, not just inside my church walls and church activities. It also has allowed me to live with ambiguity and to be comfortable with the fact that we only see a hazy image of the Kingdom of Heaven here on Earth.

Of course for those who don't see Christ the way I do, well, that image is a little hazier for them than it is for me. God bless them.

Okay, that was a joke.


Robin said...

very interesting. I will listen to Rob Bell and see what he said that tied into this post! Love reading your blog.

Leslie said...

I had just listened to the first part when I wrote this, but the end will just bring you to tears.

Kim Assaad said...

Hi Leslie, I enjoyed reading your blog too. Thanks for thinking of Mark and me.