Well, it's tough to summarize all that was said during a great discussion like we had today. We talked about Phylis Tickle's book, The Great Emergence. We watched the introductory videos from the website (which you can also view here) and then talked about the ideas of the "every 500 year rummage sale," "Where now is the authority?" and the connection of the various branches of Christianity.
Our discussion had several aspects to it: Theoretically/Objectively there was a general consensus that change happens throughout history, and yes things are different now, but perhaps Tickle is overstating the situation a bit. There was skepticism that Emerging/ent is not really "the next big thing," but just simply another chapter in the ongoing saga of Christianity. Others pointed out that the change in our use of language, the general openness of the group to new ideas and divergent viewpoints, were evidence enough that indeed we are witnessing a change in how Christians understand themselves and how Christianity is existing and functioning.
On another level, we discussed the implications of "The Great Emergence" for ourselves, personally. Several members expressed feelings of uncertainty, a desire to return to the "old, easy answers", even though in our hearts we know they aren't satisfactory. Many of these comments have been expressed in previous posts (see here).
Finally, we discussed what some of these ideas would mean for our small cohort, and how exactly our cohort should function. There is a definite challenge in developing a viable group with purpose and intention, without imposing unnecessary and restrictive structure. We discussed the relationships between institutions and communities - and it was said that most groups and organizations that continue to function well have some form of institution. Furthermore, the relationship between truth statements, creeds, and identity was discussed. For myself, I took away that creedal statements are helpful for offering a definition of what a group believes, and thereby who aligns themselves with that group. This is the way every modern religious institution defined itself: by statements of faith. However, these statements can create a division of who is "in" and who is "out" based upon who agrees or disagrees with such statements, even something as simple as, "there is a God." (I tried to explain the difference between bounded and centered sets, and it came out pretty poorly - another explanation is here)
Therefore, our cohort will not formely adopt any truth statements, but rather will allow our actions to proclaim what we believe and we will emphasize our relationships with one another. We live within the freedom to boldly state to one another what we believe without concern of aligning with any checklist or worrying about disagreement. And we move forward in confidence that our actions will always show that above all, we are committed to loving one another and showing that in real ways.
There were lots of ideas exchanged, and I'm sure others had different impressions, so please chime in. Some thoughts have already been shared here.
In addition to all this heavy "Great Emergence" junk, we also talked about a Christmas party - so look for details on that to come soon!!
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