Steve Hayner (cont’d)
a lot of this so reminds me of kaleidoscopic input. there isnt’ anything systematic about this book (An Emergent Manifesto of Hope). it reminds me about “Wikikklesia“. read more here…
let’s look at a variety of theological pieces here, as kind of a kaleidoscope. these are some places, snapshots of some of the conversations. i’m in a rather long conversation with ed stetzer…but the very fact that you can have these conversations is a remarkable kind of thing….
one piece is that emergent church have a kind of incarnational paradigm about the world. which means, they are neither world-fearing, nor embracing all culture. a world-fearing stance has given rise to the culture wars. the world is a bad place means that if we can’t change it, we need to guard ourselves against it. home schooling and a variety of movements lead to protecting ourselves against it.
another stance is culture-embracing. anything that is out there is good and we embrace it all. that is a stance that religious people have taken.
the emergent people have taken the stance that says we are going to engage the world. this is going to sound very reformed. the emergent world talks about creatively engaging the world. acknowledging that evil does exist and the world is a challenging place. sin is individual and corporate, but God in Jesus, moved into the neighborhood. God took a risk and incarnated. when God came there was an understanding that this was dangerous, there was a war going on, but that change could take place.
it’s not about sacred on the one hand, and secular on the other. it’s about ‘this is my father’s world’, therefore the image of God can be seen in certain ways in the world and in creation itself. and god is in the process of redeeming this world.
secondly, there is a holistic view of salvation. neither salvation as saving souls. there is a whole chunk of the world that talks about salvation as saving souls. the emerging church doesn’t talk much about souls, but about people. neither is salvation as liberating the oppressed.” neither conservatives – souls, or liberal – oppressed. salvation is about a bigger picture, rather healing all that is broken.restoration of God’s kingdom and redeem creation. the fall has more implications than between humanity in God. those who care about salvation, to talk about salvation only in terms of a broken relationship with God, as only alienation with God is that there are other consequences of the fall. in Gen 2-3, other consequences are deprivation, suddenly humanity experiences want – no food, no clothing. the essentials of life become difficult to work with. it’s hard to survive. in addition to that, it’s also a world of oppression. there is a misuse of power….
reconciliation is God’s answer to alienation.
compassion is God’s answer to deprivation
God’s answer to oppression is justice.
salvation is defined in a more holistic way. it’s not just getting people right with God. Not just Jesus saved my soul, we’re done, but until all of creation is done, then we’re not done.
interestingly enough, the postevangelicals and postliberals find themselves in this common ground. in the way of Jesus has something to do with whole enchilada! we’re not just about the oppressed and just saving souls. we’re about restoring all of God’s kingdom.
another view is an expanded perspective of atonement. in the classical theology of last 200 years, there have been two primary ways of looking at the cross.
- example of cross as an example of sacrificial loving.
- the cross as penal substitutionary atonement. fancy way of Jesus died for your sins. God took your sins and put them on Christ.
emerging church has recognized that the cross represents those things and a whole lot more. cross as God’s multivalent mysterious triumph. death of resurrection as apologetic, atonement as ransom, Jesus died as new covenant sacrifice, to demonstrate love of God, so on and so forth. one thing most talked about is Christus Victor – in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, Christ accomplishes what God set out to do. victory is not only over sin, but Christ is victorious over all that is broken.
church as authentic community.
the relationship ultimately defines the nature of the church. the fundamental understanding of church is authentic community – true-faced community.
discipleship as participation in the kingdom
think of the word, discipleship, what it means to be a disciple of Christ. there are lots of paradigms as to what discipleship looks like. what is discipleship about? what does Christian maturity look like? would you know it if it came up and bit you? if there is some kind of telos, then what is the process by which we get there? how do we do discipleship? when i was in college, in a secular university, we did the “ten steps to Christian maturity” and i guess when you finished filling in all the blanks of the bible studies, i guess we got a big D for discipleship. it was about what you knew! know it, do it! it’s what Christian education is about. so that’s what people like me are doing. we become a big information dump.
is that really transformative? in recent years, instead of Christian education, we talk about Christian formation! or transformation…recognizing there’s a lot more going than what’s going on in your head. we want to make sure that we’re not talking about preparation for the “sweet by and by”, nor “doing good in this world alone’ , not just preparing people for what’s going on in heaven, but rather that we’re talking about following Jesus both now and then.
so we begin to think about participation in this kingdom-type of living.
spiritual formation tends to focus on who we are, but becoming kingdom people tends to focus on community, mission, and doing and being people that God has called us to be. to follow Jesus in way that “looks, smells, and feels like Jesus”. discipleship is not just about formation of a character, but formation of a life, a living. talking about “fully becoming what/who i was made to be in community”. in this community, we demonstrate this life and being of Jesus.
the establishment of catechumenate changed when culture changed. initially, the catechumen was established to determine strength against culture….eventually, we worked on issues related to Christian character, working on Christian virtues, that was that period the catechumeante began to include prayers of exorcism. later on, it became doctrinal primarily. the idea of preparation as the cultural needs have changed.
the assumption is that i recognize that i am not what I’m supposed to be. I’m broken, I’m sinful…the assumption is that God wants to do something about. and that God has started that process in the life and person of Jesus. Jesus illustrates what humanity is supposed to be about. Jesus is humanity the way it was supposed to be lived. we have more than a pattern….Jesus invites us to be a community where that character can be played out in a new context in a different way than Jesus’ context. that becomes the transformative process.
in some sense, it involves a high degree of permeability in this community. Jesus lives out the life of the kingdom in this crazy world. that’s part of what gets the pharisees and the Sadducees so upset. he does, he pulls himself away repeatedly, but he’s always out there. he’s making outpost behind enemy lines. there are many new testament people that are looking at the gospel of Matthew very differently. Matthew is not so much, not simply as gospel through Jewish eyes, but now that Matthew might be prototype of what it means to be a disciple, trying to describe kingdom living as a disciple. Jesus is collecting these people and live with them for 3 years….it was organic. they watched him pray, and they also saw him pray in ways that were different than ways that had been modeled before.
the invitation of Jesus is “follow me” learn from me, be tutored in this way of living that I’m a part of. rely on the context of this kingdom in this community. trust God’s grace to lift you up and transform you into the community that God wants you to be.
the whole idea of this kingdom living is that we’re going to do this in the middle of living. we’re not just the church when we’re gathered, but we’re the church when we’re scattered.
what do we do now? is the question. initally, the early church met at solomon’s porch and they would do a little teaching and then go home and eat, break up into these communities and break bread together and share what God was doing. they were told that they would go from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth…they can’t even see behind the walls. So persecution happens and the Holy Spirita pushes them out.
for emerging folk, the pentecost is real…they have to figure it out. what do they have to figure out? how to be people of Christ’s kingdom. not just getting people ready for the “by and by”, but it is this whole life new way of being thing.
another thing i think is interesting is ’embodied theology’. theology embodied…when i think of theology, i think of books and constructs. but in this case, theology is:
- contextual, particular, provisional (or temporary), evolving — little loosey goosey for some people. for emerging people, they don’t mind slippery.
- Spirit-led, participatory in practice — most of these folks have little time and energy to talk about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. there are always these people who discuss esoteric thing…some of you are going to do it and love it, but they want to talk about theology that plays out in my life.
- Something we can touch – 1 John,”that which we have seen and touched with our hands”; it’s not an idea of Jesus. it is tangible.
- praxis as apologetics — apologetics basically is how we persuade others about the truthfulness of our faith claims. classical Christian apologetics have tended to be philosophical, modernist, based on scientific methodology. when i was in college in the 1960’s and did evangelistic talks on campus might typically have been evidence for the resurrection. the whole idea was to convince people that the resurrection happened. if people could see that the resurrection really happened then that was a way that faith could begin. but that type of apologetic no longer works in the emergent world. it just provides assurance once they are already in the faith. apologetics is the practice, because the questions have changed. in the 60s, the question was, ‘is it true?”. now the question is, ‘does it work?’ so, the practice becomes the apologetic. the community becomes apologetic. in some sense this is very Gospel. “they will know you are my disciples, by your love for one another.” it’s our lives that become the apologetic
Church as missionary community – the church does what Christ does and Jesus’ mission statement is what? Luke 4 – Spirit of the Lord is on me to preach good news to the poor, to heal the sick, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord….God has always been on a mission, this redemptive process. God has always been speaking and calling and wooing to bring people back to a relationship of shalom. and if that is what the kingdom is about, then that’s what the church is about. the church is not designed for people to enjoy one another.
Jesus said, “peace be with you. and as the Father has sent me, so i send you.” Father sent Jesus. Jesus sends us. John 20.19-22….
we’re going to talk about the difference between the missional church vs. the attractional church. the assumption is that people aren’t looking for options to come in. we used to say that people would come and find us. it was all about marketing, in terms of competition. for the emergent folks, it’s really not about that, it’s seeing ourselves as sent.