Please view the 5 minute video, then read the reflection below.
Summary of the Emerging Church – Father Richard Rohr (Center for Action and Contemplation)
To emerge … is to become apparent … become important … become prominent.
What a time to celebrate!
Imagine a church where everyone is welcome, where no questions are off limits, where we challenge each other to be guided by the love of Christ in all aspect of our lives … broadly and richly. How can that be wrong?
It has always seemed to me that Christianity is more important than denomination. (Perhaps that’s because I was raised Lutheran and then Baptist and then Lutheran; then I married a Catholic and attended Catholic mass for fifteen years. It also helps to explain why being part of Mission of the Atonement is so important to me.) On the other hand, tradition offers us such comfort. When I took (Lutheran) communion for the first time at Mission of the Atonement – while kneeling at the altar rail – I worked hard to hold back the tears. It was so powerful to be welcomed to Christ’s table after fifteen years using the traditions of my childhood. Richard Rohr suggests that the emerging church is a movement that gratefully embraces tradition, on the one hand, while searching and striving for a new consensus to ground, deepen, and personalize our faith.
Richard Rohr also says that, historically, the church has provided us with doctrine (a belief or set of beliefs held and taught by a church, political party, or other group ) and dogma (a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true). It seems to me that it’s part of human nature to want things to be clear and definitive, especially when things are important. It would be so comforting if living our lives as Christians were as easy as following a checklist (don’t dance or don’t eat certain foods on certain days or don’t drink caffeine or …). We have such a longing for living our lives as a Christian and we have such a longing to know the truth. It’s easy to see why more rigid, perhaps more traditional faith practices have such appeal.
But, as our pastors and priests and Mission of the Atonement tell us: life is messy; being a Christian is messy. It seems to me that the emerging church is asking us to engage more fully, question more deeply, and live more richly as Christians.