Friday, September 23, 2011

Emergent spirituality is simply authentic faith... together

Photo from Tampa Tribune feature last month
Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:18-19

Rebekah and I often talk about spiritual things. It's not so much that we deliberately slip into the spiritual mode, or decide to "talk church," or think to ourselves, "You know what, we need to have a conversation about faith...." No, it's far more natural than that, more along the lines of there is no distinction between our lives and our spiritual lives. Faith comes up because it has become the filter through which we both see and experience our daily lives.

Yesterday, I believe it was over supper, we found ourselves talking about what's become known as "The Emergent Church Movement." Here's short explanation, for those who don't recognize what "emergent church" means (this is not from a text-book, just my personal take on it):
The Emergent Church Movement is an attempt to:
  • Understand some of the new - "emerging" - ideas regarding forms of worship...
  • Understand how these practices resonate with people who otherwise might not attend church...
  • Identify common threads of experience and the theological meaning attached to these practices.
We talked about the tendency of faith communities to say, "That worked for them, we should try this here." or "Maybe we could attract more people if we did _______ (insert "emergent" idea here)."

However, truly emergent practice is a response to the Spirit in any given local setting. The moment we try to attach "rules" to what "emergent" is supposed to look like, then it is - by definition - not emergent anymore!
"We have to be open to the Spirit where we are," Rebekah said. "We need to be constantly asking the question, "Is our worship authentic?" and "Are we moving forward or simply marking time?"

Of course, any given community of faith is going to have a variety of participants, and public worship is more about coming together in the presence of God than crafting a "state of the art" experience.
Ultimately, any congregation that honestly desires to grow in faith and offer praise to God is potentially an "emergent" community. We just have to be open to God, and make sure that we are worshipping the Lord rather than worshipping our traditions.
I am so blessed to be in a church that values authentic worship... and in a marriage where our spiritual life is always worth talking about - DEREK

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