Your Blog Steward

My photo
Omaha, Nebraska, United States
I am more and more convinced that most congregations die from a staggering lack of imagination. Let's change that. Let's imagine a creative future with God and each other together. Drop me a line on email or leave a comment if you have thoughts on God, Jesus, congregations, the church or whatever.... I look forward to our conversations.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Missional Church and Convergence Christiantiy, part IV

(see parts I-III below)

To finish up this little overview of some of the promising work I see in convergence Christianity from my perspective as a missional church theologian, I want to highlight an intriguing metaphor from convergence Christianity and to offer a prayer. In neither case do I envision convergence Christianity to be lacking or wanting, but rather I am hopeful for where it seems to be flowing. There is no question to my mind that I would want to float in that water; whether folks in convergence Christianity would want me to? I cannot say...

The metaphor I have noticed that convergence Christianity uses which seems to have a great future is "wilderness." Wilderness, and all that it implies, seems to be key to any understanding of convergence. The first thing to note about the wilderness metaphor is that is cannot be controlled by humans. The second humans gain control of anything it ceases to be wilderness. Convergence Christianity holds that God, not human capacity and ability, creates the world in which we live, move, and have our being. From our human perspective, since we do not have control, this looks like wilderness.

So whether the venture is the Wild Goose Festival in the actual forests of North Carolina, or into the internet such as Darkwood Brew, convergence Christianity seems to happen in the wilderness. Dr. Elnes makes a great point in highlighting the importance of wilderness to the history of Judaism and Christianity, and he carries that metaphor into his current ministry. I think this shows great promise.

One thing I have learned over the past 25 years is that the world seems more wild each and every year. Sometimes, when I am out in some of the remotest places of this country, life seems more organized and tame than when I am here at home in the city living with about 20,000 students and another 1 million or so of my closest friends. The world seems crazy, at times even threatening, even more so dangerous...and convergence Christianity seems to say--well, that's where we meet. In the wilderness, because that's where we live...Taking seriously the world we live in (this is the deep appreciation of creation), and engaging the wildness of it all, still finding God and faith in that wildness, and then using that wildness to create new realities, new possibilities, and new relationships...well, that wilderness seems to be a great place to meet. A great place to have a prairie table.

My prayer for convergence Christianity is that is stays of God. Whenever we engage is convergence we engage from our gracious faith and gifts from God, to God, and with God. The emergent Church stuff of a few years ago never did much for me because it always seemed to be about God, rather than of God. That is, it made God the object of all the new and creative emergent stuff, it rarely seemed to get around to understanding that God was the author, painter, sculptor, talker, leader, sharer, or was alway about how we humans could best express ourselves to God, rather than how we can understand how God expresses God's life and being to us. I pray convergence Christianity stays of God, that it continues to live and breathe as convergence because God is convergence. And that idea, seems solid to me...

May your tables be full, and your conversations be true.

1 comment:

Eric Elnes said...

Amen, Scott! Nice series, and I definitely agree with your prayer. I very much see Convergence as being "of God," and my prayer is that it fares a little better, for a little longer, and remaining "of God" than other movements have fared. To draw on the wilderness metaphor once more: One day the "pillar of fire" that the Hebrews followed in the wilderness will move on, and we'll have to disassemble the tabernacle we've built, follow the fire, and reassemble it elsewhere. Otherwise, we'll simply become "about God," not "of God." But right now, here's where the flame has set down. It's time to rally people to disassemble the tabernacle we've built in the old location and move it to where the fire is presently burning. :-)