Thursday, February 26, 2004

Can a Neanderthal Emerge?

I must confess that until I stumbled across this strange world of blogdom a few months ago, I knew almost nothing about The Emerging Church. Since it seems to be the topic on so many sites that I now visit regularly, I figured it was time to look around and see what all the excitement was about.

What I discovered were some things that have been part of various discussions within the Episcopal Church for a long time, with little insight on how to implement our conclusions. I recall using materials from Loren Meade's The Once and Future Church in which he points out that we need to face the fact that we now live in a postmodern era. The ways that we "do Church" and talk about God have needed to be reconsidered for a long time.

I will readily admit that I began exploring the emerging church with a particular bias; I really love the Episcopal Church, and I doubted if I would find much involvement in this within our tradition. I was pleasantly surprised to find The Church of the Apostles in Seattle doing some quite innovative things, while honoring our tradition. This is a congregation that is Episcopalian and Lutheran; one of the few successful mergings that I have heard about since we entered into full communion with the ELCA a few years ago. Karen Ward appears to be a gifted leader. This is a really exciting place!

Looking further, I found The Church of the Beloved in Charlotte. As it turns out, Derek and I were in seminary together. I had lunch with him a few years ago in Charlotte when he was doing church planting and I had just started doing interim work. Now I understand a little better what he was trying to tell me, and why he was so full of enthusiasm!

I want to continue to look at this a bit closer. Being an incurable bookworm, I'll probably start with a couple of books; The Emerging Church and one from the Alban Institute, The Postmodern Parish.

I wonder how a cave dwelling modernist like myself might be helpful? Is there a place for a doddering old priest in a black cassock with a prayer book under his arm? I don't drool too much, and I can swing a mean thurible.


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