In our last gathering, we spent quite a while talking about communal living and how we can made a practical and tangible impact in our situation. I have been very intentional about making sure I don’t understand my world to be the world! One of the most humbling ways to acheive this is to place ourselves in the global context. Go check out the Global Rich List website to find out how you rank in world-wide wealth. I independently sit in the top 8% richest people in the world – however, if you combine my income with my wife’s, we find ourselves sitting pretty amongst the top 0.92% of the worldwide population. [note: Global Rich List does not take into account Purchasing Power Parity, and therefore will yeild more extreme numbers.]
Did you know that the overall average income worldwide is around $6,000 to $8,000? And that is even after being adjusted for purchasing power. Here in the US, our per capita income is around $43,000.
When we understand where American Christianity stands in the global community, it becomes increasingly difficult for us to maintain business as usual.
So where does the emerging church and communal living come into the picture? I am convinced we will only find the courage to be the Kingdom of God if we band together and are willing to embody Kingdom ideals together. That is what the Acts 2 church was about – not being radical for radical’s sake, but rather being loving and embodying the Word regardless of what it takes. Holistic salvation isn’t just cared with redemption from personal sin, it is concerned with redemption of a people, and redemption of the World!!
I opened up my email today and found the weekly newsletter from Emergent Village to be particularly relevant to where we are as a gathering in our formative stages.
People are drowning in the world—they are rethinking Jesus and church and Christianity and ministry, and they think they are all alone. People are ready to give up on faith and ministry and church. Then, one day, they find a blog or read a book or show up at an event, and they say, “Omigosh! I thought I was all alone. I thought I was the only one feeling these things, and now I find there’s a whole host of people asking the same questions as I am!”
I can’t help but wonder how many more people are out there, about to give up on ministry or even on faith…? Or how many people will never give Jesus a chance because they’re convinced that Christ-followers are a bunch of closed-minded ideologues…?
Those questions reconfirm to me the importance of the Emergent Village friendship, and the necessity of keeping that friendship open into the future—really, into God’s future.
I keep hearing similar sentiments from those of us already engaging this conversation. We have been burned by what church has become and hoping there is something more. This is why I am convinced of the importance of getting several of us together to continue discussion.
Have you ever tried to explain the emerging church to someone who has had no exposure to it what so ever? I found myself in that situation not to long ago and I kept stumbling over how to describe this “conversation.” In one of Emergent Village’s podcast (I think it was from the 2004 Theological Convention), one of the participants jokingly referred to the emerging church as having connections to gnosticism because it was one of those things that you can’t describe it until you are a part of it.
Well anyway, I have found the best way to discuss the emerging church is by walking through a few descriptive terms and what they mean for this conversation. Here is a list I have compiled. Feel free to add your own words or comments:
- Narrative driven
- Engages culture