A few thoughts from a lecture on emerging church expressions.  The case study we discussed was a report put together by the Church of England.  The lecture centered around cultural shifts and 12 church forms that are being employed and developed in the midst of this shift.

 

There seemed to be a paradox going on within the models expressed.  They were both extremely diverse and decidedly monocultural.  The church forms ranged from participatory artistic worship gatherings, to community organizing style groups in poor communities, to organic gatherings in pubs and cafés.  Each form of church seemed creative and at the same time very niche related.  Artists fellowship here, the young over there, and neo-beatniks over here.  How do we integrate the pub goers, the artists, the young , old, hip, impoverished, well-off, immigrant and local?  I love love love the varying expressions of people seeking Christ together, but I also sense a sort of segregating or isolating going on in these expressions.  The Body of Christ, as described in the New Testament, is made up of all sorts of people living out God’s love in unity.  Unity in diversity seems to be a part of the life-giving manner of how God made us to flourish.  We need to encourage this in our midst as we reinvent and innovate the functions and expressions of being the “church.”  How might be encourage that in the midst of all these new expressions?

 

And as a side note:

There seems to be an underlying assumption in these sorts of discussions that the religious culture of the U.S. will follow in the footsteps of Europe.  Is America’s religious temperature necessarily going to emulate Europe’s?  Might immigrants (thanks Hanciles), raucous American Evangelicalism, and myriad of variables be shaping the faith landscape of America in ways that look nothing like England or Europe?

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