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stream of consciousness rant I

hipster—what’s up with that? in general this is a trend in the emergence. what about those of us who are not hipster and attempting to bring emergence to rural ministry, who says it’s “just for educated hipsters” I counter that this “emergence” needs to be everywhere or else it will not emerge. a sort of “duh” moment. but when will we stop trying to imitate all these other churches and listen to our own church? our own location. that is what most emergent churches have done. often the difference is that they have chosen their location. they knew what they were looking for when they began or trusted the path would become clear.

what about those of us “placed” in staid places? we need to break through the crusted layers that keep Spirit out. peel those layers and Diana Butler Bass would have us help them remember who they were when they began—the good and the bad, put it in context with the Church, and then know where to go.

this can be difficult because when people are comfortable there is no need to peel back layers “that might hurt”. pastors need to be brave to do this. churches need to be ready to not worry about growth for a while, not numbered growth but spiritual growth. can the conference handle that? can our churches handle that?

some days I think I’d be up for working a full or part time job in order to have a church like this. but that means not making a new church, not making it easy. not that making a new church is easy—it’s not but it’s another challenge, another grape, another grapefruit. it’s transformation. are we ready for transformation and rebirth? let’s stop birthing new and start growing down (thank you Alyce Barrywood for that!). can the conference handle that?

I don’t want to go anywhere other than where I am. but I want to be a part of transforming this place, these 2 small churches. that’s what God is calling me to in this minute and I have resisted it. I’ve been afraid to be honest about what I’m here to do. I’ve been afraid if I said it out loud that they wouldn’t want me anymore.

but I think that’s what the churches want as well, to experience Christ in their lives as churches, as people, as a family of faith, and as individuals. I think these churches want real transformation. it’s scary though because we want to have enough money to make it, to pay the bills, we want to meet those standards set before us so the conference won’t move us, close us down. fear, not faith have guided us this far. I think I’m finding my faith again. will you come with me?

Comments

Mary Beth said…
I definitely want to come with you...could use a hand to hold at this point!

hugs!
Mompriest said…
I fear I am losing my faith. Maybe I need to lose it in order to find it again in a deeper way? I fear our churches and those in them just want to be comfortable, have a place of constancy, in an ever changing world. I fear there is too much fear and not enough spirit.
Songbird said…
I've been thinking similar thoughts about emerging for a long time, that there is life to emerge no matter the location of the church, no matter the age group of the members.
revhipchick said…
mompriest--i have similiar fears but i'm in a different place and fully believe that there is plenty and more than enough Spirit to go around. i may be naive but that's ok. i can hope for you until you find your faith again, your strength, let me hope and believe enough for you.

today Diana Buler Bass said that history helps us to change, we can be confident because we've been through "this" before and we came through it. the "we" being the Church.

there may be those to only want church to be a comfortable place but there will always be those of us pushing for more, too stubborn or too stupid to go away.

God is, always has been and always will be. that is our stability, anything else is idolatry.

i think my mind is now going somewhere else.

mary beth--i'm glad you're coming along, i'm not sure if you are offering to hold my hand cuz i do need one to hold, or asking me to hold yours--either way i'm glad that we're together!

songbird--glad to hear i'm not alone. i would love to hear more of your thoughts.
revkjarla said…
amen. I am off to worship, but would love to talk about this more. you are right on target--about the emergent thing, about growing spiritualy where you are...to see if we can coax and lead our congregations to emerge into what and how God is calling them to be....in this very complicated and amazing century.
c_w_s said…
I totally get your rant about hipster stuff. I felt a bit out of place at C21 as a "preppy" Mom but got over it.

I'm not sure existing churches can become emergent. I think we can work and peel back layers and grow down but not in the same way. I think it's more along the lines of helping churches become missional instead of emergent.

Dan Kimball in "The Emerging Church" (Zondervan, 2003) describes the missional church "as a body of people sent on a mission who gather in community for worship, encouragement, and teaching from the Word that supplements what they are feeding themselves throughout the week."

I would hazard a guess that emergent folks wouldn't have much problem with the above definition but it's one part of who they are. In the rural, urban, existing churches that are still tied to old ways of being, the above definition of missional would stretch them (in my opinion).

You have to understand that my perspective is coming as an ordained Baptist woman in the South, working within the constraints of a denominational position...so maybe my perspective is skewed.

I'm also a firm believer in blessing the new but continuing to "call out the remnant" that exists in the old. Make sense? :)
revhipchick said…
just for clarification...when i said "can the conference handle that?" i meant my MO Conference in the UMC. we focus so much on numbers it makes me crazy. last Annual Conference was better but draggin people into the church for our numbers rather than setting out for people to know Christ and to GROW in Christ is different and i think they often get confused.

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