The Hyphenateds: How Emergence Christianity Is Re-Traditioning Mainline Practices

I finished this book while I was down on the cape at the beginning of the week:

The Hyphenateds:
How Emergence Christianity Is Re-Traditioning Mainline Practices

The verdict?  Hit or miss.  It is a collection of essays, so it really depended on the essay.  Bruce was making fun of me because it seemed like I only like the essays that were written by women – I swear that wasn’t intentional!  Just random. 🙂 The essays that I liked were some of the more practical ones.  I have a hard time letting myself get too caught up in theory – I am in an ecclesial setting, not an academic one!  I need a good pep talk, haha.

There were three essays that I really liked …

The Evolution of the Story in Our Culture, Philosophy, and Faith
by Carol Howard Merritt

“So many things are emerging in our culture and religious movements that it is often difficult to wrap our heads around all of it.  Yet as mainline church leaders engage postmodern culture, one thing is clear – we cannot ignore what is happening with our narratives.”

“For me, as a postmodern Christian, the good news is not just in the story that happened a couple thousand years ago; it is the ways in which that story becomes lived out in individual lives and current communities.  Often there is beauty in those shattered pieces.  Other times, there is a horror that we cannot ignore.”

“When we do something as simple as hold our smartphones in our hands, we know that our culture is shifting in an exciting and sometimes terrifying fashion.  We change the ways in which we share our stories, reflect our philosophies, and attest to our faith.  Within our denominations, it is often the hyphenated Christians who experiment and explore in the midst of theses changes.  Whether we gather in emerging communities or tell our stories online, we are presenting the broken bits of ourselves.  We are revealing our stories, in our particular context.  We are creating beautiful mosaics.”

The Imperative of Imagination
by Nanette Sawyer

“But faith is about the shaping vision we have of the world.  Faith is not about believing something irrational and trying to convince ourselves that it is rational.  It is not about consoling ourselves away from the harsh realities of human finitude and vulnerability.  Faith, our shaping vision of the world, is what guides how we engage the world.  It affects how we approach other human beings, events, the material world, and the natural environment.”

“Transformation happens when we engage creativity and imagination.”

“Part of the challenge of the riddle of life, though, is that once we think we find an answer, the question changes.”

“To create a community that welcomes and fosters spiritual artfulness, get in touch with your hopes and dreams, your greatest hopes and dreams, the ones you are afraid to dare to dream.  Be bold because God and God’s love are dreams of that magnitude.  You are a beloved child of God.  God’s love for us is bigger than our minds can grasp.  We have to imagine our way into it.”

Peekaboo Jesus
Looking for an Emergent Savior in a Post-Christendom Culture
by Ross Lockhart

“I’ve learned over the years to accept and adapt to ministry in our post-Christendom context.”

“Paul’s ability to adapt both his evangelistic preaching style and method is a comfort and a challenge for those of us standing in our own contemporary Areopagus-like pulpits before a less-than-homogeneous congregation who are trying to figure out what they believe and what difference their lives are making in the world.  For we too live in an age of overwhelming personal choice and freedom when it comes to what we believe and which values we allow to influence our moral decision making.  The unknown God is everywhere around us.  From the empty pew to the bar stool to the bus bench to the cold, hard plastic seat in the food court, we hear sincere and spiritually hollow statements, “We just couldn’t think of anything more important to do on a Sunday morning.”  While another generation might chastise folks for not having their children in church school on a Sunday morning, we know that there are other ways of prying one hand off their eyes to end the game of peekaboo with Jesus.  Just as Paul did not blast the Athenians for worshiping so many gods and instead found a playful and clever way to connect with people through the culture, so too God calls us to be more imaginative and flexible in proclaiming the gospel in this new ministry setting.”

“Instead, the evangelism I am longing to integrate with social justice is a deep and sincere articulation of faith that believes that in the process of sharing not only will the hearer be changed by grace, but so too the speaker.  I am longing for the Spirit to move us to a place where evangelism and justice can mutually inform one another, where speaking about Jesus goes hand in hand with living for Jesus.  Perhaps this is where the emergent church can offer old, mainline denominations the greatest hope.”

“Relevant preaching in a postmodern context does not claim to have all the answers, but instead connects with others on a journey that is continually unfolding, particularly by entering into the stories of scripture that can profoundly shape our lives.”

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