Wednesday, July 07, 2010

this is classic: emerging church danger!

Two strangers met at an academic conference. One was me, new to Australia, new to lecturing in the Uniting Church. The other was retired, also a lecturer, a figure large in the life of the Uniting Church. Over lunch we compare notes, talking about the history of theological education in Australia. Wanting to listen, I, the new one asks a broad, opened ended question:

New one: So what is the most important thing a person coming new to the Uniting Church from New Zealand needs to know about the Uniting Church?

Retired one: The danger of the emerging church. The Uniting Church is founded on the Creeds and Reformers and the emerging church is a danger to that.

The mouth of the new one falls open in surprise, amazed at this turn in the conversation!

New one: Oh, I thought the Basis of Union encouraged a pilgrim people, a people always on the journey. That’s why we are called Uniting, not United. So wouldn’t some sort of commitment to the emerging church be some sort of commitment in the Basis of Union to the emerging church?

Retired one: Yes, but a prior article in the Basis of Union says we have a commitment to the worldwide church and to our relationships. The emerging church is a danger to that.

New one: Oh, we’ve recently as a Synod had speakers from the Anglican church in the UK. They, in partnership with the Methodist church, are working on fresh expressions. So they suggest some sense that emerging church is part of the worldwide church conversation.

Pause. Genuine pondering on both sides.

New one: What is interesting is that they called it “fresh” not new. They do not want this to be seen as something new, denying the Reformation, but simply as the challenge for each generation, to be a faithful and pilgrim people in their generation.

The conversation moves on … true moment

Posted by steve at 08:09 PM