by Crystal St. Marie Lewis
Author Bryan Berghoef recently wrote about a “shift in Christianity” on his blog. He’s calling the shift “a new convergence” and describes the characteristics of the convergence with this quote by Brian McLaren: “A new coalition is already happening, as existing organizations and emerging networks discover one another and realize they have independently reached common conclusions… Where and how will this coalition happen? It’s already happening through a variety of sources, as existing organizations and emerging networks discover one another… and begin developing both personal relationships and concrete plans for missional collaboration — especially on behalf of the poor, peace, and the planet.”
If you’re familiar with the postmodern, intentionally deconstructive and amorphous movement called Emergent Christiantiy, then language about a shift, change, new coalition, progressive conversation or renewed Reformation is probably not a new thing for you. But if you haven’t heard of Emergence prior to now, then I highly recommend you read The Great Emergence by Phyllis Tickle, as well as A New Kind of Christianity by Brian McLaren. Both books explain the quietly burgeoning demand for reimagined theology, more inclusive liturgy, wider engagement of religious pluralism and less traditional ways to do “church”.
When I first began to talk about the need for change in Christianity, I was met with a lot of resistance from my more conservative friends, with many of them quoting scripture about God’s “unchanging nature” to explain why they felt the need to dig their heels into the soil. (And yes, I’ve found it pretty ironic that Bible verses concerning God’s unchanging nature were quoted so often to counter cries for change within the church– as if the church were God. But I digress.)
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