Let me ask you a question - is it me or do you think that an emphasis on Jesus is the centre of emerging church conversation/practice/theology/reflection? A focus on what Jesus is doing (rather than would do), an appreciation that he is intentionally incarnational and is the creator, completer, co-habitor and co-missioner of the creation narrative aka the Kingdom of God project?
I am doing some thinking about the emerging church conversation and what our own, dare I say it, emerging meme's about Jesus are. But to help my wondering I am curious/intrigued/interested to know whether this is just my own perception/view and to hear what your thoughts/views on Jesus are, especially in the context of the emerging church conversation.
In part this is influenced by my own realisation that I am going through a process in my life that looks something like this... (my own personal focus/emphasis/ranking on the trinity so 1 is the chief/main/most important member of the trinity in shaping my faith focus at that time):
My Conservative Evangelical experience:
1. God the Father - Bad cop - throws the book at me, tough laws/tough love, distant, frowns and chain (holy) smokes, as well as thunders occassionally but ok because...
2. Jesus - Good cop - gently saving, lamb toting, all round nice guy/God and obedient loving son who is holding open the door of heaven for me (and the other nice folk he's invited too).
3. The inspired word of God, aka the bible, aka the Holy Spirit - editor and original (holy) ghost writer.
My charismatic experience:
1. Holy Spirit - Blissed out summer of love, aka Tornoto Blessing, feelings ok, laugh, cry, connect to emotional centre. Need my Holy Spirit fix/experience - exploring experiential touchy feely God who can be known more than through just feelings. Speaking/interacting/involved in my life in the here/hear and now... more please.
2. Jesus - Not only the Word of God but does the works of God too. Motivation compassion, Modus Operandi naturally supernatural, heals sick, raises the dead and casts out demons. Still manages to get a quiet time in and disciples the disciples to do what he's doing - I feel like a dazzled/dazed disciple.
3. Father - sender of Jesus, reconciliation as a loving Father/Father heart of God, focus on a Fatherless generation. Mostly though in the background.
My emerging church experience:
1. Jesus - missional/incarnate/involved. His mission is not just about heaven or having a good time but about saving the world, reconnecting creation, words, works but wounds as well. Not only about healing the sick and casting out demons but being good news for the poor, the oppressed - role of liberator extends beyond just saving the soul and floods/fills all of life to save us from all the effects of sin. Co-misisons us to join him in his Kingdom of God project and offers us a life now of eternal significance as well as an eternal life in heaven.
2 = Holy Spirit - key member of the team, presence of God, working not just in us but out in the world - calling us to what God is doing out there as well as changing me in here. Shaper, moulder, former, reflector - an artist, a dance instructor, a strategist, a yoda/mentor - ancient/wisdom/trainer, a revealer, as well as a hider - encourages seeking, finding, serving and loving...
2 = God the Father - creator, thinker, wild, untamed, unknowable, mysterious, loveable yet in a awe inducing way - a cross between Gandalf and Animal (from the Muppets) - the rhythm section of the trinity, setting the beat/tempo, initiating the dance, bringing in others, throwing open doors, issuing invites and embracing prodigals...
NB: I am not knocking any of these groups/expressions - indeed I am very grateful for my experiences/encounters/heritage/impact of these in shaping me. I merely draw it out to show how my views/emphasises have changed/are being shaped.
Please do share your own reflections about Jesus and the emerging conversations...
I'd really like you to join me in this brain storm, or mental shower as I hear it's now meant to be called (the term brain storm can cause offense to people who have epilepsy).
Maybe to kick start your thinking you may be inspired, like me by Brian McLaren's concept of seven Jesuses he has known (i.e. Jesus in the context of a generous orthodox and therefore the colours of Jesus that other Christian faith traditions bring out about him).
How do you think that the emerging church conversation views/interacts/encounters/and is shaped with/by Jesus? Maybe you think that my emphasis is wrong and want to push back at me, e.g. that in your experience the emerging conversation emphasises the Holy Spirit more or God the Father more - if so please do push back...
Some questions I'd like to ask you and listen to your thoughts/views/feelings on...
1. what emphasis do you think the emerging church conversation places on Jesus (your own ranking/reflections?) - how does Jesus (for you) shape/influence/impact the conversation?
2. what events/teachings/characteristics of Jesus (for you) are key thought shaping passages in the emerging church conversation?
3. how do you think it has affected the action/character/theology/focus of the emerging conversation?
4.what strengths do you think the emerging church brings/draws out in their view of Jesus and what problems/blindspots do you think are being addressed?
5. conversely what weaknesses/limitations/blindspots do you see in the emerging church conversation?
6. any good books/resources/links that you have encountered on Jesus?
7. any questions you'd like to ask about the emerging church conversation/Jesus?
8. anything else that occurs to you?
Thank you very much - I look forward to the conversation...